Our School’s research excellence focuses on the areas of human performance; health, exercise and active lifestyle; and clinical exercise and rehabilitation. Within these areas we explore basic science questions alongside projects with strong societal impact.
Our researchers have received funding from a range of prestigious organisations such as the Economic and Social Research Council, International Olympic Committee, World Anti-Doping Agency, Sport England, Rugby Football Union, and British Heart Foundation.
We have an outstanding reputation for both education and research. We were ranked in the top 25 for Sports Science in the Times Good University Guide 2023, and 23rd in the UK for research power in sport and exercise sciences (Times Higher Education research power measure, REF 2021).
By undertaking your research degree with us you will be joining an active and thriving community of researchers who are working to understand more about the human body, its potential, and its limitations.
We offer a range of research degrees (PhD, MPhil, MSD), including professional doctorates for those working in relevant fields such as physiotherapy. You will be supported through your research by at least two supervisors, have access to our state-of-the-art facilities, and the wider activities of the university research community.
I'm grateful for the possibilities that were offered by the School to travel to scientific conferences, and to work as a Graduate Laboratory Assistant in a multitude of undergraduate modules. These experiences will undoubtedly be a great asset in my prospective career as a lecturer in Sports Science.
The first step in your research degree journey is to identify the research topic you would like to study.
For many applicants this is based on an earlier work they enjoyed completing, such as their undergraduate dissertation or a particular module they studied at postgraduate level.
You should browse our research or look through our academic staff profiles for an idea of what you could work on. We also have some topics of interest, divided by research areas, that can help you identify a title and supervisor.
While you don’t need to have a specific title in mind this early on, you should have a brief list of potential areas you wish to discuss, based on the topics below, when you are ready to look for a supervisor (PI). We recommend that you contact the PI directly for further information.
Whatever research degree you choose to take, you will be supervised by at least two academics who have expertise in your area of research, one of them being the PI of the project you selected.
You can find potential supervisors linked to the projects outlined above. You may find several potential supervisors; in which case it is best to contact them individually. We recommend that you contact potential supervisors before submitting your application.
If you are struggling to find someone suitable then you are welcome to email email@example.com for advice.
Once you have found a supervisor and discussed your research interests and potential topic, you will then draft a piece of academic writing (including references) highlighting the key areas you think are important to the topic you have discussed.
There is no specific minimum or maximum word limit, but we recommend around 1500 words. Creating a piece of academic writing can take weeks to get right, so don’t be discouraged if it needs multiple rounds of edits.
Ideally you will have contacted a potential supervisor before you begin, as they will help you understand everything you need to include.
Once you have completed all the documents you require you are ready to apply for your research degree using the online portal.
If you have all the documents and information required, then the process should take around 20 minutes. You will need to select the course (such as PhD Sports Therapy) that you will be part of, the start date (such as April 2023), and state your title and supervisor.
Research degrees typically start at the beginning of each academic term in October, January, and April. To allow time to process applications, especially for international students who may need to apply for visas, there is often a deadline approximately 8 weeks before the anticipated start date.
Throughout the year our School advertises funded studentships with a title and supervisor already set. The amount of funding can range from covering Home fees, to a paid stipend during your studies. These studentships can be funded by research councils or through partnerships with professional sports bodies or clubs, with whom you will work closely during your research.
The university also offers a range of scholarships that can help fund students undertaking a research degree, but do check the requirements carefully as they may change from year to year.
We also support our students to apply for funding opportunities such as travel grants or early career fellowships. Support may include reviewing applications, practising interviews, or providing references. Graduates of the University of Essex can also benefit from an alumni discount scheme.