Sport and Health Sciences


MPhil/PhD/MSc by Research Sport and Health Sciences

Degree typesTypes of research degrees explained
DurationDegree duration details
LocationExeter (St Luke‘s)
Study modesFull time and part time Study mode details
Start date September, January or April See note

Research overview

Unlocking the power of beetroot

Professor Andy Jones talks about research into the power of beetroot in improving sports performance and helping cardiovascular conditions. 

Children’s health and exercise

The children’s health and exercise group seek to initiate research in paediatric exercise science and enhance our understanding of exercise, physical activity and sport that determines positive health and well-being.

Research is conducted around the themes of:

  • Bone health
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Young athletes' health and sports performance
  • Vascular health

Integrative physiology

The integrative physiology group seeks to improve understanding of basic physiology and metabolism that underpins human performance in health and disease.

The group works within the themes of:

Human movement science

The human movement science group seeks to improve understanding of factors influencing human movement, focusing on three key themes:

Physical activity and health across the lifespan

This research group is focused on trying to characterise detailed patterns of physical activity to determine which patterns are most strongly associated with which disease or condition.

Areas of expertise are:

  • Adult and paediatric health and exercise physiology
  • Physical activity measurement methodology
  • Physical activity epidemiology and public health
  • Evaluation and design of physical activity interventions
  • Associations of physical activity, bone health and injury
  • Psychology of exercise and physical activity
  • Physical activity data modelling and analysis

Research community

Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Exeter has a long-standing and international reputation for leading research in the field. Our world-renowned academics are recognised for their groundbreaking and innovative work within the academic community, and are also highly sought after by leading sports professionals and teams. 

Our friendly, intimate academic community provides a truly supportive environment for our staff and students that fosters a vibrant research culture. We are continually evolving to ensure we remain at the forefront of pioneering research areas, but without losing the inclusive atmosphere that allows our academics to truly flourish. We have also enhanced our academic team with additional research staff who are distinguished worldwide for their studies.

We attract significant funding from UK Research Councils (including MRC, EPSRC, ESRC, and Royal Society), The National Institute of Health Research (Health Technology Assessment) the commercial sector (including Glaxo Smith-Kline, Unilever and Kellogg’s); and from sporting bodies (including UK Sport, UK Athletics, Manchester United Football Club and the Rugby Football Union).

Our research students have:

  • presented their work to international conferences and published in peer-reviewed journals prior to graduation;
  • won numerous international and national awards for research excellence;
  • all moved into full-time employment on graduation;
  • work in universities all over the UK as well as in Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Mexico, Portugal, Singapore and the USA.


“I chose to undertake my research at Exeter because Professor Andrew Jones’s research group at the University of Exeter has produced over 500 internationally recognised research and review articles focused on physical performance, skeletal muscle bioenergetics, and cardiovascular health. For me, I consider the opportunity to undertake a PhD at the School of Sport and Health Sciences in Exeter as a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn from the best.”

Zdravko, PhD in Sport and Health Sciences.

“I really enjoyed the opportunity to be involved in research, and helping with other projects going on in our labs. I won a showcase award for my research in the Children’s Health and Exercise Research Centre, which gave me the opportunity to present my findings at the Houses of Parliament."

Chloe, MSc by Research in Sport and Health Sciences.


Located on the historic St Luke's Campus, Sport and Health Sciences at Exeter occupies three buildings: the Richards Building, Haighton and Baring Court. Each building houses several teaching and research laboratories, and computer suites.

Teaching labs

The teaching labs are predominantly used for practical classes and individual data collection activities for dissertations and are equipped with: Lode cycle ergometers, Monark cycle ergometers, Biodex isokinetic dynamometer, Woodway treadmills, Non-motorised treadmill, Cortex on-line gas analyser, Capillary blood sampling analysers used in exercise testing, Bioelectrical impedance analysers for body composition analysis, Anthropometrical equipment, ECG analysers and blood pressure monitors.

Exercise physiology

The exercise physiology labs include: exercise physiology, blood analysis, DEXA, body composition, vascular physiology, MRI simulation, muscle strength laboratory, magnetic resonance centre, magnetic stimulation Unit, biomechanics laboratories, psychology laboratories

Biomechanics laboratories

Biomechanics research aims to improve our understanding of injury mechanisms of the lower limb, identifying ways to reduce the incidence of injury and aid rehabilitation. The School has three biomechanics laboratories; two for motion analysis and one a dedicated gait analysis lab.

Psychology laboratories

The psychology laboratories contain treadmills, cardiorespiratory monitoring equipment, cycle ergometers and computers. Simulated sports performance environments for activities such as basketball and golf enable the study of 'visuomotor control and learning' using sophisticated eye-tracking technology.

Sports facilities

There are extensive sports facilities across both the St Luke's and Streatham campuses. Visit the University Sports website for full details.


Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Exeter has an excellent reputation with employers and our graduates are extremely competitive in the employment market. Whatever path you want to follow after graduation, you will be well-placed for careers in a number of employment sectors including academia, sport, exercise, leisure management and consultancy, health promotion, finance and marketing.

Destinations of recent Sport and Health Sciences PhD graduates are listed here. Please note that, due to data protection, the job titles and organisations are listed independently and do not necessarily correspond.

Job TitleOrganisation

Associate Research Fellow
Green Exercise Project Officer
Lecturer in Exercise Physiology
Lecturer in Sports Sociology
Lecturer in Physical Education and Sports Pedagogy
Research Fellow
Teaching Fellow

Centre for Health, Exercise and Sports Medicine, University of Melbourne, Australia
Green Exercise North East, Groundwork Community Forests, Tyne and Wear, UK
University of Birmingham, UK
St. Mary's University College, Twickenham, UK
University of Bedfordshire, UK
University of Exeter Medical School, UK
University of East Anglia, UK
University of Northumbria, UK

Entry requirements

Normally a strong background in the field of study at undergraduate level or an MSc in a related subject that would underpin the knowledge required to conduct independent research as an MPhil/PhD student. This would usually require a good 2:1 BSc degree for UK students.

Start date

You can start in September, January or April but we strongly encourage a you to enrol in Term 1 in September as induction events are focused around this start date. However, we do permit MSc by Research/MPhil/PhD students to enrol either at the start of Term 1, Term 2 or Term 3 (see the University's term dates), or on the 1st of any other month except August, September and October.

Requirements for international students

If you are an international student, please visit our international equivalency pages to enable you to see if your existing academic qualifications meet our entry requirements.

English language requirements

IELTS (Academic)

Overall score 6.5. No less than 6.0 in any section.


Overall score 90 with minimum scores of 21 for writing, 21 for listening, 22 for reading and 23 for speaking.

Other accepted tests

Information about other acceptable tests of linguistic ability can be found on our English language requirements page.

Pre-sessional English

Applicants with lower English language test scores may be able to take pre-sessional English at INTO University of Exeter prior to commencing their programme. See our English language requirements page for more information.

Finance: fees and funding

Tuition fees per year 2023/24

For those studying for more than one year, our fees are expected to increase modestly in line with Consumer Price Inflation measured in December each year. More information can be found on our Student Finance webpages.

Tuition fees per year 2022/23

For those studying for more than one year, our fees are expected to increase modestly in line with Consumer Price Inflation measured in December each year. More information can be found on our Student Finance webpages.

Current available funding

Contact us

WebEnquire online
Phone: +44 (0) 1392 725150

Potential applicants should first identify a member of academic staff who may be a suitable supervisor, and contact them by email to discuss possible directions for a research proposal. The research proposal must be agreed by the supervisor before an application to study can be made.

Apply online How to apply Sport and Health Sciences research pages Staff profiles Ask a question Print page

Three-minute thesis

Determinants of bone health in children and adolescents

PhD student Annie Constable introduces her research.

Measures of robustness in academy rugby union players

PhD student Erwan Izri introduces his research.

Cardiorespiratory fitness and rehabilitation in paediatric congenital heart disease

PhD student Dan Dorobantu introduces his research.

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