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Professional Doctorate in Sport - DSport

Currently viewing course to start in 2024/25 Entry.

The Professional Doctorate in Sport (DSport) is aimed at individuals working in sport who are seeking to advance their skillset and knowledge within their related discipline. The DSport integrates part-time doctoral level study with continuing professional practice, which ideal if you want to study at doctoral level while continuing your professional commitments.

  • School School of Health Sciences
  • Faculty Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences

This course is:


The Professional Doctorate in Sport (DSport) is a part-time multidisciplinary programme leading to a doctoral award.

You will likely be an experienced professional in a sport related area seeking to develop your research capacity, transform practice, and make a direct contribution to knowledge in your applied environment.

You will benefit from being able to work within, and study alongside, a multidisciplinary team of experienced researchers and practitioners. The course draws on the considerable expertise and reputation in sports aligned professions development, education, and practice-focused research in our Faculty of Health, Education, and Life Sciences (HELS).

The course is suitable for professions (including educators) from diverse backgrounds in sport including (but not limited to) sport and exercise science, sports coaching and physical education, sport and exercise nutrition, sports therapy, and other allied sports professions.

This course is not open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

  • Benefit from being part of a wider doctoral and researcher community in our Faculty, with a strong focus on practice-relevant research and knowledge implementation.
  • Carry out significant independent research whilst remaining in your practice area.
  • Expand your critical understanding of policy and practice in a multi-professional learning community.
  • Advance your appreciation of research techniques and methodologies with a focus on relevance for investigating your own area of practice.
  • Generate new knowledge, or make novel applications of knowledge for your specialist field of study, that can have a positive impact on your professional practice and workplace.
  • Develop confidence in presenting and defending your research within your area of practice.

“Being a BCU doctoral student has allowed me to make professional connections with peers, faculty, and industry experts, fostering an enriching environment for growth. These connections have not only expanded my network, but also provided opportunities for career advancement. In this supportive atmosphere, I've been able to thrive academically and professionally, laying a solid foundation for my future endeavours.”

Achuthan Shanmugaratnam, current doctoral student in sport

Why Choose Us?

  • Expert knowledge – As well as a main supervisor (or Director of Studies) with expert knowledge of your sport discipline, you will have a second supervisor to read and comment on your work.
  • Research culture – We have a strong research culture and provide a range of development opportunities to aspiring students.
  • Go abroad – Our HELS Go Abroad scheme can help fund international research opportunities so you can gain experience and build your knowledge.
  • World-class facilities – The Alexander Stadium was a key part of the 2022 Commonwealth Games, which is now home to our sports courses following a £5m investment to further develop the facilities.


Join us for an on-campus Open Day where you'll be able to learn about this course in detail, chat to students and explore our campus.

Next Event: 29 June 2024

Book Now

Research Interests

You will be part of the wider research community in the Faculty, led by our research Centre for Life and Sport Sciences (C-LaSS). We recommend you join at least one of the centre’s research clusters, which provide a forum for discussing, progressing, and presenting research through meetings and events. The University hosts an annual research conference that incorporates the work of our doctoral researchers, at which you will be encouraged to present your work. These ongoing activities support your learning and development as a researcher and provide you with a scholarly network, as well as providing a continued sense of belonging to a community, which is particularly important for independent doctoral researchers. You will also be supported to identify and participate in external research and professional networks in your discipline area, such as presenting at conferences and submitting your work to peer-reviewed journals.

Fees & How to Apply

Please select your student status to view fees and apply
  • UK Student
  • International Student

UK students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: DSport

Starting: Sep 2024

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Part Time
  • 3-5 years
  • £2,393 in 2024/25

International students

Sorry, this course is not available to International students.

If you’re unable to use our online application form for any reason, please email University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

Entry Requirements

  • Undergraduate degree plus postgraduate qualification
  • Work Experience – a minimum of 3 years’ experience working within sport
  • Exceptional applicants without a Master’s degree who hold a first class Bachelors degree in a sport-related discipline may be considered. This is dependent upon the academic coherence and promise of their research proposal, and its consonance with the academic expertise of the Faculty

How to Apply

  • Complete the online application, which includes a Personal Statement template detailing your area of practice and research interests in two pages using the form below
  • Current area of practice – describe your professional role in sport and, if relevant, how it has developed over time
  • Research interests – outline the aspect(s) of your role you are interested in investigating. Consider the experience or involvement in research activities you have had to date
  • If you have any queries about applying for the DSport, please contact Course Leader, Dr Adam Kelly, via email: 

Download Personal Statement template

Course in Depth

Module Stage

Studying for a DSport will mean undertaking a programme that leads to research, which makes a contribution to knowledge. The course normally takes between three and five years through part-time study.

Thesis Stage

The DSport incorporates a period of structured learning activity and assessment (i.e., ‘module stage’) leading to the development of a focus for doctoral inquiry and the production of a research thesis (i.e., ‘thesis stage’).

In the Module Stage (years 1 and 2), you will learn through a blended approach, whereby some blocks of teaching (typically 2-3 days at the start of a module) are supported with learning activities (both scheduled and directed) via the virtual learning environment. Teaching in blocks will take various forms, such as short lectures, seminar discussions, and workshops. Further learning activities will include guided reading, video lectures, discussion forums, and journals/blogging, as well as scheduled activities, such as tutorials, action learning groups, writing sets, and content sharing/peer review.

At the start of the Thesis Stage (year 3 onwards), a supervision team will be formally appointed to support you through this independent research stage all the way through to completion. A supervision team consists of two (sometimes three) academic staff acting as doctoral supervisors. The team will be appointed with consideration to their subject and methodological expertise and experience of doctoral supervision. At least one supervisor will be a specialist within your field of practice. Please see the module map below.


The Professional Doctorate in Sport (DSport) is recognised worldwide and is often an essential requirement for those wishing to follow an academic or research career in industry or commerce. Our DSport will help you create opportunities to develop research skills that support professional practice, research, and/or academic careers.

Facilities & Staff

Teaching for our Sports courses is split between our £71 million campus in Edgbaston, Birmingham, and the world-class Alexander Stadium in Perry Barr, Birmingham. Our cutting-edge facilities for sports students include a state-of-the-art sport and exercise lab, sports therapy suite, biomechanics lab and physiology labs.

The Stadium was home to the Commonwealth Games in summer 2022, and the University is investing an additional £5m to develop space in the East and West stands as a home for our students.

Our new home at Alexander Stadium

Our staff

Dr Adam L. Kelly

Associate Professor of Sport and Exercise and Course Leader for Professional Doctorate in Sport (DSport)

Dr Adam L. Kelly is Associate Professor of Sport and Exercise and Course Leader for Professional Doctorate in Sport (DSport) at Birmingham City University. He also founded the newly established BCU Research for Athlete and Youth Sport Development (RAYSD) Lab, where he currently leads key projects with the FIFA Talent Development Scheme and the...

More about Adam L.

Professor Kiara Lewis

Professor of Sport and Exercise Sciences

Kiara is a BASES accredited researcher in psychology, a Fellow of BASES and the HEA and current chair of BASES Division of Physical Activity for Health and BASES Equality, Diversity and Inclusion champion.

More about Kiara

Dr Lewis Gough

Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Science

Lewis is the current research cluster lead for Sport Sciences for Health and Disease and is the Unit of Assessment lead for REF (Research Excellence Framework). He also holds editorial positions with BMC Nutrition and Frontiers in Sport and Active Living.

More about Lewis

Dr Cain Clark

Associate Professor (Life Sciences) and MRes Course Leader

Dr Clark is skilled in statistics and data analytics applied to public health, nutrition, and sports and exercise. Dr Clark is an experienced academic with an extensive portfolio of scholarly work, including publications, grant acquisition, and supervision. He has a strong interest in systematic reviews and meta-analyses, cluster analysis,...

More about Cain

Dr Peter Thain

Associate Professor and Course Leader for BSc (Hons) Sports Therapy

As a Chartered Physiotherapist and Sports Therapist, Peter has over a decade of experience working in basketball, football and netball. Peter successfully designed and validated the initial BSc (Hons) in Sports Therapy, and after three consecutive 100% student satisfaction scores in the National Student Survey, continues to lead the sports...

More about Peter