Professional Doctorate in Sport and Exercise (Postgraduate Research)


    About This Professional Doctorate

    Course Description

    What is Professional Doctorate in Sport and Exercise DSaE?

    The Professional Doctorate has been designed for sport and exercise professionals who are interested in engaging with major projects within or beyond their organisation. You’ll be able to lead and respond innovatively to the rapidly changing sports, physical activity and wellbeing environment. It’s aimed at professionals who may not have studied for some time but are experts in their area – providing a higher degree programme specifically structured to support change within professional practice and/or within your organisation.

    You’ll be able to maintain your professional commitments – the programme integrates doctoral level study with continuing professional practice. We develop leaders who can improve practice within sport and physical activity realms, by addressing local, regional, national and international concerns, and who have the ability to build evidence bases that inform policy and practice development.

    The unique structure of the award supports you to ensure your academic research skills match your professional knowledge. During your Professional Doctorate, the changes you propose, plan and, potentially, implement are designed to have a positive influence on your professional practice/facets of your organisation.

    How to apply

    If you’re interested in applying or submitting your own proposal for your Professional Doctorate project, please contact us at  to discuss your application before applying. Applications are accepted throughout the year, with cohorts developed carefully to start in Autumn or Spring each year. You should indicate your preferred start on your application.

    Study style

    The DSE is typically 4-6 years and wholly delivered online. It’s a structured route to doctoral level achievement, delivered in two phases.

    The initial phase is a pre-thesis element, comprising two taught modules over a period of 18 months. These modules are delivered via a blended learning model of online delivery, webinars and remotely supervised and guided study. You will develop advanced skills in critical thinking and working with leading academics, you can engage with a wide range of topics, and undertake in-depth study of some of the complex issues facing sport today, for example those based on applied sport performance, clinical practice, health promotion, applied sports coaching and community engagement. The programme provides a focus for ’embedded scholarship’ within a range of sport and exercise professions.

    In phase two, you present and undertake your formal research plan. Having completed your research project, you submit and defend a thesis in a viva voce. Linked to the real-world relevance and original nature of the project, the DSE provides an understanding of issues in the sport and exercise professions that it is difficult to attain through other means. The acquired knowledge and understanding gained through the research journey can then be integrated directly into the organisations and systems in which you work.

    Course modules:

    Reviewing and Critiquing Literature:

    This module is a continuous development throughout the pre-thesis phase of the programme. You are guided to develop practices of deep ongoing reflection on your business experience, research topic and broader contexts, including communication skills. Through encouraging a systematic engagement with a substantial body of relevant literature, you will be able to critically analyse and evaluate previous research work using theoretical frameworks and literature review approaches.

    Research Design, Analysis and Interpretation of Data:

    The role of methodology and review approaches, critique tools and techniques by which knowledge can be generated and applied is examined. You are guided to explore the methodological schools that characterise sport and exercise research, to establish their applicability to your work. You’re introduced to theoretical frameworks and the many approaches to analysis and interpretation common to sport and exercise doctoral work. A range of analytical and interpretative approaches are considered that derive from both the natural and social sciences. You will use various data analysis packages to analyse and interpret data. The module provides you with opportunities to practise and reflect on the tensions that are likely to occur in engaging with a piece of professionally related research.


    Visit the Professional Doctorate in Sport and Exercise (Postgraduate Research) page on the University of Gloucestershire website for more details!

    Entry Requirements

    A master’s degree or equivalent in a subject area relevant to the proposed research topic.

    A minimum of two years’ post-qualification professional practice and ability to demonstrate professional competence to a high standard in the relevant research area.

    EU and international students need IELTS 6.5 overall (with a minimum of 6.0 in writing and 5.5 in any other component) or equivalent.

    All students are required to take and complete a Postgraduate Certificate in Research Methods to support the development of their project and their education as researchers.


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