Dr Neil Buchanan

Programme Director, MSc. Performance Psychology


Neil graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a BSc in Applied Sport Science and an MSc in Performance Psychology. Neil completed his PhD at the University of the West of Scotland in 2014 culminating in a thesis titled ‘Deliberate Experience in Sport: An Ethnographic-Case Study of Expertise Environments in Scotland’. Neil combined his PhD study with applied work and teaching on BSc degrees in ‘Sport Coaching’ and ‘Sport and Exercise Science’.

On completing his PhD, he moved to Aberdeen to teach ‘Sport Science’ at North East Scotland College. At NESCOL he taught in a wide range of subject areas including Sport Coaching, Psychology of Sport Coaching, Strength and Conditioning, Applied Nutrition and Fitness Testing. In April 2015, Neil began lecturing at RGU and taught on a range of sport science and sport coaching modules.

Neil currently Programme Director for the MSc. Perforamnce Psychology programme at the University of Edinburgh. He teaches sport and performance psychology at both under-graduate and postgraduate level with the institute for Sport, Physical Education and Health Sciences (ISPEHS) at the univeristy.

Neil’s applied experience includes two years in Orlando, Florida at Peak Performance Sports consulting athletes in sport psychology. During this time he worked primarily in golf and motor sport. Neil has provided sport science and sport psychology support to a team and individuals. Neil currently coaches a range of corporate clients in performance related areas.

In addition, Neil has conducted real-world research within a range of applied settings. Primarily, as part of his PhD, Neil undertook Ethnographic research at Cowdenbeath Football Club in Fife, Scotland. The research entailed an examination of how Deliberate Experience facilitates expertise attainment in football. The concept of Deliberate Experience points to expert attainment in sport through competition, and sits as an alternative mechanism to the theory of Deliberate Practice popularized by the 10,000 rule of practice.


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