Professional Doctorate in DSPC Sport Performance and Coaching


    About This Professional Doctorate

    Course Description

    A Professional Doctorate is a specialist qualification that is appropriate if you are in, or are aspiring to, a senior professional appointment in practice, education or management in sports therapy. It demonstrates your ability to perform at the level of 'expert' within your area of specialism.

    The aim of the course is to provide a unified approach to theory and practice within a professional context, so your learning is structured to allow you to develop your skills both in the workplace and within the university environment.

    Depending on your individual circumstances, your study can be undertaken over the course of between 5-6 years. During this time, you will prepare two portfolios which chronical your development of expert practice in your workplace. In tandem, you also study taught modules at the University of Essex which provide you with the expertise in qualitative, statistical and other research methods required for researching sport performance and coaching.

    Your own interests, experiences, and needs determine a great deal about how your course is structured, and what areas you can focus on. A key part of demonstrating your expertise in your specialist area is the development of a 40,000-word dissertation on a relevant topic.

    Why we're great.

    • Our brand new, state-of-the-art Essex Sport Arena houses the latest technology and facilities which you will have access to.
    • Our teaching staff have both clinical experience and academic credibility.
    • We offer you the tools to demonstrate your expertise in both clinical practice and academic research.

    Our expert staff

    Our School has a proven track record of excellence in teaching, research and applied sports science. We are 23rd in UK for research power in sport and exercise sciences (Times Higher Education research power measure, Research Excellence Framework 2021). Our research is not just about academic excellence. It has wide ranging societal impact in areas as diverse as sports performance, cardiac health and childhood wellbeing.

    Within our School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences, you will be allocated a supervisor whose role it is to guide you through the different stages of your research degree. In some cases, you may have joint supervision by two members of our staff.

    The support provided by your supervisor is a key feature of your research student experience and you will have regular one-to-one meetings to discuss progress on your research. Initially, your supervisor will help you develop your research topic and plan.

    Twice a year, you will have a supervisory board meeting, which provides a more formal opportunity to discuss your progress and agree your plans for the next six months.

    Specialist facilities

    The School is housed within the Essex Sport Arena. This state-of-the-art, £12 million development brings together education, rehabilitation, exercise and research, with facilities including a sports hall the size of three basketball courts, two dedicated labs for sports therapy training, a sports therapy clinic, and dedicated physiotherapy labs. Key to the success of all research and teaching within a university is sufficient resources. Our School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences is well equipped, centrally resourced by technical staff who provide a service to all our staff and students.

    Our successful Human Performance Unit (HPU) provides educational and coaching services, health-related exercise programmes and athlete testing, as well as unique opportunities for you to further your studies and research in these areas.

    We have a study room for our postgraduate research students. This has been designed in collaboration with our postgraduates, and allows our PhD students to have office space. This provides a focal point for our postgraduates, facilitating good communication and a strong sense of community.

    Your future

    We offer doctoral preparation that integrates professional expertise and academic rigor. During your time working with us you will gain the skills necessary to make significant contribution to local and national health and social care provision through critical appraisal of current practice.

    The networks you develop while with us facilitate self-development. You will engage in critical reflection upon practice; work and lead within complex, multi-professional environments where you can demonstrate expert decision-making.


    Visit the DSPC Sport Performance and Coaching page on the University of Essex website for more details!

    Entry Requirements

    You will need a relevant Masters degree, or equivalent, and be currently registered with a relevant professional body. You must also have two years post-qualifying experience in a relevant senior role.

    You will normally be required to attend an interview/Skype interview for acceptance, and acceptance is subject to research expertise in the department.

    We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.


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