Research Degrees in

Musculoskeletal Science (incl. Movement Impairment and Sports Medicine & Elite Performance)

in the Faculty of Science & Engineering


Do you want to advance or change your career, deepen your expertise in a topic, or expand your research and practical skills?

With a PhD or other postgraduate research degree in the areas of Musculoskeletal Science you will:

  • Work with leading experts in the field. We have an international reputation for excellence in the investigation of human movement in health and disease from molecule to whole-body movement. In the latest national evaluation of research, 73% of our health research was rated as world-leading or internationally excellent (REF2014).
  • Develop research projects that have tangible benefits. We encourage research projects that deliver innovative diagnostic tools, novel therapies, new medical devices and innovative interventions that improve musculoskeletal health.
  • Choose from our flexible study pathways. You can pursue full- or part-time research on our MSc by Research, MPhil and PhD courses.
  • Join a thriving intellectual community. You will be a member of our new Musculoskeletal Science and Sport Medicine research centre, which carries out cutting-edge research to help understand the mechanisms that control human movement.
  • Benefit from our links with industry and practitioners. We work closely with clinicians, industry, sporting bodies and public health professionals to enhance the real-world impact of our research.
  • Make use of excellent research facilities. We have an extensive range of facilities to support your research, including an Histology Suite and Confocal Microscope. We continue to invest significant resources in this area, including developing a new Institute of Sport which will be situated by the Etihad Stadium in Manchester.
  • Undertake tailored personal and professional development training. We provide training in research methodologies and key transferable skills to equip you for careers in academia or in industry.

Apply now

Areas of supervisory expertise

We can supervise a wide range of projects within the field of Musculoskeletal Science. Particular specialist areas include:

  • Motor cognition and psychophysiology
  • Exercise and ageing physiology
  • Biomechanics and long-term conditions
  • Sports medicine and elite performance
  • Movement impairment, including clinical conditions such as diabetes, stroke, osteoarthritis, Parkinson’s, dystonia, myositis, muscular dystrophy and developmental coordination disorder.

Find out more about our staff's expertise

Research culture

Our research excellence lies in investigating clinical movement disorders and neuromuscular and skeletal ageing. We pride ourselves on our collaborative research, which crosses disciplines and institutions: biomechanists and physiologists collaborate to develop healthcare apps; physiologists work with psychologists to determine markers of healthy ageing; and motor cognition experts join with clinicians to develop rehabilitation interventions.

More about our research culture

We have a particular interest in sports medicine, which is enhanced by our location in the North West, a major sporting destination. Manchester is home to two of the nation’s most successful football teams, who have topped the Premier League 15 times in the last 25 years. The UK’s National Football Museum is based in Manchester, as are major sporting companies and major national organisations.

Postgraduate researchers are a core part of our research environment. You will be a member of our exciting new Musculoskeletal Science and Sports Medicine research centre, which has three primary themes: movement impairment; musculoskeletal function in health and ageing; sports medicine and elite performance. This new centre is committed to developing innovative research projects and strategic partnerships in Manchester and beyond.

You will also benefit from a wide range of academic and industry events held at Manchester Met, including a Postgraduate Annual Symposium run by the Faculty of Science and Engineering for postgraduate researchers.

Courses offered, duration, and start dates

Programmes offered

  • PhD (3 years full time, 6 years part time)
  • PhD by Published Work or Professional Practice (course duration varies by route taken and candidate's background)
  • Master's by Research (1 year full time, 2 years part time)
  • MPhil (18 months full time, 36 months part time).

Find out more about the different research degrees we offer

Start dates

The majority of our students enrol in October. We offer further enrolment points in January, April and July.

Distance learning

Research degrees are available to study on-campus or through distance learning.

Career prospects

You will develop higher-level technical and research skills, which equip you to pursue careers in academia, the clinical professions, national and international government organisations, the pharmaceutical industries, and biotechnology companies.

Course structure

This course is research based. You will independently conduct research into your own topic or a topic that we advertise. Your supervisory team will offer expert guidance throughout your studies and review work in progress.

Each year, you will follow a programme of training and development to enhance your research methods, subject-matter expertise and professional skills.

Fees and funding

Find out more

Postgraduate Research Degrees Fees

Please refer to our Fees page for more information on tuition fees.

Loans for research degrees

Many of our PhD and Professional Doctorate programmes are eligible for the government's Doctoral Loan Scheme. MPhil and MA/MSc by Research degrees are eligible for a Postgraduate Loan.

Find out more about tuition fees and financial support


Each year we offer a number of competitive scholarships to support high quality research projects. Current scholarship opportunities in Musculoskeletal Science are advertised on our site.

Sign up to be notified when relevant scholarships are advertised

Entry requirements

Find out more

You should, as a minimum, have a first or 2.1 honours degree or an equivalent qualification.

International students must demonstrate a sufficiently high standard of English language ability.

We welcome interest from applicants from non-standard backgrounds. We will take subject knowledge, professional experience, publications, or other appropriate evidence of accomplishment into consideration.

See more about our standard entry requirements.


Before applying for a research degree, you should have a preliminary discussion with a member of staff about your project and ideas. To arrange this, please email Dr Fiona Wilkinson,, the Research Degrees Co-ordinator for the Department of Life Sciences.

For further information on the application process, contact the Admissions team, +44 (0)161 247 2966

How to apply

Apply now

The quickest and most efficient way to apply for this course is to apply online using the link below. This way, you can also track your application at each stage of the process.

Before you apply, you should discuss your project with a member of academic staff. You should also complete the Postgraduate Research Degree Supplementary Information form which you will then upload to the ‘Student documents’ section of the application form. This collects key information about your research application and there may be delays if you do not submit this document.

Please note: The list of programmes on the 'Apply now' page uses the legacy heading 'Cognitive and Motor Function'. This is an internal heading used in our Admissions system.

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Postgraduate Study