Sport and Exercise Science

Typical offer: 2:1 honours degree

Duration: 1-3 years; full-time or part-time options

Awarding body: Hartpury University

Delivery: Online and campus-based; flexible to fit around commitments

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Course overview

As the field of sport science grows, so do opportunities. The need for both practitioners and researchers to work in high performance sport settings is becoming more common. This course provides those looking to enter this industry with a blend of research and practical skills to help provide real word, research-informed solutions to enhance athletic performance.

At Hartpury, sport and science mix perfectly. Build your knowledge using high performance technologies in a semi-professional sports environment. Benefit from extensive networks with clubs, the community and national governing bodies.

High-level performance

Make the most of facilities and expertise that supports 10 performance Sports Academies across different disciplines, as well as national and international athletes and teams. You could undertake research, working with athletes and coaches on our sports pitches, as well as human performance and biomechanics laboratories with the latest technologies.

Develop professional networks

We’ll support you to undertake research in your workplace or contribute to an important project through our extensive network of leading clubs, organisations and schools by working with us to improve what they do. Partners include England Rugby, Cheltenham Town Football Club, Forest Green Rovers Football Club, Gloucester Rugby, GB Rowing and Pentathlon GB.

Be supported to succeed

Our expert lecturers, professors and industry networks will support you to design credible research and find practical solutions for important challenges in your chosen topic. A mix of learning pathways, including campus and online delivery, will help you to design your timetable around other commitments.

Apply now Contact us: +44 (0)1452 702244

What you'll study

What you'll study

Progress your career through a unique piece of postgraduate research, the focus of which lies outside our existing curriculum. You’ll develop both theoretical and practical expertise, whilst contributing positively to real-world practice.

Research areas

Your research focus can be externally driven by an employer or you may work collaboratively with an industry partner to solve a problem that they are currently facing. Alternatively, you may choose to focus your research on an area of our high-performance sports teams and athletes on campus.

Potential research areas include;

  • Applied Sport Sciences (e.g. Nutrition, Psychology, Biomechanics, Physiology)
  • Performance Analysis
  • Physical Activity and Wellbeing
  • Physical Education
  • Sports Coaching
  • Strength and Conditioning

Modules have been designed to equip you with advanced research expertise and skills for critical evaluation of concepts, research design and accurate data analysis, allowing you to apply current empirical thinking to your specific research area. You’ll spend time working independently on your research with an allocated supervisor for support.

Alongside this, you’ll select 45 credits of optional modules to complement your research from our range of sport and exercise postgraduate modules across all of our sport courses.

This provides the opportunity to advance new knowledge to help shape your research or, depending on your choice, may provide the chance for you to build your applied skills through a sport and exercise science work placement. This could be on site in one of our human performance laboratories or with one of our Sports Academy teams.


Below you’ll find the modules for this course. Successful completion of your modules will enable you to gain academic credits that may accumulate towards your final master’s degree award (pass, merit or distinction). Modules change each year in line with student, industry and research demands.

MRes students will study 180 credits, made up of compulsory modules and 45 credits of optional modules. Module enrolment is subject to programme manager approval.


Discuss research methodologies and applications, as well as strengths, weaknesses and limitations of different methods.

Gain experiences of exploring literature, understanding and utilising research methodologies and data analysis aligned to your specific area of interest within sport and exercise. This process will lead to the design, completion and write up of a preliminary research project where dissemination of research outputs will also be covered to develop scientific communications skills.

Develop and undertake a detailed and independent research project on a topic of your choosing, related
to your Master of Research degree.

Optional modules

You will undertake an extended literature review in an area of your choice, supported by an academic supervisor.

Students will develop their critical evaluation, analytical and practical skills in the designing, coaching and
monitoring of strength and conditioning programs.

Students will consider current knowledge on how to develop coaches, through a range of coach education strategies.

Understand coaching philosophy and coaching behaviours and decision‐making.

Students appraise current developments and challenges faced by the sports performance analyst.

Develop and apply innovative sports business marketing approaches, evidencing the importance of digital
marketing, and understanding the processes involved in producing media, such as blogs and podcasts.
Examine digital marketing trends such as search engine optimisation, pay‐per‐click advertising analytics,
social media and content analysis.

Sports management organisations are exploring ways to evidence the impact of their provision through
monitoring and evaluation approaches. Within this module, you’ll critique the current context of evidence in the contemporary climate and learn about innovative evaluation approaches to inform sports
management practice.

Students have the opportunity to apply theoretical competencies to practice through contact hours with
Hartpury’s Sports Academy.

Students will develop a critical understanding and appreciation of how to work effectively within industry and multi‐disciplinary/inter‐disciplinary teams.

This module focuses on the use of learning theories and pedagogic principles as a conceptual lens through which to view practice. It provides practitioners with an opportunity to increase their understanding of the field of pedagogy in order to develop a conceptual base from which to refine and critique their practice. Students enrolled on this module will be required to write a report as well as design and deliver a presentation to provide practitioners with underpinning knowledge that will allow them to develop more
pedagogically aware practice.

Progress an enhanced understanding of the relevant testing methods that can be used by strength and
conditioning coaches as well as the data analysis methods used to assess athlete or client physical testing

Develop a detailed understanding of the specific dose‐response and adaptations to strength and
conditioning training methods, and how this influences training prescription and programming.

This module will bridge the gap between the student’s academic preparation and the real world
environment. Students are required to source and complete 200 hours of industry‐ based placement in a
pre‐approved environment.

Students will develop an evidenced portfolio of their current practice within their professional area of

Critique contemporary issues in the sports management industry. Explore and apply a wide range of
models in areas such as entrepreneurship, deregulation, management, sustainability, asset‐based approaches to sports management, internationalisation, globalisation, and health and wellbeing.

Developing reflective practices and their use in coaching.

Students will develop an enhanced understanding in the scientific underpinning of human movement
control and the applied strategies to enhance athletic performance

Develop strategic leadership and consultancy skills, enabling you to effectively drive and manage change.
Focus on strategic and operational engagement, supported by the development of leadership skills and a consultancy‐led approach towards business improvement.

Prepares students to review current research, and conduct their own research projects in the area of

Please visit our document library for more module information.

Further module information

How you'll study

How you'll study

We're committed to supporting you to fulfil your unique potential while you're here so that you can achieve your personal and professional goals.

Your support network

You'll benefit from a strong support network from day one. This will range from your lecturers, supervisors and personal tutor to our specialist academic (Achievement and Success Centre), employability (Innovation, Careers and Enterprise) and wellbeing teams.

Further details

One year, full-time

You can study this qualification full-time and complete in one year.

Two-three years, part-time

Part-time pathways enable students to manage their studies alongside other commitments. Options can be tailored to suit your needs, enabling you to complete your qualification in two or three years.

Contact Admissions team

Upon successful completion of your modules you’ll gain academic credit that accumulates towards your award. The marks you gain may contribute towards your final master’s degree differential award (pass, merit or distinction).

  • Modules can contain a mixture of scheduled learning – the compulsory modules are delivered predominantly through online, synchronous modes of teaching and learning, but the research undertaken may require a student to utilise the facilities onsite. Furthermore, the optional modules chosen will likely be delivered onsite through lectures, workshops and practical sessions. Alongside this, students will be expected to engage in independent studies.
  • Teaching contact time and method will vary depending on the module you’re studying. You’ll be expected to dedicate at least two to three hours of independent study per contact hour.
  • The course is taught in English.

Contact learningPlacement learningIndependent learning
MRes degree7%11%82%

You’ll be assessed through practical exams and written assignments. Some modules will include a mixture of assessment types, whilst others will be based on one. Feedback will be provided in written form, with the option for follow-up discussions with academic staff. The types of assessments will vary depending on which modules the student selects. As a guide:

Written examPractical examCoursework
MRes degree0%18%82%

Typically, courses are taught over three semesters, with semesters normally consisting of 12 weeks of scheduled teaching and then assessment weeks. However, this programme differs from this norm due to its high level of independent research content.

More specifically, the compulsory modules are offered through online learning and require the student to engage in independent research. Depending on choice, the optional module is likely to be offered via onsite learning and will incorporate a mixture of interactive campus-based sessions with independent study.

Attendance dates and timetables will be made available before enrolment.


postgraduate sport student working in gym

You’ll have opportunities to develop your knowledge and skills through real-world research. You'll learn from research active staff and sport and exercise practitioners to broaden your knowledge and networks.

Research in professional environments

Focus your research on an external environment, such as your workplace, or make the most of our professional sport and commercial activities on campus. These include the Sports Academy and associated performance teams, the sports medical centre, the human performance laboratories, Hartpury RFC, and equestrian sport events.

Alternatively, we have strong industry partnerships through the Hartpury Sports Business Hub, which enable students to engage in applied research which directly impacts practice. These partnerships include England Rugby, Cheltenham Town Football Club, Forest Green Rovers Football Club, Gloucester Rugby, GB Rowing, Pentathlon GB.

Conferences and events

You'll be encouraged to take an active role in industry events and conferences. Our students present dissertations and research projects – fantastic experience for professional reputations.

Graduate destinations

Studying a Master of Research provides the opportunity for you to enhance your own practice or prepare for PhD studies. Delivering contemporary research will place you at the forefront of knowledge within your discipline.


hartpury student study in the gym

World-class facilities

You’ll have access to a diverse range of facilities while you’re here, many of which are newly built and world-class. Alongside lectures halls and workshop spaces, these include:

£8.8 million Sports Academy

The facility includes therapy suites, rehabilitation gym, biomechanics laboratory, human performance laboratory and double sports hall.

Performance analysis suite

The analysis suite includes access to laptops with industry-leading Hudl Sportscode and Nacsport software.

performance gym at hartpury

Sports hall and outdoor pitches

The sports facilities include IP cameras offering live and delayed footage of training and matches, providing analysts with access to high-quality footage. Our 3G all-weather surfaces for rugby are tested to IRB regulations and football pitches are certified by the FA.

Sports laboratories

Our human performance laboratories are modern and well equipped, providing the ideal spaces for scientific activities and research. Specific equipment includes an antigravity treadmill, altitude chamber, running track with sunken force platforms, 3D motion capture digital camera system.

Power and cross-training gyms

We have four gym spaces on campus which include the latest strength and conditioning equipment, such as NordBord, Optojump and GymAware.

Sports therapy and rehabilitation suites

We have two sport therapy teaching clinic rooms and two purpose built rehabilitation spaces to enable students to appreciate how top class treatment and return-to-play can be managed.

Sport and exercise nutrition teaching kitchen

Our purpose-built teaching kitchen allows students to not only meal plan, but gain critical experience of meal preparation and cooking for clients.

Study spaces

Our University Learning Centre has books, journals, ebooks, computers and breakout study spaces. In addition, we have a study Lounge - an informal space with sports equipment, study booths and chill-out spaces to support both studying and relaxation. Postgraduate students also have a specially designated study area with 24-hour access.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements


A minimum of a 2:1 honours degree in a relevant subject area which has involved an independent dissertation project. Additionally, you will need to be able to clearly articulate your potential research project and its proposed significance to the topic area.


In addition to the academic qualification an IELTS 6.5 or equivalent is required.

Please contact us for further information:

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Fees and funding

Tuition fees and financial support

Please visit our finance pages for information on tuition fees and student loans. This includes non-repayable grants, bursaries and scholarships, which are eligible to different groups to support with study costs.

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Studentship scheme

Our Postgraduate Studentship Scheme provides a fantastic development opportunity, enabling you to complement your postgraduate study with important real-world research within a paid position at Hartpury.

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MRes Bursary

You maybe eligible for a £1,000 bursary to support your research project. Please visit our finance page for more details.

Extra costs

Clothing and footwear:

Hartpury Branded kit (circa £100) - Specific modules require branded kit - polo and tracksuit bottoms - to be worn when representing Hartpury as part of our Sports Academy. Students can purchase branded kit from our online shop.

Hartpury shop


Travel costs for your professional work placement are self-funded.

Sports or Equine Academy membership

If you have the talent and drive to develop your skills as an athlete alongside your studies, you may be eligible to join one of our Sports Academies. Find out costs and details below.

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Hartpury gym

Discover more about joining our gym.

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Accommodation and living costs

Please visit our student accommodation page for details.

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We have stabling for 230 horses on campus. If you're interested in having your horse at Hartpury on DIY livery while you study, please visit our livery page for details and costs.

Livery options

"The provision at Hartpury is massive. At the cutting edge of performance sport, producing world-class athletes in different disciplines. It’s a great environment to learn in, you’re surrounded by opportunities to gain the applied experience that employers are looking for."

George Edwards, Academy Performance Analyst, Gloucester Rugby

Get in touch

We would love to hear from you, so please get in touch. You can ask a specific question or simply pop your details in to be kept up-to-date with news and events.

Master's sport student in Hartpury gym

Important information

Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of our published course information, however our programmes are reviewed and developed regularly. Changes or cancellation of courses may be necessary to ensure alignment with emerging employment areas, to comply with accrediting body requirements, revisions to subject benchmark statements or as a result of student feedback. We reserve the right to make necessary changes and will notify all offer-holders of changes as and when they occur.

*Reflects activities after 15 months for those who graduated in 2019