A PhD in Exercise, Nutrition and Health equips students with the skills and experience to apply research methods and the tools to critically examine some of the most pressing contemporary issues and problems being experienced in physical activity and/or nutrition research, practice and/or policy.

Students are encouraged to develop a topic of interest that directly relates to their own background or practice experiences, or is of wider interest and relevance to the science underpinning the promotion and maintenance of health of populations, via physical activity and/or nutrition, either in UK nations or overseas.

Students will be supported to develop research questions and design a study that enables them to rigorously research their topic of interest and make an original contribution to the knowledge base of physical activity and/or nutrition in relation to public health. Topics may directly explore policy or practice issues, or contribute more broadly to physical activity and nutrition knowledge, working with specific population groups and communities, addressing systems of inequality and social disadvantage. Where appropriate, students are encouraged to work in collaboration with relevant organisations and/or user and interest groups to ensure their research outputs and key findings can directly inform policy, professional development, practice and service delivery.

Supervisors in Exercise, Nutrition and Health bring diverse interests across epidemiology (for example, associations between physical activity/diet and a range of chronic diseases across population groups); physical activity and dietary assessment (for example, development of indices to assess adherence to dietary patterns); the development and evaluation of physical activity and dietary interventions and/or services (for example, community programmes, school settings); and behaviour change (including the wider determinants of physical activity and diet and the psychological underpinnings of physical activity, nutrition and health).

Supervisors also have diverse expertise in research methods, such as qualitative methods (for example, informing and evaluating the development of interventions or service delivery); secondary data analysis (for example, using nationally representative population surveys and large prospective studies/big data); and scoping and systematic reviews and meta-analyses of the evidence base in physical activity and nutrition.

The school is an exciting environment for graduate studies, and PhD students become an integral part of our research community; we welcome graduate students from the UK and abroad to join our diverse and highly-rated research team.

Entry requirements

An upper second-class honours degree and a pass at MSc/MA level (or equivalent experience/qualification).

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.

Go to admissions statement

If English is not your first language, you will need to reach the requirements outlined in our profile level C.

Further information about English language requirements and profile levels.

Fees and funding

UK: full-time
£4,758 per year
UK: part-time
£2,379 per year
Overseas: full-time
£20,700 per year

Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to an 8% increase in fees each year.

More about tuition fees, living costs and financial support.

Alumni discount

University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a 25% reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni discount.

Funding for 2024/25

The Faculty of Social Sciences and Law has an allocation of 1+3 and +3 ESRC SWDTP scholarships. Applicants may also be interested in applying for funding from the University of Bristol scholarship fund and alumni PhD scholarship fund.

Further information on funding for prospective UK and international postgraduate students.

Career prospects

The PhD in Exercise, Nutrition and Health establishes a sound research training base and provides practical experience, preparing you for different types of employment, including research, policy and intervention implementation.

Many of our students have continued with academic careers, either as post-doctoral researchers or as research associates in UK and international universities. Other students have been successful in a range of fields, including government policy and health promotion at a local, national and international level.

Meet our supervisors

The following list shows potential supervisors for this programme. Visit their profiles for details of their research and expertise.


Research groups

Staff in the Centre for Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences conduct research that focuses on physical activity and nutrition, and their associations with health across the lifespan. The primary areas of focus include biomedical, psychosocial and socio-environmental aspects of physical activity, sedentary behaviour and nutrition.

Contact us


Postgraduate Senior Admissions Administrator

+44 (0) 117 954 6785