Skip to content
Postgraduate research

Professional Doctorate in Sport and Exercise


Apply to start in:

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.

Get Professional Doctorate in Sport and Exercise DSaE course updates and hear more about studying with us.

Entry requirements

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

    • 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

Course modules


Fees and costs

See the further details of fees and potential extra costs when studying a course at the University of Gloucestershire.
Start date Location UCAS code Fee (UK)
per year
Fee (international)
per year
Oct 2021 Distance Learning £3,407 £3,407
Oct 2022 Distance Learning

Industry links

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. You’ll attain the standards required of any Doctorate and produce a substantial and original study that identifies you as an independent researcher. Cohorts are limited to 8-20 participants, to preserve the quality of the taught experience in a collaborative and supportive learning environment.

Unlike a PhD, a professional doctorate is not training for a role in academia – although many graduates use it as a route to change their career. Most applicants are experienced or developing professional practitioners seeking to develop their academic research skills from a variety of professional settings.

Connect with governing bodies and organisations worldwide

With candidates working across the breadth of the sport sector, from leadership to risk, to rehabilitation, the Doctorate in Sport and Exercise (DSE) programme is one of the most exciting of its kind.

A sport teacher talks to two young students

Study in the UK or from your location

2020 sees us launch the successful UK model to being accessible for our international colleagues across the sport world. If you’re interested in studying the taught element of this course online, please apply.

A student on the Sports Performance Analysis course looking at data on a monitor whilst another student wears biometric equipment in the background

Benefit from additional training opportunities

We run a number of additional training sessions on subjects such as developing a research proposal, doctoral authoring, and preparation for the viva. It also organises an annual Doctoral Colloquium, where research papers are presented to a scholarly audience.

Student on Sport Coaching Science course using equipment at Oxstalls campus

Keep Me Updated

Fill in the form below and we'll be in touch with Professional Doctorate in Sport and Exercise DSaE updates, upcoming events and everything you need to know about university life.