Research in sport and exercise science is conducted through the Sport and Exercise Sciences Research Institute (SESRI), and is comprised of a multi-disciplinary team of staff and postgraduate PhD researchers. Given the applied nature of the research conducted by SESRI, we have developed a range of research collaborations at international, national and local levels involving governing bodies of sport, hospitals and medical facilities and practitioners, local and national government and other key stakeholders in sport, exercise and physical activity.
Research areas include:
- Adolescent lifestyle and health.
- Health benefits of physical activity.
- Sport and exercise psychology, physiology and biomechanics.
- Sport technology.
- Sports medicine and physiotherapy
- Exercise biochemistry
Research centres housed in SESRI aim to facilitate, co-ordinate and to carry out high quality research, and to promote a vibrant culture of research and scholarship in partnership with health providers, sports governing bodies and other centres of excellence.
Researchers within the Centre explore a range of research themes relating to a healthy society, including physical activity and disease prevention, sports medicine, metabolism and nutrition, epigenetics and DNA damage.
The Centre has established a world-wide reputation in Exercise Medicine, Physical Activity and Health related research. Our research is published by leading academic publishers, high-quality peer-reviewed journals, and informs policy and guidelines nationally and internationally. Our research is funded by the Medical Research Council, Northern Ireland Chest, Heart and Stroke, The Royal & Ancient, Interreg Europe, the Public Health Agency, Diabetes Foundation, Sport NI, and a range of other international partners and agencies. There is ongoing media interest in our research, and we engage widely in dissemination of our findings with local, national and international partners.
The Centre is supported by a state-of the-art laboratory infrastructure, equipped for basic and applied studies that are internationally excellent and world-leading.
Applicants should hold, or expect to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class Honours Degree in a subject relevant to the proposed area of study. We may also consider applications from those who hold equivalent qualifications, for example, a Lower Second Class Honours Degree plus a Master’s Degree with Distinction.
In exceptional circumstances, the University may consider a portfolio of evidence from applicants who have appropriate professional experience which is equivalent to the learning outcomes of an Honours degree in lieu of academic qualifications.
English language requirements
In order to be admitted to research study at Ulster, you will need to provide evidence of your English language proficiency as part of your application.
Get full details on the requirements for both home and overseas applicants can be found on our English language requirements page.
Careers and opportunities
PhD graduates are recognised by employers to hold valuable transferrable skills, as the nature of the degree trains candidates in creativity, critical inquiry, problem solving, negotiation skills, professionalism and confidence.
The most recent Ulster survey of PhD graduates found that 92% had secured employment within the first year since graduation (HESA Destination of Leavers Survey 2015), and while two thirds end up in the Higher Education or Research sectors, the range of skills acquired equips the remainder for employment in a wide range of contexts.
Fees and funding
Details of tuition fees can be found under the fees schedule for the academic year of entry.
To work out for which fees you would be eligible and to find out more information about potential sources of funding, please view the Fees and Funding pages on the Doctoral College website.
We are delighted that you are considering Ulster University for your research studies. Full details on the application process and further guidance on how to apply, and what you will need to upload as part of your application, is available here.
Once you have identified supervisors, discussed a research proposal and are ready to make an application, please apply using the online application system.
Ulster University welcomes applications from all sections of the community and from persons with disabilities. It is University policy to assess all applications using academic criteria and on the basis of equality of opportunity and you should be assured that reasonable adjustments will be made should you require them.
My research examined the ability of exercise to inflict damage to DNA and other biologically important structures. During my PhD I had the pleasure of being supervised by Prof Gareth Davison and Dr Ciara Hughes. Pursuing a PhD was never a goal from the outset of my academic career - I wanted to be a PE teacher and completed my BSc in Sport and Exercise Science. However, I carried on with my studies and completed a MSc in Sports Nutrition before enrolling in my PhD.If I could give advice to any new graduate student, it would be the nature of research means that things will not always go according to plan. Keep calm, take a break and then carry on. Have a life outside work. Although your lab group is like your work family, it’s great for your mental health to be able to escape work especially when things don't go to plan.
Joshua Williamson - PhD in Sports Science