Research course

Sport and Exercise Science

University of Portsmouth · Department of Sport and Exercise Science

Entry requirements

A good honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject or a master's degree in an appropriate subject. Exceptionally, equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will be considered. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

Months of entry

October, February

Course content

Why take this course?

Research in Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Portsmouth explores issues in areas such as Psychology, Physiology, Biomechanics and Sports Development. Our research is conducted in the Department's designated Spinnaker building, which houses specialised facilites for our internationally recognised, interdisciplinary research. Research within the field of Sport and Exercise Science may also be closely linked to Biomedical Science and Pharmacy, and Psychology.

Research groups:

Extreme Environmental Medicine and Science Group: The Extreme Environmental Medicine and Science Group adopts an interdisciplinary research approach to understand, evaluate, and enhance human comfort, performance, and survival in extreme environments. This encompasses the fields of sport, industry, emergency services, military and at the ultimate extremes, expeditions. In recent years it has included assistance to Olympic and Paralympic athletes in preparation for the Athens and Beijing Olympics.

Breast Health: The Research Group in Breast Health is internationally renowned for research on the biomechanics of the breast. The group are responsible for over half of the scientific publications in this area and regularly present work nationally and internationally. The Research Group is well known with over 60 million media mentions worldwide and commercial collaborations with many of the major lingerie, sports bra and sporting apparel manufacturers around the world. The Research Group aims to increase scientific knowledge of breast health, and to raise awareness of this important aspect of women’s health.

Human Performance and Health Research Group: The Human Performance and Health Research Group adopts an interdisciplinary research approach to understand, evaluate, and enhance human performance, for sport, exercise, work and health. To achieve these aims this research group undertakes high quality, high impact, internationally recognised research and over the last four years it has produced 80 peer reviewed publications, secured £350,000 funding from a variety of organisations, charities and industry, and presented research findings at national and international conferences where it has won a number of awards.

Module Details

Extreme Environmental Medicine and Science:

Research areas include:

  • Environmental and survival physiology, and medicine
  • Preparation for, and protection from, environmental extremes
  • Psychology of performance in extreme environments
  • Surveillance and cognitive function
  • Responses to cold water immersion
  • Peripheral vascular response to cold challenges
  • Cold water swimming training, thermoregulation over the course of a season
  • The effect of exercise when exposed to hypoxia following habituation to hand and forearm cooling
  • The influence of exercise in the cold on respiratory function, airway remodelling and the development of respiratory conditions
  • The influence of overweight and obesity on respiratory function, particularly in paediatric groups
  • Peripheral vascular responses evoked in normal and cold-sensitive individuals by iontophoresis of α1- and α2-adrenoceptor agonists
  • The effect of acute beetroot juice supplementation on local skin temperature and blood flow following cold water immersion in normal and cold-sensitive individuals
  • Diagnostic tests in Non-Freezing Cold Injury
  • Ethnic differences in thermoregulation

Breast Health:

Research areas include:

  • Understanding appropriate breast support
  • Clinical implications of breast pain
  • Influences of the breast on physical activity
  • Biomechanics of sports apparel
  • The behaviour of soft tissue during dynamic sporting activities
  • Breast support implications (biomechanical, physiological or psychological) for specific athlete populations
  • Bra fitting – Research in this area may include investigating the effect of poor bra fit on the function of breast support or developing criteria for appropriate sports bra fit
  • The development of educational material for breast health issues

Human Performance and Health:

Research areas include:

  • Occupational physiology and fitness standards
  • Enhancing human performance
  • Performance psychology of individuals and organisations
  • Clinical exercise science and physical activity promotion
  • Breathing muscle limitations and training in sport and/or exercise
  • Swimming performance physiology
  • Breathing muscle limitations in swimming and/or methods to overcome limitations
  • Role of exercise testing in elective and non-elective surgical screening and the effect of exercise prescription in managing surgical risk
  • Interaction of nutritional supplementation and exercise on health outcomes in individuals with chronic disease
  • Physical activity for type II diabetes
  • Evaluating exercise referral services
  • Exercise service provision for patients with cardiac, pulmonary and diabetes conditions
  • Force dissipation characteristics of different surface / footwear interfaces
  • Effects of interpersonal interactions on gait
  • Assistive devices
  • Relationship between physical activity and the development of sport and movement skills
  • Optimisation of training methods for improving perceptual skill and decision making
  • Psychology of elite performance
  • Stress and emotion
  • Performance profiling
  • Psychology of extreme environment activities
  • Psychological skills training for sports performance
  • Psychology of sports coaching
  • Mechanism(s) of exercise limitation in patients with chronic disease
  • Influence of chronic disease on oxygen uptake kinetics and muscle metabolism
  • Respiratory muscle training and singing in children and adults with cystic fibrosis
  • Physical activity behaviours and interventions in paediatric or chronically diseased groups
  • Talent identification of elite referees, pathways, referee selection and development
  • Analysis of refereeing pathways, structures, models, training and performance

Student Destinations

One of the benefits of studying at Portsmouth is the comprehensive support we provide in career planning. Our careers and recruitment service - Purple Door - can assist you in career research and finding employment opportunities.

The Graduate School Development Programme offers a series of dedicated workshops on career planning, specifically for research degree students. You will also have access to consultations with careers advisers or online support. This service is available for five years after graduation.

Department specialisms

Human and Applied Physiology; Biomechanics; Sports Development; Psychology; Health; Evaluating Local Sport Projects that engage with the health/education sectors and major National Lottery facilities.

Fees and funding

UK students
full-time students: £4,121 p/a, part-time students: £1,590 p/a *All fees are subject to annual increase.
International students
full-time students: £12,600 p/a, part-time students: £6,300 p/a *All fees are subject to annual increase.

Qualification and course duration


full time
24 months
part time
48 months


full time
36 months
part time
72 months

Course contact details

Research Team - Faculty of Science
023 9284 2994