School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences

Masters study

A group of three students and a teacher standing around the end of a bed, with the student on the right holding an ultrasound wand against the leg of a person lying on the bed, mostly out of shot.

Develop your knowledge and skills

In recent years public health has grown to focus on the fitness and wellbeing of the wider population.

From the health risks linked to obesity, to the connections between mental health and activity in green spaces, exercise and rehabilitation are key areas of public health.

As a result there is a growing need for trained professionals who understand the scientific underpinnings of sport, exercise and health. Whether you want to focus your career on coaching, or want to study our pre-registration physiotherapy degree, we’ll give you the skills and support to become an expert practitioner in your field.

In a competitive job market a Masters degree in your chosen area can help you stand out by taking your skills to the next level through an advanced programme of study. It can also help if you are thinking of taking on a more specialised role within your field, or if you are contemplating a career change.

Our research is closely linked to the modules that make up our courses, which are taught by expert staff who have extensive experience in their fields. From physiotherapy practitioners to coaches who have worked with elite athletes, you will benefit from the collective professional experiences of your module leaders.

We also offer Continuing Professional Development modules and courses for healthcare staff who wish to enhance their professional experience and specialise in musculoskeletal practice.


Explore our Masters courses
Why choose us?
  • Small class groups enable our staff to provide tailored support, offering individual mentoring throughout your studies
  • Flexible and specialised Continuing Professional Development pathways available in Musculoskeletal assessment, practice and sonography
  • Access to the Human Performance Unit (HPU) with the centre for Sports Science Support and Physiological Testing at the University of Essex 

What can we do for you?

Part-time options

Many of our PGT candidates are undertaking further study in order to develop their career. A promotion to a particular role may require the specialist knowledge that a Masters degree gives you, or you may want to work towards a clinical role that needs an additional period of study.

However, a full-time degree is a significant time investment, and it can be hard to balance it around work and life commitments.

As a result we offer many of our postgraduate degrees with a part-time option. This extends your period of study to two years, so you don’t need to commit to studying full time. You will take half your normal modules in your first year, and carry out the other half as well as writing your research project in your second year. You will still be taught by the same expert staff, and have access to the same facilities as full time students.

Explore our part-time Masters courses

Range of qualifications

Our taught Postgraduate qualifications range from Postgraduate Certificate through to a Master of Science.

These qualifications involve different time commitments. If you want to improve your skills and evidence further learning, without undertaking a Masters degree, then a Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate Diploma can be an excellent way to gain a qualification in a specialist area. They can also help you progress towards a Masters or a research degree, by helping you become familiar with further study and research.

Some of our Masters degrees are accredited by relevant professional bodies. Accreditation is a sign that our courses have been tested against a robust set of external criteria, and undertaking an accredited degree can help towards recognition as a chartered professional in a relevant field.

Specialist modules

Our Postgraduate modules focus on some of the key areas of health and fitness.

Modules include the Biomechanics of Locomotion, Physical Activity and Wellbeing, Performance Nutrition, and Disability, Sport and Social Change.

Through these specialist modules you will gain knowledge and experience in areas which are increasingly important as people become more aware of the need for diversity, mental health, and non-traditional routes in to sport and exercise.

Change of direction

Depending on the MSc you’re thinking of studying, you may not need to have an undergraduate sports science degree. Some of our Postgraduate Taught degrees accept applications from candidates with undergraduate degrees in relevant areas such as human biology, psychology, or life sciences.

In particular our MSc Physiotherapy (pre-registration) is an intensive two year degree that allows you to graduate as a qualified physiotherapist. It is suitable for those who have already completed undergraduate study in a relevant area, and are looking for a career change without needing to undertake another three-year Bachelor’s degree.

Leading research

Research in our School is split in to three key areas; Health, Exercise and Active Lifestyle, Development of Young People Through Sport, and Sports Performance

Our research feeds into our teaching, so you benefit from the latest insights in our fields of expertise. We carry out projects funded by a range of bodies and organisations, and engage with athletes and community groups to ensure our work has impact.

Many of our academics also carry out interdisciplinary research with colleagues in departments across the wider University, including the Department of Psychology, the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering, and the School of Health and Social Care.

Expert staff

Staff in our School are experts in their areas of research, and have backgrounds and professional experience as rehabilitation practitioners or sports science consultants.

Our academics are members of one or more research groups in our School, where they collaborate on a range of projects and supervise postgraduate research students. Throughout the year we invite external experts to deliver research seminars or specialist workshops, so you have access to ideas and research from other institutions.

Our staff have extensive professional experience. They have attended the Olympic Games, World Championships, European Championships and the Commonwealth Games in sports science and sports medicine support capacities, and other team members currently work at national and international level in various sports. Our physiotherapy leaders have worked for a range of health providers including the NHS and private clinics, giving them broad experience with a range of diverse clients.

Vibrant research community

We have an international reputation for outstanding quality research and postgraduate training. By studying with us you will join a thriving community of taught Masters and postgraduate research students that provides an active and stimulating environment in which to learn and carry out research.

You will be taught and supervised by our world-class team of academic staff who have a wide variety of research interests, and who have been funded by a range of prestigious bodies such as Rugby Football Union, Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), World Anti-Doping Agency, and International Olympic Committee. You will also be able to attend SRES research seminars where guest speakers from across the industry are invited to present and discuss their work.

Continuing Professional Development pathways

With the ever-evolving nature of health-based industries, we know how important it is to keep your professional practice up to date. We’ve created a system of flexible Continuing Professional Development opportunities to ensure musculoskeletal practitioners can acquire additional skills, qualifications and training in a structure and time-frame that suits them.

We offer modules that can be studied alone or as part of a pathway, which are available at Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or as an MSc degree. Some teaching is carried out online, so you can fit studying around employment.

Professional backgrounds of students include but are not restricted to: physiotherapist, sonographer, rheumatologist, general practitioner, sports physician, and nurse specialised in rheumatology.

View our CPD courses

Enhanced skills

Compared to your undergraduate degree, a Masters degree has a greater emphasis on self-directed work and learning. With the guidance of our expert staff, you will learn how to carry out in-depth analysis and critical evaluations of the current research literature, and undertake your own independent research including experiment design and data management.

You will gain a greater theoretical understanding of different aspects of sport science and rehabilitation, as well as enhanced practical and clinical skills through sessions in our labs, and small group workshops.

You will complete your degree with a set of advanced skills that will set you up for specialist roles in your field of expertise, or help you take the next steps towards further professional qualifications.

Master of Science by Dissertation (MSD)

If you are thinking of taking a PhD in the future, then an MSc by Dissertation (MSD) may be for you.

This research degree is one year full time (two years part-time) and involves you carrying out independent research in an area chosen with your supervisor. You will write up your results in a thesis of approximately 30,000 words, and will discuss it in an oral exam known as a viva.

The MSD can be taken as a stand-alone degree to show that you have developed further research skills beyond your undergraduate degree. It can also be used as a stepping stone in to a PhD. If your research is progressing well and there are opportunities to develop it further then you may be able to “upgrade” to a PhD with Essex, or you can use it as evidence of research experience when applying for further study elsewhere.

Explore our MSD courses
Dr Sue Innes using an ultrasound to check a patients arm.
Continuing Professional Development

Are you a clinician in the musculoskeletal field who wants to advance their practice? Do you want to access musculoskeletal ultrasound imaging? Our CPD pathways allow you to do just that!

Find out more

Applying for physiotherapy

How much do I know about the course?

It's important to us that you know what you're signing up for. We'd expect that you've read our course pages carefully, and have done plenty of research about both life at Essex and the careers associated with our courses.

Working in health can be highly rewarding, but like any sector it also comes with challenges. It's important that you have an awareness of these challenges, and are up to speed with current issues. 

How can I demonstrate I have what it takes?

You'll notice that many of our courses are underpinned by the NHS Constitution, as well as our own Essex values. The NHS Constitution is an important document which establishes the principles and values of the NHS in England.

This document very clearly explains that the patient is at the heart of everything the NHS does. We take this commitment seriously, and so are looking for people who have the potential to be future healthcare superstars.

If you are applying for a physiotherapy course, in your application you will need to briefly explain how you currently demonstrate these values.

My course requires an interview. What can I do to prepare?

For many people, the idea of being interviewed is quite daunting. There's no need to panic. We're on your side.

We aim to use the interview process to get to know you and to find out your plans for the future. Our interview panels are made up of current staff and students, service users, and local placement partners. Many of the panel will have been through a similar process at some point in their career, so they'll appreciate you'll probably be feeling nervous. Try to relax (as best as you can) and think of it more as a discussion with colleagues about why you'd like to join us.

As part of our interview process, many of our courses require you to undertake English and Maths tests so you can demonstrate that you have a basic level of literacy and numeracy. For courses with professional accreditation, the regulatory bodies will often set the standards for us.  You can find out if your course requires and English and Maths test by looking at our entry requirements on our course pages.

If you have a documented educational need, then you may be entitled to specific access arrangements for the literacy and numeracy tests. If you think that this applies to you, please contact our admissions team as soon as possible.

My course requires an English and/or Maths test. What do I need to revise?


The literacy test will assess your reading and writing skills.  A variety of questions will cover the following areas:


  • Spelling
  • Grammar and syntax
  • Presenting information in a logical sequence
  • Vocabulary
  • Punctuation
  • Common prefixes
  • Free writing 


  • Proofreading
  • Comprehension
  • Fact or opinion?


The numeracy test will assess your ability to apply number, to use measurements and to handle data.  Calculators can be used.  You will be given a total of 45 minutes in which to complete both tests.  Question topics will include:


  • Addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division
  • Fractions, decimals and percentages -  calculations, conversions and equivalencies


  • Time, weight, distance, volume, money and conversion of units

Handling data

  • Extracting information from tables, diagrams, charts or graphs.

Feeling anxious about your numeracy or literacy skills?  Don't worry, once you are here, we have lots of support in place from our Student Support Services.

Does the university have practise tests I can do?

There are numerous resources you can use;

Literacy and numeracy practice tests (useful for all disciplines):



Mobile apps

There are a number of apps that can help you to develop your literacy and numeracy skills. The following are all free to use. In-app purchases are possible, but are neither required nor endorsed by the University of Essex, and the University cannot answer any queries relating to their use.

  • Elevate
  • Learndirect

Covid vaccination and your course

As you may be aware, the UK Government revoked legislation in 2022 that required all health and social care staff working in sites regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in England to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

This legislation would have applied to all students undertaking practice placements in affected settings during the course of their studies on any healthcare programme. However, this is no longer the case.

We continue to encourage applicants to be vaccinated before their arrival with us to protect themselves, their friends and families, their classmates, our staff, and those they will be working with on placement. Some placement providers have indicated that they still require students on placement to be vaccinated for their own and others safety. 

In our School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences, this includes students on the following courses:

  • BSc Physiotherapy
  • MSc Physiotherapy

Support and information is available to help make decisions about COVID-19 vaccination. You can also find helpful and up to date information regarding vaccination requirements on the NHS Employers website.

Thank you for your understanding and co-operation with this matter.

Applying for other courses

If you apply for a Sports-related degree programme at Essex (Sports and Exercise Science; Sports Performance and Coaching; Sports Therapy), you may be invited to interview.

This provides you with an opportunity to visit the University, have a tour of the campus and our School, receive more information about the degrees, and talk to both staff and students. The interview itself allows you to ask questions as well, so you can be confident that Essex is the right university for you.

We look forward to welcoming you to our School so that we can share our passion for Sport, Exercise and Health.

Athlete training at the Human Performance Unit
Sports scholarships and bursaries

The University of Essex is committed to supporting and developing high performance athletes. Find out whether you could be eligible for a sports scholarship or bursary, plus a range of additional benefits too when you join the University of Essex.

Explore the full offer