University of Gloucestershire: Professional Doctorate in Sport and Exercise

InstitutionUniversity of Gloucestershire
Department School of Sport and Exercise
Study type Research


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 it is difficult to attain 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 8–20 participants, to preserve the quality of the taught experience in a collaborative and supportive learning environment.

Course modules:

Reviewing and Critiquing Literature

This module is a continuous development throughout the pre-thesis phase of the programme. You are guided to develop practices of deep ongoing reflection on your business experience, research topic and broader contexts, including communication skills. Through encouraging a systematic engagement with a substantial body of relevant literature, you will be able to critically analyse and evaluate previous research work using theoretical frameworks and literature review approaches.

Research Design, Analysis and Interpretation of Data

The role of methodology and review approaches, critique tools and techniques by which knowledge can be generated and applied is examined. You are guided to explore the methodological schools that characterise sport and exercise research, to establish their applicability to your work. You’re introduced to theoretical frameworks and the many approaches to analysis and interpretation common to sport and exercise doctoral work. A range of analytical and interpretative approaches are considered that derive from both the natural and social sciences. You will use various data analysis packages to analyse and interpret data. The module provides you with opportunities to practise and reflect on the tensions that are likely to occur in engaging with a piece of professionally related research.

For more information and to apply for the Professional Doctorate in Sport and Exercise programme, please visit the subject page via

Professional Doctorate

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