Dr Nicola Carse

Deputy Head of Institute for Sport, Physical Education and Health Sciences (ISPEHS) / Lecturer in Physical Education


I received an MA (honours) in Political Studies from the University of Aberdeen in 1999. Following my initial degree I undertook a Postgraduate Certificate in Primary Education at the University of Edinburgh. After graduating from the PGCE I worked as a primary school teacher for eight years where I developed an interest in environmental education and physical education. Whilst teaching I studied on the Postgraduate Certificate in Primary Physical Education at the University of Edinburgh and then progressed to undertake a PhD at the University of Edinburgh which I completed  in 2012. After completing my PhD I worked as a lecturer at the University of Strathclyde for two and a half years.  I joined the University of Edinburgh in August 2015 in the role of lecturer in education.

Responsibilities & affiliations

President of the Scottish Educational Research Association (SERA)

Co-convenor of SERA networks: Scottish Physical Education Research Network and Teacher Education Network

Convenor of European Primary Physical Education Network


Journal Editorial Board Member

  • European Physical Education Review
  • The Curriculum Journal
  • Teachers and teaching: theory and practice

Undergraduate teaching

  • MA Physical Education: Health and Wellbeing - course organiser

  • MA Physical Education: Understanding Physical Culture - course organiser

  • MA Physical Education: Physical Education Curriculum and Pedagogy 4

  • MA Physical Education: Educational Studies 4

Postgraduate teaching

M.Ed Leadership and Learning : Core Processes - Self-Study Enquiry - course organiser

MEd Leadership and Learning: Growing Professional Learning - Becoming a Teacher Educator - course organiser

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

I am interested in supervising PhD students interested in:

  • Physical Education
  • Teacher education
  • Teacher professional learning
  • Curriculum development
  • Self-study
  • Complexity thinking

Current PhD students supervised

Anli Su - Exploring teacher-initiated professional learning in Taiwan

Ciara Blennerhassett - Exploring curriculum change and development within Ireland

Research summary

Member of PCRE: www.ed.ac.uk/education/pcre

The focus of my PhD research was investigating curriculum change within the context of Scottish primary physical education.   

My main research interests now are in the areas of:

  • Primary Physical Education
  • Teacher Professional Learning and Development
  • Practitioner Inquiry
  • Curriculum Development
  • Complexity Thinking
  • Self-study
  • Sport Education

Knowledge exchange

‘Professional Learning as Critical Enquiry (PLaCE)’

Scottish Government funded project working with two secondary schools, one primary school and a cluster of schools (one secondary and four feeder primary schools) to develop an innovative collaborative approach to supporting learning for whole school improvement. PLaCE is focused on deep transformative professional learning by supporting practitioners to examine and understand practice through critical enquiry and develop pedagogical expertise to progress learning.

Working with Zoe Robertson, Gillian Robinson and Rosemary Grady from the Institute for Education, Teaching and Learning, we have collaborated with school Senior Leadership Teams to provide strategic support and whole-school professional learning centred on pedagogy and enquiry. 

Project activity

Current project grants

Meaningfulness in Youth Sport (MiYS) Erasmus+ grant with partners from Ireland, Macedonia, Norway and Canada https://www.mic.ul.ie/research/research-at-mic/research-projects/meaning...

Measuring Quality in Initial Teacher Education, Scottish Government funded research project http://www.scde.ac.uk/projects/measuring-quality-in-initial-teacher-educ...

Disentangling Inclusion in Primary Physical Education (DIPPE) Erasmus+ grant with partners from Luxembourg, Ireland, Slovakia, Spain and the Netherlands. 2019 - 2022 https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/erasmus-plus/projects/eplus-project-deta...