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Sport and Exercise Psychology Prof Doc

On completion of the Professional Doctorate in Sport and Exercise Psychology, you'll hold a doctoral degree and can apply to register with the Health and Care Professions Council as a Practitioner Psychologist.

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This course was the first Professional Doctorate in Sport and Exercise Psychology to be approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). On completion of this course you will hold a doctoral degree and be eligible to apply to register with the Health and Care Professions Council as a Practitioner Psychologist.

The course offers a unique blended learning opportunity for those who wish to achieve both the highest level of academic degree and vocational qualification to practice as a psychologist within the sport and exercise domain. Holding these dual qualifications is increasingly important for both career and professional development in the field of sport and exercise psychology.

Applications are welcome until the final week of May each year, after which we complete a shortlisting process and run assessment centres in June. We welcome applications from students who are currently completing one of the pre-requisite degrees for eligibility.

Health & Care Professions Council

Approved by:

This course is approved by the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) for the purpose of eligibility for entry to the HCPC register as a practitioner psychologist.

Contact Information

Postgraduate Research – Science

Contact Information

What you'll experience

On this course you will:

  • Gain advanced research skills through the completion of a doctoral level programme of research
  • Be supervised by BPS Chartered Sport and Exercise Psychologists, Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) Registered Psychologists, and British Association of Sport and Exercise Scientists (BASES), Accredited Sport and Exercise Scientists. All supervisors are experienced researcher-practitioners with extensive applied experience
  • Develop advanced ethical, communication, and consultancy competencies in applied sport and exercise psychology practice

Benefits of a Prof Doc in Sports and Exercise Psychology

Specific careers directly related to this qualification include becoming an applied practitioner, researcher, or lecturer in sport and/or exercise psychology. Applied practitioners tend to be self employed or employed by national governing bodies, sport institutes, or private sport organisations.

Researchers tend to be employed by commercial companies and academic institutions. Lecturers in this field are employed by further and higher educational establishments.

You will not only be qualified for a career in applied sport and exercise psychology, but also in sports and exercise science, and management roles within the world of sport, for example, national governing bodies. Alternatively, given the range of general employability skills developed throughout the course, you could also go on to a variety of careers in other sectors, for example, business, the police and the armed services.

Structure and teaching

This course contains three core units:

  • Publication and Dissemination (30 credits)
  • Proposal for Professional Research and Development (30 credits)
  • Professional Research and Development Project in Sport and Exercise Psychology (360 credits)

These units are made up of component parts and are assessed through portfolio work, presentation, and viva voce examination.

Changes to course content

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry. If a module doesn't run, we'll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

Teaching and assessment

You will be assigned a main supervisor who will be supported by team of up to three additional supervisors. Your supervisors will be aligned with your practice and research development needs.

You'll receive weekly individual supervision on your practice or research development and monthly group supervision. There are further opportunities to attend research seminars and workshops organised by the University's Graduate School.

Teaching staff

These are some of the expert staff who'll teach you on this course:

Christopher Robert David Wagstaff Portrait

Professor Chris Wagstaff

Professor of Applied Psychology

School of Sport, Health, and Exercise Science

Faculty of Science and Health

PhD Supervisor

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Richard Charles Thelwell Portrait

Professor Richard Thelwell

Interim Executive Dean

School of Sport, Health, and Exercise Science

Faculty of Science and Health

PhD Supervisor

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How you're assessed

The Professional Doctorate consists of coursework and research and is credit based. The coursework component is designed to help build on professional expertise by exposing students to challenging and innovative ideas in their field.

Assessment is by thesis submission, after which you'll deliver a presentation on your development and complete a viva voce examination. The thesis incorporates a log of hours, practice reflections, four case studies or professional practice articles, two empirical research articles, and a reflective epilogue.

Entry requirements

An upper second-class honours degree or conversion course in Psychology or Sport and Exercise Psychology which confers Graduate Basis for Chartered status (GBC), and a BPS accredited masters degree which confers Stage I of the BPS Qualification in Sport and Exercise Psychology. Should an applicant not have completed these prior degrees, it is possible that they could complete these pre-requisites within the department before progressing onto the Professional Doctorate. All applicants will be invited to attend an interview. All offers are subject to Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance.

English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 7.0 with no component score below 6.5.

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Course costs and funding

Tuition fees (October 2024 start)

*All fees are subject to annual increase

  • Full-time: £6,800*
  • Part-time: £3,400 p/a*

Students on this course are eligible for the Government Doctoral Loan.

Students on this course are eligible for the Government Doctoral Loan.

  • Full-time: £17,200*
  • Part-time: £8,600 p/a*

Students on this course are eligible for the Government Doctoral Loan.


Before you start your application, you'll need to have the following documentation ready:

  • A personal statement explaining your suitability and motivation to become a Practitioner Psychologist
  • Proof of your first degree and grades (officially certified and translated copies if not in English)
  • Proof of a relevant postgraduate degree with at least 60 credits having been completed
  • Details of 2 referees or 2 references on official headed paper, one of which should ideally be an academic reference
  • Proof of your English language proficiency (if English is not your first language)
  • An up-to-date copy of your CV
  • A 5-page research proposal comprising approximately 3-pages of literature review and 2-pages outlining the design and methods for two connected empirical research studies you will undertake. Please carefully review current staff research profiles in preparation of this proposal

Then use the relevant application form below:

Ready to apply?

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.