School of Sport and Exercise Science

Performance sports, exercise and physical activity play an essential part in modern life. Not only do they improve our health and wellbeing but they can help provide a sense of community. Our sports teams comprise of amateur and professional athletes who work with students and industry partners. Through collaboration and learning our sports team can help you reach your full potential. 

Undergraduate courses

Postgraduate courses

Join a strong sporting community

As enthusiasm for sports continues to rise, and the business of sport becomes ever more global and lucrative, there has never been a better time to study, participate or work in sports. Whether you are interested in sport performance, participating in physical activity, recreational sport, or studying with us, our teaching team along with our Sport and Physical Activity team will support you to develop your skills, knowledge and sporting ability.

Here at Derby, we have a strong sporting community driven by achieving excellence in all that we do. We facilitate innovative and impactful teaching, research, and commercial activities through our academic and student team, who are highly skilled, with accredited practitioners and internationally renowned researchers. Our sport and exercise scientists use their in-depth knowledge of scientific principles to help athletes achieve superior performance and prevent injuries, as well as improving general physical activity and health through exercise.   

We also work with professional bodies and collaborate with industry and other institutions, such as The British Association of Sport and Exercise Science (BASES), University of Valenica, Nuffield and FIFA, which has led to a wide range of excellent partnerships and increased our level of impact both nationally and internationally.  

A student working at Derby County Football Club
Students explore many different aspects of Sport Management whilst undertaking placements at Derby County Football Club.

Our courses

From undergraduate level right the way through to professional doctorates, we engage with industry and ensure impact through our applied provision. Our industry-informed and student-led approach, combined with our wide knowledge and skill set in a broad spectrum of areas within health and performance, drive industry standards and promote development, transition and independence. This creates a vibrant, exciting and inclusive place for our students to learn and allows our graduates to make a real impact in the health and sporting world.

We provide students the opportunity to apply their skills and knowledge through their studies as they gain experience with sporting organisations like FIFA, Derby County Football Club, Cycle Derby Special Olympics, Youth Sport Trust, the Golf Foundation, England Basketball, and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), and UK Coaching. This allows staff and students to get involved in a range of activities linked to performance analysis, sport rehabilitation, coaching development and educational practice, along with many other areas.

Excellent Facilities

Our Sports Centre and specialist sport science facilities include our physiology laboratories, multiple sport therapy suites (including sport therapy clinic), a centre for performance analysis and coaching, a strength and conditioning facility, and a performance suite for biomechanics. It also houses our Human Performance Unit (HPU) which delivers sport science support services to assist professional and amateur athletes to improve their performance, health and wellbeing.  

We also run a HPU Partner Support Programme that offers a range of services including physical data testing, pre-season testing and support for athletes and teams from grassroots to elite level performance. We are currently working with a range of sports teams and individuals including: British Cycling, Burton Albion, England Futsal, and Sandy Ryan (WBO Women's World Welterweight Champion).

Two students carrying out a cycling test in the HPU
Students carrying out research in our Human Performance Unit.

Our research

We deliver world-class biomedical and clinical research that promotes and supports healthier living and wellbeing, while providing solutions to chronic conditions and global health challenges such as cancer, long-Covid and pneumonia. As well as exploring performance, rehabilitation and recovery for patients. Through this we are growing our reputation for unlocking human potential. 

Within our research clusters, we have an interdisciplinary team working across research fields to bring people and communities together and excite a lifelong passion for sport, exercise and health.
Our staff are actively involved in high quality research, undertaking influential studies that are breaking new ground in their disciplines. Our Physical Activity researchers have worked with national organisations including on the UK Chief Medical Officers’ Physical Activity Guidelines, NICE Guidelines, Moving Medicine and BASES. They have also linked with industry partners like Move More Derby, Active Derbyshire and Digibete

On the Sports Performance side, the team work with governing bodies of elite sports, such as the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA), British Cycling, British Wheelchair Rugby, British Canoeing, the English, Welsh and Danish Football Associations, and My Energy Game. Our teams also work with several professional sports teams, such as Burton Albion FC, Leicester City FC, GB Cycling and Derbyshire County Cricket. 

Research topics include: 

Find out more about our research