MPhil/PhD
Sport and Exercise Science/Sports Studies

Key Information


Full-time

Dependent on award

Part-time

Dependent on award

Entry Requirements

See More

Campus

Brayford Pool

Start Dates in October and January

Programme Overview

The School of Sport and Exercise Science offers a wide range of research degree opportunities across various disciplines within sport and exercise science and sports studies, drawing on the specialist research interests of members of our staff. Registration for the MPhil/PhD or PhD allows you to devise and pursue a chosen topic of enquiry under the supervision of staff with expertise in that area.

Research is an essential component of the School's activity and it is committed to maintaining an infrastructure and intellectually stimulating environment that support the development of the next generation of researchers. Applications for postgraduate research are welcome across the diverse sport, exercise, physical culture, and health disciplines in which the School's academic staff specialise.

In addition to subject-specific support from a supervisory team, students can benefit from a programme of research training that is designed to build on existing knowledge and develop advanced skills and expertise.

Key Features

Conduct independent, original, and academically significant research

Benefit from training courses to develop key research skills

Supervision and support from an advisory panel of academic staff

Present at talks and seminars to showcase your work

Enrol in January or October each year

Student on an exercise bike whilst another assesses

How You Study

Due to the nature of postgraduate research programmes, the majority of time is spent in independent study and research.

Students will have regular meetings with their academic supervisors, but the frequency of these will vary depending on the mode of study, individual requirements, subject area, staff availability, and stage of programme.

Research Groups and Topics

The key to success on a postgraduate research programme is to find a research topic that you are passionate about and identify a supervisory team that has expertise in this area. The first thing that all prospective students should do is directly contact a member of staff from one of these areas that you feel is best aligned with your chosen research area to discuss the application process further.

How you are assessed

A PhD is usually awarded based on the quality of the student's thesis and ability to present and successfully defend their chosen research topic in an oral examination (viva voce). They are also expected to demonstrate how their research findings have contributed to knowledge or developed existing theory or understanding.

Research Proposals

You will need to produce a research proposal as part of your application for this programme. This is a project outline identifying what you want to study, why you want to investigate this area, and how you intend to conduct the research. You are not expected to be the expert, but you will need to demonstrate a sound knowledge of the subject and where your research will make a valuable contribution to the topic. When writing your research proposal, please take note of the following guidance:

Writing a Research Proposal

Your research proposal is the starting point of your research. It is normal for your ideas to evolve and develop, and for plans to change as you engage more deeply with the literature and begin working with your supervision team.

Here are some general points for writing your research proposal.

Length of Proposal

For a PhD your proposal should be around 3,000 to 5,000 words (excluding references).

Structuring Your Research Proposal

There isn’t a prescribed format for the structure of a research proposal but the following section headings are generally considered to be important:

Working Title

A clear and succinct description of your research should be encapsulated in the title. Although this may not be the title of your final thesis, your proposal title should give a clear indication of the area you are interested in exploring.

Introduction

The introduction should set the context, explaining what you will research, why it is of value, and how you propose to conduct your research. The introduction is your opportunity to demonstrate that your proposed research can make a significant contribution to existing bodies of literature, detailing how your research will fill a gap or develop/complete findings from previous research. Overall, you will be expected to show that you have a good knowledge of the wider context in which your research belongs and that you have awareness of methodologies, theories, and conflicting evidence in your chosen field.

Overview of Your Research

You should provide a short overview of your research and where it fits in existing academic discourses, debates, or literature. This should also cover your research objectives, why the research is needed, and what original contribution it can make. Make sure your overview is intelligible to someone who is not a specialist in this field

Literature Review

You won’t have had chance to review all the relevant literature at this stage, but you should be able to incorporate the major debates and issues, demonstrating that you understand your chosen field. Show how your research is original and how it will address the gaps in current knowledge. The conclusion of the review should include a statement of your research problem or question.

Methodology

Your methodology section should detail how you will conduct your research and consider the following:

  • Methods of data collection and analysis
  • How you will access and recruit participants (if relevant)
  • Number of participants to be included (if relevant)
  • Ethical implications of your work
  • Any potential problems and challenges with your proposed methods and how these might be overcome.

Timescales

You should provide a clear plan of how you will carry out the research from start to finish, breaking it down into the main components of the research project and identifying what you expect to do in each year of your studies. 

Top Tips for a Good Research Proposal

  • Have a clearly stated research idea, question, or problem and be persuasive.
  • Demonstrate how it is addressing a gap in the current knowledge and research.
  • Develop a well-structured proposal (poorly formed or rambling proposals may raise concerns that the thesis could be the same).
  • Be reasonable and realistic in terms of scope.
  • Show passion for the topic.
  • Refine and edit your proposal before it is submitted.
  • Make sure there are no spelling or grammatical errors.
  • Leave the reader interested, excited, and wanting to know more.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of research methods and research approaches and be clear that these are appropriate for your research question(s).
  • Refrain from using discipline-specific jargon unless it is absolutely necessary to communicating your idea effectively.

How to Apply

Postgraduate Research Application Support

Find out more about the application process for research degrees and what you'll need to complete on our How to Apply page, which also features contact details for dedicated support with your application.

How to Apply
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Entry Requirements 2024-25

Entry Requirements

MPhil: First or upper second class honours degree in a related subject.

PhD: Master's degree in a relevant subject area and with a substantial research component. Exceptionally, a first class honours degree will be considered.

Overseas students will be required to demonstrate English language proficiency equivalent to IELTS 6.0 overall, with a minimum of 5.5 in each element. For information regarding other English language qualifications we accept, please visit the English Requirements page.
https://www.lincoln.ac.uk/home/studywithus/internationalstudents/englishlanguagerequirementsandsupport/englishlanguagerequirements

If you do not meet the above IELTS requirements, you may be able to take part in one of our Pre-session English and Academic Study Skills courses. These specialist courses are designed to help students meet the English language requirements for their intended programme of study.

https://www.lincoln.ac.uk/home/studywithus/internationalstudents/englishlanguagerequirementsandsupport/pre-sessionalenglishandacademicstudyskills

Programme Fees

You will need to have funding in place for your studies before you arrive at the University. Our fees vary depending on the course, mode of study, and whether you are a UK or international student. You can view the breakdown of fees for this programme below. Research students may be required to pay additional fees in addition to cover the cost of specialist resources, equipment and access to any specialist collections that may be required to support their research project. These will be informed by your research proposal and will be calculated on an individual basis.

Programme Fees

Funding Your Research

Loans and Studentships

Find out more about the optional available to support your postgraduate research, from Master's and Doctoral Loans, to research studentship opportunities. You can also find out more about how to pay your fees and access support from our helpful advisors.

Explore Funding Options
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Meet Our Postgraduate Researchers

Meet PhD student Georgia Clay, whose research at the University of Lincoln is examining the relationships between health, physical activity, service professionals, and older adult stroke survivors in the context of community stroke rehabilitation.

Meet Georgia Clay
Georgia Clay

Career Development

A doctoral qualification can be the capstone of academic achievement and often marks the beginning of a career in academia or research. A research programme provides the opportunity to become a true expert in your chosen field, while developing a range of valuable transferable skills that can support your career progression. A research-based degree is also the most direct pathway to an academic career. PhDs and research degrees are a great chance to expand your network and meet diverse people with similar interests, knowledge, and passion.

The University’s Doctoral School provides a focal point for Lincoln’s community of researchers, where ideas and experiences can be developed and shared across disciplines. It also offers support and training to help equip you for both academic and non-academic careers.

Doctoral School

Academic Contact

For more information about this course, please contact:

Dr Mark Smith
mfsmith@lincoln.ac.uk

Research at Lincoln

Through our research, we are striving to change society for the better. Working with regional, national, and international partners, our academics are engaged in groundbreaking studies that are challenging the status quo. We also understand the importance of providing the best possible environment for pursuing research that can support our communities and make a tangible difference to the world around us.

Explore Our Research
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The University intends to provide its courses as outlined in these pages, although the University may make changes in accordance with the Student Admissions Terms and Conditions.