Birkbeck, University of London Featured PhD Programmes
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University of Kent Featured PhD Programmes
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The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Featured PhD Programmes

Psychological, Physiological, and Behavioural Responses to Stress

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

By its very nature, sport and physical activity can be very stressful. How an individual responds to these demands, and whether they appraise this stress as challenging or threatening can influence whether they excel or fall to pieces in such situations. This PhD project will investigate the psychological, physiological, and behavioural responses to stress.

Supervised by Dr Sarah Williams ( the PhD will involve planning and carrying out a series of studies that investigate the effects stress appraisal has on responses to stress and establish intervention techniques to facilitate coping and successful performance. The successful candidate will use a variety of multi-disciplinary techniques to investigate responses to stress and anxiety (e.g., questionnaires, ECG, impedance cardiography, performance analysis). Consequently, they will receive training on how to collect data using various methods. The targeted population(s) and specific measures used has been left open and will be determined by the successful candidate according to their particular interests. Previous experience with any of these systems would be an advantage, but expertise in these areas is not expected at this stage. However, irrespective of your background, the successful candidate would be expected to develop new skills and techniques in this multi-disciplinary approach. To discuss this project further, please contact Dr Sarah Williams ().

The School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences is one of the longest established in Europe for scientific research into sport, exercise, health and rehabilitation. Thanks to a £16.4 million investment, the School is one of the largest custom built Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences facility in the UK. Facilities include teaching and research laboratories for physiology, biochemistry, psychophysiology, biomechanics, sport psychology, motor skills, immunology, muscle mechanics and the neurophysiology of movement. Research conducted in the school uses sport, physical activity, health and rehabilitation from a range of perspectives that address current issues in the field through our three research themes: 1) Sport Performance, Policy, and Education 2) Exercise, Medicine and Health, 3) Human Movement and Rehabilitation. This research was recognised in the last Research Excellence Framework (REF; 2014), with 90 per cent if its research classified as world leading or internationally excellent.

For more information on our Phd programme and how to apply see


To find out more about studying for a PhD at the University of Birmingham, including full details of the research undertaken in each school, the funding opportunities for each subject, and guidance on making your application, you can now order your copy of the new Doctoral Research Prospectus, at:

Funding Notes

Applications from home, EU and overseas students are welcome.

The University of Birmingham offers students of the highest calibre the opportunity to compete for a number of international scholarships. For a full list, see View Website

Students are also welcome to apply with their own funding for this project (fees and maintenance), either through their own personal finances or by securing a scholarship.

Eligibility requirements include a 2:1 BSc (Hons) degree in Sport and Exercise Sciences or Psychology or a relevant area, and an English language certificate (English at GCSE or equivalent). A masters level degree is desirable but not essential.

How good is research at University of Birmingham in Sport and Exercise Sciences, Leisure and Tourism?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 34.40

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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