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Further Study and PhDs

Postgraduate Study

Many students go on to postgraduate study after they complete their undergraduate degree. Taught masters degrees typically take one year to complete (two years part-time) years, and allow students to deeper into area of interest.

Examples of sport related masters degrees are Exercise Physiology, Physiotherapy, Nutrition, Coaching, Sport Management, Psychology etc. At Manchester Metropolitan University, we offer masters degrees in Sport and Exercise Science, Sport Nutrition, and Sport Business, Management and Policy.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

A PhD is the highest formal academic qualification. Individuals with a PhD will earn the title of ‘Dr’ to signify their doctoral status (this is different from a medical doctor). PhD’s typically take 3-4 years, as they involve producing a piece of advanced work that adds something significantly new to the academic area they are working in.

Those wishing to undertake a PhD require an undergraduate degree and those who apply often, but not always, hold a postgraduate (Masters) qualification. Unlike undergraduate, and taught masters courses, PhD’s comprise an individual research project that is developed with the help of a small supervisory team.

The stages of a PhD involve a large literature search to define the research aims, collection of original data, and the writing and defence of a thesis (i.e a write up of the findings) to a small group of examiners. A PhD is often taken by individuals who wish to continue to work in research at a university, or to apply their knowledge in ‘industry’.

Those students who go on the study for a PhD often assist in teaching undergraduate students, to further develop their academic skills.

Student Snapshots

Watch this video to discover what Shane found most exciting about doing his PhD.
Watch this video to see how Lydia moved from undergraduate degree to PhD and hear about the ups and downs of the PhD process.


Students start studying for a PhD though a number of routes. Some students are lucky enough to find a funded PhD in the area they are interested in straight after they graduate (usually from a taught Masters course), whereas others find an academic in the area they are interested in, and fund it themselves, often when working part-time.

PhDs are advertised in a number of ways; often through an Department or Research Institute’s website, for example Man Met’s Musculoskeletal Science and Sports Medicine Institute.

One of the most widely used sites for finding a PhD is FindAPhD.

Use FindAPhD to search for PhD area that you may eventually be interested in

Try to be more adventurous in the search terms that you use. For example, Shane’s PhD is in the area of genetics, so you may not find what you are most interested in using terms such as ‘sport’ or ‘coaching’.