Dr Neil Buchanan (PhD, MSc, BSc, PsychDip, Pg. Cert, TQFE)

Programme Director, MSc. Performance Psychology


Neil earned a BSc in Applied Sport Science and an MSc in Performance Psychology from The University of Edinburgh. He continued his academic journey by completing a PhD at the University of the West of Scotland in 2014. His doctoral research, titled 'Deliberate Experience in Sport: An Ethnographic-Case Study of Expertise Environments in Scotland', focused on expertise development in sports environments in Scotland. This study was conducted alongside his teaching commitments in 'Sport Coaching' and 'Sport and Exercise Science' at the BSc level.

After completing his PhD research, Neil moved to Aberdeen and took on a teaching role in 'Sport Science' at North East Scotland College (NESCOL). His responsibilities at NESCOL covered a wide range of subjects, including Sport Coaching, Psychology of Sport Coaching, Strength and Conditioning, Applied Nutrition, and Fitness Testing.

In April 2015, Neil transitioned to lecturing at RGU, contributing to various modules on the BSc. Applied Sport and Exercise Science degree. During this time, he also led the development and implementation of a BSc programme in Sport Coaching. Additionally, he taught subjects such as Sport Nutrition, Research Concepts, Integrated Approaches to Applied Sport Science, and Anatomy and Kinesiology.

Currently, Neil serves as the Programme Director for the MSc Performance Psychology programme at The University of Edinburgh within the Institute for Sport, Physical Education, and Health Sciences (ISPEHS). His teaching responsibilities include delivering courses in Applied Sport Science and Performance Psychology at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Neil's practical experience includes a two-year period in Orlando, Florida, at Peak Performance Sports, where he provided performance psychology consultancy to athletes, with a focus on golf and motor sport. He has also applied his expertise in sport science and sport psychology to support individuals and teams. Furthermore, Neil engages with corporate clients, offering coaching in areas related to performance.

Furthermore, Neil's present research focus involves conducting practical research in a range of diverse applied settings. Specifically, his current interests revolve around multiple performance domains, including adaptive expertise, psychological detachment, identity theory, coach-athlete relationships, attentional restoration, behavioral change, self-regulation, and the development of naturalistic decision-making.


BSc. Applied Sport Science, The University of Edinburgh

MSc. Performance Psychology, The University of Edinburgh

PhD. Expertise & Talent Development, University of the West of Scotland

PgDip. Psychology, Open University

ICF ACTP Dip. Professional Coaching Practice

PgCert. Academic Practice, Robert Gordon University

Teaching Qualification Further Education, University of Aberdeen

Responsibilities & affiliations

Teaching Fellow, Higher Education Academy