Master of Sport and Exercise Science by Research

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Master of Sport and Exercise Science by Research


Program summary

This program targets the development of research skills in sport and exercise science, in combination with skills required for specialist qualification as an accredited sport scientist (ESSA ASpS Level 1). Exercise and Sport Science Australia (ESSA), the national accreditation body for exercise and sport science disciplines, defines an Accredited Exercise Scientist (AES) as the base level of qualification in this discipline. The current Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science meets NUCAP AES competencies and will be the entry-level qualification (or equivalent) for this new Program. ESSA defines two specialist pathways, a clinical branch (the Bachelor of Clinical Exercise Science) and a branch for those seeking to specialise in sport and exercise science. This program is aligned to the latter. No current USC program meets the ESSA Sport Scientist accreditation (ASpS Level 1) requirements. Recent changes to national sport policies predicates that ESSA Sport Science accreditation is now required for employment with most Australian professional sports, all state institutes/academies of sport and/or by all Olympic/Paralympic sports. This new program will not only enhance graduate employability but will also contribute to USC research capacity by providing a stepping-stone for those wanting a research career in sport and exercise science. This Program will complement the USC High Performance Sport Project by providing enhanced opportunities for students in the Program to engage with USC’s high performance sport scientists, athletes and coaches.

Admission requirements

Applicants must have an undergraduate degree (AQF 7) in a NUCAP accredited Sport and Exercise Science or Human Movement degree or equivalent and a minimum GPA of 5 or higher, on a seven-point scale. Enrolment will also be subject to availability of appropriate supervisors and research industry placements.

Application and admission advice

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Contact Student Central
+61 7 5430 2890
Ground floor, Building C, Sippy Downs

What will I study

Program structure

To graduate from the Master of Sport and Exercise Science Program students are required to complete 192 units as outlined in the program structure:

Year 1:

SPX700 Advanced Research Methods for Sport and Exercise Science Part A
SPX701 Advanced Research Methods for Sport and Exercise Science Part B
A 48 unit Thesis component

Year 2:

A 96 unit Thesis Component, which combined with the 48 unit Thesis Component culminates in a 40,000 word thesis that will be submitted for external examination as per USC HDR policy.

Total units: 192

Recommended study sequence

This recommended study sequence ONLY represents the CURRENT program structure. Students in previous structures should use this sequence to inform order of courses and current course details. For courses in your commencing structure not included in the current sequence, search the course code for current course offerings and requisites.

How to apply

Step 1: Consider entry requirements

Review the admission requirements on the Why study this program tab of your chosen program.

Entry is highly competitive and depends on:

  • your academic background
  • your English language proficiency (if English is not your first language, see step 4)
  • the submission of a suitable research proposal
  • the availability of a registered supervisor
  • the availability of resources to support your proposed research topic

For further information, please refer to the Higher Degrees by Research Candidature – Procedures and the Higher Degrees by Research Admission and Enrolment – Guidelines which include admission pathways into specific higher degree by research programs.

Step 2: Find a supervisor

Use the Research Supervisor Search to find a potential supervisor in your area of research. You may nominate a supervisor on your application form regardless of whether you've been able to contact them prior to submitting your application.

Step 3: Complete an application form

Step 4: Prepare supporting documentation

  • Research Proposal. Download the Research proposal template (Word 13KB)
  • Evidence of academic background  
    • Academic transcripts and completion certificates (transcripts must include a Key to Grading) - Please note, for studies completed outside of Australia you must provide certified copies of documents
    • Formal notification from the qualifying university stating the allocation of marks to research component of a degree where not evident on the transcript
    • If transferring from another Australian university, a statement from your current/former university stating HDR candidature consumed to date, probationary or confirmed status, and tuition fee type
  • Evidence of research publications/experience
    • For example - Abstract (in English), details of publication, copy of the front page of the article/paper, link to article's location
  • Evidence of citizenship or Australian Permanent Residency
    • Birth certificate, passport, citizenship certificate, or visa
  • Evidence of English language proficiency (required for applicants who are not from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, South Africa, United Kingdom and United States of America)

Step 5: Submit completed application form

Please note incomplete applications cannot be processed:

  • Email an electronic copy of your application with scanned copies of supporting documents to
  • USC International requires hardcopies of original or certified copies of supporting documents before assessing overseas qualifications. Applicants must post their original or certified copies to:

Graduate Research Studies Management
Office of Research – ML 26
University of the Sunshine Coast
Locked Bag 4
Maroochydore DC Qld 4558 Australia

Additional information

  • International students: Additional information is available for International students.
  • Only complete applications will be considered (including original or certified copies of supporting documents for international applicants).
  • Complete applications take approximately 6-8 weeks to be processed (this may vary during peak periods).
  • Applications can be accepted at any time, however applications must be submitted at least 8 weeks prior to the nominated commencement date.

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