Professional Doctorate in Sport and Exercise (Postgraduate Research)

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Oxstalls, Gloucester

Through your study you will develop advanced skills in critical thinking and you can engage with a wide range of topics, 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. You will attain the standards required of any doctorate and produce a substantial and original study that identifies you as an independent researcher.

The DSE is a structured route to doctoral level achievement. The initial pre-thesis element comprises two taught modules over a period of 18 months, after which you present 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 cannot be attained through other means. Compared with a more traditional PhD, the DSE provides you with a vocational and professional doctorate, well suited to your needs and those of your industry.

DSE cohorts are limited to between eight and twenty participants to preserve the quality of the taught experience in a collaborative and supportive learning environment.

Study style

The course has two entry points; February and September each year. The two taught modules are normally delivered over two weekends over an 18 month period.
The programme is composed of two parts; an initial taught component comprising of two modules followed by a large-scale research project. Compared with the traditional doctorate model characterised by independent endeavour, an important feature of this programme is the supportive learning community established within each cohort and encouraged through the taught components. Throughout the course you will be supported by a personal tutor. For the research project, you will also be allocated a specialist supervisory team. You will be expected to complete the course within a period of between four and seven years.

Entry requirements

  • You will need a masters postgraduate diploma degree or equivalent, ideally in a subject area relevant to the proposed research topic.
  • you will need a 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 (no less than 6.0 in writing and 5.5 in any other band) or equivalent


See the further details of tuition fees when studying a course at the University of Gloucestershire.

Dr. Malcolm MacLean

Staff Profile

Dr. Malcolm MacLean

Reader in the Culture and History of Sport

"Malcolm's teaching and research interests are based on his background in history and anthropology. He is interested in ordinary experiences of cultural and social life and also has a particular interest in research design and ethics. He is also research degree's lead for the Schools of Sport & Exercise, Natural & Social Sciences and Health & Social Care."


TAUGHT MODULE: Reviewing and critiquing literature

This module introduces students to the theoretical frameworks and the many approaches to literature review. Using the skills of critical thinking and reflective practice, students will explore how knowledge and professional expertise is constructed and expressed in their field of research, learning and practice.

TAUGHT MODULE: Research design, analysis and interpretation of data

The role of methodology and methods used to generate and apply knowledge in real world settings is examined. Participants will consider ethical protocols and ideas about quality in the research process. Theoretical frameworks and the many approaches to analysis and interpretation are explored. It is also designed to provide learners with opportunities to practice and reflect on the challenges associated with engaging in professionally related research.


The research component as the final thesis can take a number of forms. The production of a doctoral thesis or portfolio is designed to be of specific benefit to the individual and/or of benefit to the organisation in which they work. Learners will conduct applied research to produce a thesis or portfolio, which demonstrates contemporary thinking in the sport domain. This thesis or portfolio will be of a standard which can be disseminated and published in their own professional area.

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