Postgraduate study
Edinburgh: Extraordinary futures await.

Sport, Physical Education and Health Sciences PhD

Awards: PhD

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Why Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh is ranked first in Scotland for research power in Education and Sport (Times Higher Education, REF 2021) and we offer the largest concentration of researchers in education in a Scottish university, meaning you will be supported by and collaborate with leaders in the field.

Our research activities cover a wide range of aspects relating to sport, physical education and health sciences.

Topics

Moray House School of Education and Sport staff provide supervision on a wide range of topics within the fields of:

  • physical education
  • sport management
  • sports science
  • social and cultural significance of sport
  • health sciences

Many opportunities also exist for interdisciplinary research.

Research Thematic Hubs

With over 250 research staff and students, we have a vibrant and expanding research community with a broad portfolio of academic disciplines gathered within seven broad research themes with permeable boundaries. These thematic hubs are:

Research community

As a postgraduate research student you will join a vibrant Graduate School community with over 150 research students. There are also several opportunities for optional training and development throughout your studies.

Research students are encouraged to attend and actively engage with the activities of School research thematic hubs, which include seminars, meetings and workshops. In addition, several academic and social events for research students take place throughout the year.

We organise an annual series of around 25 training, talks and seminar events, as well as the student-led ‘Interweaving’ conference for research students and staff.

The PhD is a substantial piece of independent research which makes a contribution to the state of existing knowledge in the field.

The PhD programme is designed to take three years full-time or six years part-time. The programme is examined by submission of a thesis of up to 100,000 words and by oral examination.

Application

You are encouraged to contact a potential supervisor to discuss your research project before making a formal application.

You may start your studies with us either on 1 October or 10 January of a year.

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
PhDSport, Physical Education and Health Sciences3 YearsFull-timeProgramme structure 2024/25
PhDSport, Physical Education and Health Sciences6 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2024/25

Students following the PhD degree are normally supported in their research by two supervisors.

The first of these will be a member of staff who has expertise in the general area of your proposed research topic and the second will be another expert in the field who may come from within the School, University or a field of practice.

Most students who are accepted begin a period of research leading to a PhD; however, the first year of this degree is probationary and progression to year two is dependent on satisfactory progress.

We offer a number of courses in research methodologies, which you are encouraged to take during your first year.

You will work closely with your supervisors, who are recognised experts in the field. All PhD students pursue an individually tailored programme of research training agreed with their supervisors.

Our PhD programmes provide core training in the research skills necessary to flourish at doctoral level and beyond.

The PhD by Distance is available to suitably qualified applicants in the same areas as our on-campus programmes.

The programme allows students who are unable to commit to basing themselves in Edinburgh full time to study for a PhD from their home country or city, however, this is not intended to be a fully online distance learning programme.

For further information on the PhD by Distance option (including criteria for eligibility, required application form and how to apply) please visit the School website:

These entry requirements are for the 2024/25 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2025/26 academic year will be published on 1 Oct 2024.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a related subject is normally required.

Normally also a postgraduate degree with a 60% overall grade point average and 60% in the dissertation, or its international equivalent.

You must also submit a research proposal that fits well with our staff expertise.

We may also consider your application if you have other qualifications or substantial experience; please contact us to check before you apply.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

Regardless of your nationality or country of residence, you must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 7.0 with at least 6.5 in each component. We do not accept IELTS One Skill Retake to meet our English language requirements.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 23 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 185 with at least 176 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with passes in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 70 with at least 62 in each component.

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries (non-MESC).

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than five years old* at the beginning of your programme of study. (*Revised 05 March 2024 to extend degree validity to five years.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

Tuition fees

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
PhDSport, Physical Education and Health Sciences3 YearsFull-timeTuition fees
PhDSport, Physical Education and Health Sciences6 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

Featured funding

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments.

The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on:

  • your programme
  • the duration of your studies
  • your tuition fee status

Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Moray House School of Education and Sport
  • Old Moray House
  • Holyrood Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 8AQ
Programme start dates Application deadlines
1 October 2024 31 July 2024
6 January 2025 31 October 2024

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

You must submit one reference with your application.

You must also submit a detailed research proposal using the following template:

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Moray House School of Education and Sport
  • Old Moray House
  • Holyrood Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 8AQ