Sport and Exercise Science (by Research and Thesis) - MSc


The School of Sport and Exercise Sciences provides an excellent environment in which to conduct postgraduate research. The breadth of staff research interests enables us to provide research degree supervision in a range of areas in the sport and exercise sciences and in sports therapy.

This degree requires you to undertake a substantial, original research project, under the supervision of one or more members of academic staff who act as supervisors. Your supervisory team provides guidance both in terms of research project development and execution. Typically, you meet with your supervisors more frequently at the initial stages of research than during the phases of data collection and analysis. 

There is a wide range of training available to Masters by Research students, including traditional, transferable skills and research specific training. This is either provided by Sport and Exercise Sciences staff, or by colleagues from the University's Graduate School.

You are also supported by attendance at the School’s postgraduate seminar series to develop subject specific knowledge and research skills relevant to your field of research. 

Research activity within the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences is divided into two main themes:

  • Endurance Performance
  • Sports Therapy, Physical Activity and Health

Within these two themes our research spans the areas of physiology, psychology, nutrition, biomechanics, older people, clinical population, elite athletes, and members of the general population.

Research Projects

If you are interested in studying on our Master's by Research programme, you can find details of current projects, with links to abstracts outlining their content on the Master's by Research projects page.

About the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences

The School of Sport and Exercise Sciences is one of the most exciting and innovative sports schools in the UK.

The School is based on the University’s award-winning Medway campus and has well-equipped, state-of the-art sports science laboratories, sports therapy clinic, sports rehabilitation gymnasium and respiratory clinic.

The University of Kent benefits from Medway Park, an £11 million project to create a regional centre of sporting excellence that was an approved pre-Olympic training camp venue for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Medway Park has hosted a number of major sporting events, such as the Modern Pentathlon World Cup and European Championships.

The School of Sport and Exercise Sciences offers both taught and research postgraduate courses in Sport and Exercise Science and Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation.

Entry requirements

Minimum entrance requirement is an Upper Second Class Honours (2.1) or equivalent in a related subject, though acceptance of any candidate is at the discretion of the supervisor.

All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, professional qualifications and relevant experience may also be taken into account when considering applications. 

International students

Please see our International website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information. Due to visa restrictions, international fee-paying students cannot study part-time unless undertaking a distance or blended-learning programme with no on-campus provision.

English language entry requirements

The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.

For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages. 

Need help with English?

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.


A group of postgraduates sit outside the Kennedy Building on the Canterbury campus

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Course structure

Students taking an MSc by research do not undertake credit-bearing taught modules. Instead, they conduct a full-time research project in the area of their chosen specialisation. The degree therefore allows you the flexibility to shape your own research in an area of particular interest to you, whilst also enabling you to develop extensive subject expertise and independent research skills over an extended period. 

The MSc culminates in the submission of a written research dissertation which must be "defended" in an oral viva voce examination. Additionally, students will be asked to produce a poster for presentation at the annual Postgraduate Symposium and a talk at the conclusion of their studies.


The 2020/21 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

  • Home/EU full-time £4407
  • International full-time £19800
  • Home/EU part-time £2204
  • International part-time £9900

For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.

For students continuing on this programme fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact

Additional costs

Please note that, due to the technical requirements of some laboratory-based research projects, some projects additionally incur additional research costs to support consumable requirements. Additional research costs are typically in the range of £500-£2,000, though exceptionally these can be as high as £5,000 for resource-intensive research projects. Additional expenses associated with a specific project will be highlighted on the School’s related web pages. 

General additional costs

Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent. 


Search our scholarships finder for possible funding opportunities. You may find it helpful to look at both: 

Other funding

Students who have completed an undergraduate degree at the University of Kent can apply for 10% reduction in fees for their Masters programme. 

Students can also apply for a £1000 Graduate School Scholarship to help pay for their fess or apply for a Postgraduate Master’s Degree loan.

The Complete University Guide

In The Complete University Guide 2020, the University of Kent was ranked in the top 10 for research intensity. This is a measure of the proportion of staff involved in high-quality research in the university.

Please see the University League Tables 2020 for more information.

Independent rankings

In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, research by the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences was ranked 18th in the UK for research intensity.

An impressive 94% of our research was judged to be of international quality and the School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of research of international excellence.

Research areas

The School has a strong research culture with a focus in two broad themes: endurance performance and health. As a School we have a team of world-leading researchers in their respective fields.

The Endurance Research Group has quickly become world-leading for research excellence which is recognised globally. The group focuses on various aspects of endurance performance including: exercise tolerance and resistance to fatigue, exercise-induced asthma, training, individualised prescription of training, immune function and infection risk and the use psychological skills in endurance athletes.

The Health Research Group focuses on the use of exercise to enhance rehabilitation and promote healthy behaviours including: musculoskeletal rehabilitation, return to sports participation, psychobiology of physical activity, injury prevention and wearable technology in rehabilitation. Members of the group also have interests in the effects of exercise in cardiac and stroke patients, and the use of exercise to treat or manage chronic diseases (such as COPD, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, APS). The group also researches sport policy and management looking at the socio-cultural and well-being effects of participation in sport.

Research Projects

If you are interested in studying on our Master's by Research programme, you can find details of current projects, with links to abstracts outlining their content, on the Master's by Research projects page.

Staff research interests

Kent’s world-class academics provide research students with excellent supervision. The academic staff in this school and their research interests are shown below. You are strongly encouraged to contact the school to discuss your proposed research and potential supervision prior to making an application. Please note, it is possible for students to be supervised by a member of academic staff from any of Kent’s schools, providing their expertise matches your research interests. Use our ‘find a supervisor’ search to search by staff member or keyword.

Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.

Dr Mark Burnley : Senior Lecturer

Oxygen uptake kinetics; endurance performance; neuromuscular fatigue; applying control systems theory and non-linear dynamics to the physiology of exercise.

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Dr Glen Davison : Director of Research

Sports nutrition and supplements; immune system function in athletes and how the immune system responds to various types of training; endurance performance; interval training; nutrition and health.

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Kyra De Coninck : Lecturer

Anatomy and function of fascia, myofascial pain and adaptation of fascia to mechanical loading; interaction between chronic pain, physical activity and changes within the fascia network; ultrasound imaging of thoracolumbar fascia in a sedentary and athletic population, both with and without lower back pain.

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Dr John Dickinson : Reader

Exercise-induced asthma in athletes; inspiratory stridor and breathing technique; inspiratory muscle training; the respiratory system and athletic performance.

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Dr Chris Fullerton : Lecturer

Sport and performance psychology; self-regulation of athletic performance; the effects of exercise on psychological well-being and quality of life in Parkinson’s and Stroke populations.

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Lucy Hale : Lecturer

Nutritional interventions to improve sport and exercise performance; the effect of Omega 3 EPA/DHA on markers of inflammation; exercise induced asthma in athletes.

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Dr Karen Hambly : Senior Lecturer

Rehabilitation and outcome measures; rehabilitation after articular cartilage repair of the knee; return to sports after injury and patient perspectives of outcome measurement; development of exercise interventions for osteoarthritic populations.

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Dr James Hopker : Director of Graduate Studies

The physiological determinants of endurance performance and adaptations from exercise training; the use of pre-operative exercise training to increase patient fitness prior to major inter-cavity surgery; the use of Near Infrared Spectroscopy in the assessment of muscle and brain tissue oxygen consumption.

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Sadie Jones : Lecturer

Working in collaboration with the Rugby Football Union to identify current practice in the prevention, management and treatment of hamstring injuries; researching hamstring muscles and fatigue and return to play following hamstring injuries.

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Dr Lex Mauger : Senior Lecturer

How the body, as an integrative system, maintains a relative homeostasis during intense exercise through the anticipatory regulation of work rate; the role of the different afferents produced during exercise and how these may be responded to by systems of central control; models of endurance performance, particularly through self-paced exercise.

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Steve Meadows : Senior Lecturer

Energy expenditure differences in heart attack patients during walking and cycling; group exercise and exercise adherence; physical activity promotion to the general population.

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Dr Karthikeyan Muthumayandi : Lecturer

The use of digital devices, mobile technologies in objective quantification of physical ambulatory behaviour in individuals at macro (quantity- community ambulation) and micro level (quality- spatial and temporal gait parameters of gait) through machine learning approach.

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Dr Sakis Pappous : Reader

Social (eg, mass media, significant others) and psychological (eg, motivation, attitudes, self-efficacy) factors that influence participation in sport and physical activity; strategies aiming to increase participation of groups of society who are sedentary, including disabled people, people from minority ethnic groups and older people.

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Professor Claire Peppiatt-Wildman : Head of School

Urinary system physiology and regulation of blood flow; regulation of blood flow in organs and tissue in health and disease; regulation of blood flow in skeletal muscle and injured tissue; the side-effects of prophylactic agents used in the field of sports medicine.

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Dr Samantha Winter : Senior Lecturer

Clinical biomechanics with a particular focus on interventions to prevent falls in older people; steadiness in isometric force production including changes with ageing and strength training; mechanical models of muscle; the application of non-linear dynamics to movement, such as the effect of gait interventions on the fractal properties of the ground reaction force and joint moments; changes in postural stability with ageing.

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Our programmes have been developed and designed to provide students with the required knowledge and skills to work autonomously in the field of sport science and sports therapy. The programmes provide opportunities for you to develop and demonstrate both specialist academic and transferable skills such as good communication, problem solving, critical analysis and the ability to work independently to a high standard. The programmes also aim to give you the opportunity to build long-term careers within your chosen field.

Study support

Postgraduate resources

The School of Sport and Exercise Sciences has recently invested heavily in its equipment and other resources, and has world-class sports therapy and sport science facilities. Campus facilities include a 12-couch teaching clinic and state-of-the-art sports science laboratories. There is a wide range of equipment, including motorised and non-motorised treadmills, cycle ergometers, an isokinetic dynamometer, and blood and gas analysis equipment. In addition, at Medway Park, the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences has its own cutting-edge sports therapy clinic, rehabilitation gymnasium, sports science laboratories and a respiratory clinic.

There is also a hypoxic environmental chamber, and analytical chemistry, respiratory testing and psychobiology laboratories. These specialist rooms have been set up with over £700,000 of new equipment, including an anti-gravity treadmill, a 3D video analysis system, 2D force pedals, ultra-sound imaging, near-infrared spectroscopy and a gait analysis system.

The School operates a commercial sports injury and rehabilitation clinic, respiratory clinic and sports performance services from Medway Park to support elite athletes, regional squads and local residents. As a postgraduate student, you have the opportunity to develop your professional skills as you work with clients in the clinic and laboratory under staff supervision.

Dynamic publishing culture

Staff publish regularly and widely in leading scientific journals. Among others, they have recently contributed to: Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise; American Journal of Sports Medicine; Journal of Applied Physiology; and British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Researcher Development Programme

Kent's Graduate School co-ordinates the Researcher Development Programme for research students, which includes workshops focused on research, specialist and transferable skills. The programme is mapped to the national Researcher Development Framework and covers a diverse range of topics, including subject-specific research skills, research management, personal effectiveness, communication skills, networking and teamworking, and career management skills.

Apply now

To apply for any of our Masters by Research programme, please complete the project proposal form below having first discussed your research idea with the relevant supervisor listed on the Research Areas page. Once you have completed the form, please use the online admissions system, uploading your project proposal form, CV, and first degree transcript in the process.

Learn more about the applications process or begin your application by clicking on a link below.

Once started, you can save and return to your application at any time.

Apply for entry to:

Contact us


United Kingdom/EU enquiries

MSc at Medway

Admissions enquiries

If you are interested in registering for a research degree in Sport and Exercise Sciences, you should initially contact the School staff member whose research is the most relevant to your interests, including a curriculum vitae and a short research proposal. 

Subject enquiries

T: +44 (0)1634 888858



International student enquiries

Enquire online

T: +44 (0)1227 823254