PHD Sport and Physical Activity

Study Mode Full-time
Year of Entry 2024/25
Two females stood side by side, one holding a weight in their arm whilst both look at the tablet screen held by the other.


Sport and Physical Activity

Study for a research degree in our Sport and Physical Activity Research Centre which undertakes world-class, multidisciplinary applied research and innovation with real-world impact.

Everything you need to know...

  • Pound sign

    What is the fee?

    Home: £4,786 per year
    International/EU: £17,205 per year

  • Time

    How long will I study?

    4 Years

  • Location

    Where will I study?

    Collegiate Campus

  • Date

    When do I start?

    October 2024
    February 2025
    May 2025

Course summary

  • Develop specialist research knowledge and skills  
  • Complete an independent research programme
  • Acquire a range of high-level transferable skills
  • Supervision by active researchers
  • Benefit from joining a vibrant Postgraduate research community

You’ll receive research methods training and develop specialist research skills equipping you to undertake an independent programme of research. You’ll receive supervision from a team of active researchers working within our Sport & Physical Activity Research Centre.

The impact of our research is recognised as world leading or internationally excellent in the recent Research Excellence Framework 2021.

How you learn

All our courses are designed around a set of key principles based on engaging you with the world, collaborating with others, challenging you to think in new ways, and providing you with a supportive environment in which you can thrive.

As a postgraduate research student, you’ll follow an independent programme of study under the supervision of a team of leading academics with extensive experience of undertaking high quality research and academic scholarship. Supervision principally takes place through regular meetings, either face to face or using remote communication, between postgraduate research students and their supervisory teams. Our policies and support structures ensure that supervision is of the highest quality.

You’ll have access to a wide range of training opportunities to help you work towards your research degree. These include:

  • A programme of university wide doctoral training sessions.
  • A programme of workshops and research support sessions delivered by the Health Research Institute postgraduate research team.
  • Specialist research training and skills development relevant to your research project.
  • A range of research seminar series provided within the HRI and across the university.
  • Peer discussions and support as part of a post graduate research community.
  • Multiple opportunities to present your work at local, national and international conferences.
  • Financial support to attend academic conferences, networking opportunities and training events.

Course leaders and tutors

Joseph Stone
Joseph Stone
Associate Professor of Skill Acquisition and Performance Analysis

I teach on a range of degree programmes in Sport and Exercise Science, teaching on modules in Performance Analysis, Motor Skills and Biomechanics

Applied learning

You’ll be part of an active research community in the Sport and Physical Activity Research Centre (SPARC), the Health Research Institute and the wider university. Your research will be closely aligned with one of the research groups within SPARC. These are:

  • Sport Industry Research Group
  • Sports Engineering Research Group
  • Physical Activity, Wellness & Public Health
  • Sport & Human Performance


Our research is delivered with national and international partners and collaborators and is one of the largest sport and physical activity research clusters in the UK. We are proud to work with organisations such as Sport England, UK Sport, Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), International Tennis Federation, Federation of International Football Association (FIFA), Adidas, Team GB Olympic and Paralympic athletes and teams, English Institute of Sport, The London Marathon, Parkrun and the Royal and Ancient Golf Club.

We also work extensively with the health sector and charities delivering interventions and evaluations to a range of diverse populations and contexts. These organisations include the National Health Service (NHS), Department of Health, Sheffield Health and Social Care, Public Health England, Yorkshire Cancer Research, Macmillan Cancer Research, The Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society, and British Heart Foundation as well as industry partners such as Westfield Health.

There are multiple opportunities for you to be involved in a wide range of academic activities including teaching and knowledge exchange over the course of your programme, enabling you to further expand and enhance your knowledge and skills acquisition.

Future careers

Research degrees are a vital qualification for most academic careers. The research training and the high-level transferable skills you’ll acquire are highly desirable across all sectors and will be a valuable asset whatever your career.

Where will I study?

You study at Collegiate Campus through a structured mix of lectures, seminars and practical sessions as well as access to digital and online resources to support your learning.

Collegiate campus

Collegiate Campus can be found just off Ecclesall Road, a bustling student district.

Collegiate Campus map | Campus facilities 

Collegiate Campus map

Collegiate Crescent
S10 2BP

Get directions
Students outside Collegiate Library
Collegiate library

Collegiate Library can be found just off Ecclesall Road. It's open 24 hours a day, every day.

Learn more

Equipment and facilities

You’ll have access to excellent facilities and learning resources as well as a dedicated postdoctoral office space which promotes vibrant discussion and collaboration.

You’ll also have access to our state-of-the-art specialist equipment which supports a wide range of research activities. The equipment is located on the Collegiate Crescent campus and within the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre which is part of the Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park.

Find out more about our research facilities here

Entry requirements

All students

All applicants should hold a strong undergraduate degree (2.1 or above) and/or a relevant masters qualification (or expectation of the same).

All applicants must submit a completed postgraduate application form including a 1500 word research proposal.

You are encouraged to find out more about our staff and their current research to inform the development of your research proposal and to ensure it aligns with our research themes. Before submitting your proposal, please contact the member(s) of staff listed against the relevant research theme.

Applicants are required to give a short 10–15 minute presentation followed by an interview. Interview panel members will include the head of research degrees for the relevant research area or centre, a local postgraduate research tutor and a prospective director of studies.

Where English is not your first language, you must show evidence of English language ability to the following minimum level of proficiency: an overall IELTS score of 7.0 or above, with at least 6.5 in each component or an accepted equivalent. Please note that your test score must be current, i.e. within the last two years.

Additional information for EU/International students

If you are an International or non-UK European student, you can find out more about the country specific qualifications we accept on our international qualifications page.

For details of English language entry requirements (IELTS), please see the information for 'All students'.

Fees and funding

Home students

Our tuition fee for UK postgraduate research students starting full-time study in 2024/25 is £4,786 per year. An additional bench fee may also be charged for this course, depending on the nature of your project and requirements for specialist facilities. Information on whether a bench fee is chargeable can be provided by the relevant Research Institute, and will be confirmed in your offer letter.

If you are studying an undergraduate course, postgraduate pre-registration course or postgraduate research course over more than one academic year then your tuition fees may increase in subsequent years in line with Government regulations or UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) published fees. More information can be found in our terms and conditions under student fees regulations.

International students

Our tuition fee for International/EU postgraduate research students starting full-time study in 2024/25 is £17,205 per year. An additional bench fee may also be charged for this course, depending on the nature of your project and requirements for specialist facilities. Information on whether a bench fee is chargeable can be provided by the relevant Research Institute, and will be confirmed in your offer letter.

Students sat on a sofa

Doctoral student loans

Up to £25,700 available to help you while you study a postgraduate doctoral course.

Doctoral student loans

Additional course costs

This link allows you to view estimated costs associated with the main activities on specific courses. These are estimates and, as such, are only an indication of additional course costs. Actual costs can vary greatly depending on the choices you make during your course.

Additional costs for Sport and physical activity courses (PDF, 337.6KB)

Legal information

Any offer of a place to study is subject to your acceptance of the University’s Terms and Conditions and Student Regulations.


How do I apply?

You apply for this course via our online application form.

You can also use the application form above to apply for future years of entry.

Not ready to apply just yet?

Why not come to our next open day? Open days are the perfect place to talk to staff and students, visit our campuses and get all the information you need. Alternatively, feel free to ask us a question.

Come to an open day Ask a question

Why choose us?

A trophy icon


We are Gold rated in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) for the outstanding quality of our teaching and student outcomes

A head and shoulders icon


Join more than 1,500 students at our nationally-renowned Academy of Sport and Physical Activity

An office building icon


Learn in cutting-edge sports facilities, including our £6m sports park and a satellite campus at the English Institute of Sport

Where next?

Find out more about Sheffield Hallam's postgraduate opportunities and community.

Two attendees wearing coats, speak to a member of staff at a stand within the University's atrium

Come to an open day

You can chat to teaching and admissions staff, view our facilities and learn more about your funding options.

Book now
A crowd of attendees browsing stalls in the Sheffield Hallam atrium during an open day

Sign up for updates

Receive emails about postgraduate study, including application reminders and alerts for open days.

Sign up
Three female and one male student sat together around a table drinking hot beverages in a cafe.

Information for international students

Information for international students including entry requirements by country and funding.

Learn more

Cancel event

Are you sure you want to cancel your place on Saturday 12 November?