Postgraduate Courses

Taught programmes

A Master's Programme usually runs over 12 months full-time but some institutions offer part-time courses that are completed over two years. A Masters degree may involve a more in-depth study of a particular sub-discipline of sport and exercise science e.g., MSc Exercise Physiology or Sports Biomechanics, or a more in-depth study of sport and exercise science as a whole.

A Postgraduate Certificate/Diploma is likely to run for up to 9 months full-time and will probably provide a basis for you to move on to a more specialised Masters course. Most Masters degrees in the UK now have ‘interim awards’ that involve the completion of a PG Certificate and a PG Diploma.

Research programmes

MPhil and Doctoral Degrees (PhD, MPhil) can be started immediately after an undergraduate degree or following a Masters course. Most PhDs take three years to complete in full-time study but may take longer. In many Universities, students are required to complete some form of ‘transfer document’ that takes them from the MPhil stage of study to the PhD stage. This can also provide an end point of study leading to the award of an MPhil.

A Masters Degree by research (including MRes, MA, MSc) takes, on average, 12 months (full-time) to complete, but may take longer. There may be an option to transfer to a PhD at a later date. These typically involve independent research with very few taught elements included in these degrees.

Click here to view the BASES Course Finder.

Should I undertake postgraduate study in sport and exercise sciences?

Q1. Do I really want to do a postgraduate qualification?

A1. This may seem an obvious question to ask yourself. You’d be surprised how many students undertake a postgraduate qualification because they are not sure what else to do! This is not necessarily a problem, but do try to research the available courses carefully and choose the one best suited to your likely career aims. You’re far more likely to enjoy the course if it is something that you really want to do.

Q2. Do I really need a postgraduate qualification?

A2. It is important to research your career options to see if a postgraduate qualification is necessary. Some employers view postgraduate qualifications as highly desirable, whereas others prefer employees with more practical skills that can be gained from different sorts of postgraduate experience.

Q3. Can I afford a postgraduate qualification?

A3. Funding postgraduate study can be a problem for thousands of students who are motivated to continue their studies. There is no comprehensive funding plan for postgraduate study in this country, and most Masters students fund their course fees and living costs themselves. Click here to find out more about the cost of studying a postgraduate degree and the options for obtaining funding.

Q4. Will I earn more money if I have a postgraduate degree?

A4. It is difficult to generalise, however, postgraduate degrees are becoming more valuable in the job market. It has also been shown that in most areas of employment, those with postgraduate qualifications end up earning on average 20 - 30% more than their undergraduate counterparts. So a longer-term view may suggest that the financial and intellectual investment is worth it in the long run.

Please click here for further information about course fees and funding.


BASES stands for the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences. BASES is the professional body for sport and exercise sciences in the UK.

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