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Course length

1 year full time, 2 years part time


Durham City

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Course details

Our Physical Activity, Health, and Society programme examines the inequalities across physical activity, health and society. Our world-leading academics deliver the programme, offering a cutting-edge curriculum and building on our collaborative expertise in physical activity and sport inequalities and associated research methods.

The programme explores the vital role of physical activity in society, from policy and public health to the spaces and places which enhance, shape and curtail movement.

You'll benefit from working with experts in our Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences (World Top 100, QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022), the Department of Anthropology and across the wider University.

Course Structure

We’ve developed this programme to allow flexibility and choice together with academic rigour and coherence. Along with a dissertation, you’ll undertake three compulsory modules which will critically examine key challenges associated with physical activity to improve health and wellbeing, tackle health inequalities and social injustice.

Core content will include physical activity, health and inequalities, critical perspectives in exercise as medicine, and ethics in sporting policy and practice, along with a research dissertation.

You’ll select 2-3 further modules in advanced quantitative and qualitative research methods and analyses. Indicative content for these options include qualitative field study and ethnography, quantitative methods and analysis, advanced statistics, systematic review, data modelling and simulation.

You will also select 2-3 modules to explore in-depth and specific aspects of health as influenced by physical activity and wider social, anthropological and life sciences.


You’ll engage with material in a variety of ways, including extended seminars, lectures, laboratory practical sessions, workshops, field-based learning and tutorials. Postgraduate learning is also supported through learning technologies, including the University’s e-learning portal and in-class e-learning tools. Modules also allow directed reading and time for independent study and research.

Extended seminars are interactive in nature and enable you to engage with core programme topics to demonstrate advanced knowledge and understanding of critical approaches to physical activity and health, ethics in sport policy and practice, and the unequal and varied ways in which physical activity and sport is experienced.

Lectures allow for advanced comprehension of a practical need for ‘exercise as medicine’, alongside a complexity of factors such as access to facilities, physical activity engagement and sustained behaviour change for health.

You will also gain experience of practical skills through dedicated laboratory practical sessions related to ‘exercise as medicine’ and the development of exercise interventions and programmes.

A series of dissertation lectures and workshops will be spread across the academic year. This will enable you to make connections between learning from core and optional modules, consider principles of research design and enable understanding and application of ethical practice across the research process. Tutorials will subsequently support you through the process of engaging with your independent research project.

Research methods modules and the optional suite of modules will be delivered in a variety of ways as suited to the methodology and analysis under consideration.

Entry requirements

Normally a minimum 2:1 Honours degree from a UK institution (or the overseas equivalent) in a relevant subject is required. As an accessible and inclusive programme, this requirement may be waived for applicants with particularly high levels of relevant practical or professional experience. This will be assessed on a case-by-case basis by the DSES Programme Director and/or Admissions and Recruitment officer in collaboration with Anthropology, as appropriate.

We welcome international students to this programme of study and support for non-home students is well established at Durham University. English language requirements stipulate Band C, IELTS of at least 7.0 overall and with no component under 6.0 or equivalent scores in an alternative accepted English language test. Pre-sessional programmes are open to students who hold an offer for a Durham University degree programme. Programmes are suitable for both those who have narrowly missed their language condition and those with unconditional offers for their main programme. The Durham Centre for Academic Development currently offers both online and on-campus options for postgraduate taught students.

English language requirements

Fees and funding

Full Time Fees

Tuition fees
Home students £12,000 per year
EU students £24,500 per year
Island students £12,000 per year
International students £24,500 per year

Part Time Fees

Tuition fees
Home students £6,600 per year
EU students £13,500 per year
Island students £6,600 per year
International students £13,500 per year

The tuition fees shown are for one complete academic year of study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and Bursaries

We are committed to supporting the best students irrespective of financial circumstances and are delighted to offer a range of funding opportunities. 

Find out more about Scholarships and Bursaries

Career opportunities


Students with a postgraduate qualification in Anthropology pursue a diverse array of careers in areas such as conservation, tourism, public health, health research and management, captive primate care and zoological research management, local government research and management, education (secondary, further and higher), social care, social research, in addition to academia.

For further information on career options and employability, student and employer testimonials and details of work experience and study abroad opportunities, please visit our employability pages.

Sport and Exercise Sciences

We have a vibrant and diverse community of postgraduate students, comprising individuals from a range of international contexts and professional backgrounds. Our postgraduates work in, and across, disciplines including applied sport, sociology, psychology, anthropology, public health, political sciences, physiology and nutrition.

Department information


Anthropology at Durham is now one of the largest integrated anthropology departments in the UK, carrying out cutting-edge research across social and evolutionary anthropology, and the anthropology of health.

For more information see our department pages.


  • Top 30 in the QS World University Subject Rankings 2022
  • Top 5 in The Complete University Guide 2023


For a current list of staff, please see the Anthropology pages.

Research Excellence Framework

  • 45% of our research was rated as world-leading (REF 2021)


The Department of Anthropology hosts a range of state-of-the-art research facilities that are used and run by academic members of staff and their postgraduate students. Given our commitment to research-led teaching, undergraduates and taught postgraduates frequently conduct research projects using these facilities.

More information on our facilities and equipment.

Sport and Exercise Sciences

Durham University's Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences is a welcoming and vibrant community of world-leading academics, delivering a cutting-edge curriculum. Our taught programmes are consistently ranked in the top 10 best sport-related degrees in the country.

Our postgraduate student community is fully embedded into the academic and social life of the Department. We encourage you to be proactive members of our community and to develop your own experience. We strive to provide a supportive environment, working with students to personalise their training and career development. It is important to us that our postgraduate students contribute to developing the values and ethos of the Department. We encourage students to engage with wider activities and campaigns within the University and the local community, to form new and impactful partnerships, to volunteer, and to develop their wider interests alongside their studies.


  • Sports University of the Year in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023
  • 2nd in The Complete University Guide 2023
  • 7th in The Guardian University Guide 2023
  • 8th in The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2023

Research Excellence Framework

  • 10th in the UK overall
  • 100% of our submission was world-leading or internationally excellent


We work out of our lab facilities based within the £30 million purpose-built facility at Maiden Castle as well as our brand-new office and research space located at Green Lane. In the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences, we strive for excellence in research, teaching and the employability of our students.


Find out more:

Apply for a postgraduate course (including PGCE International) via our online portal.  

Visit Us

The best way to find out what Durham is really like is to come and see for yourself!

Join a Postgraduate Open Day
  • Date: 01/09/2023 - 31/08/2024
  • Time: 09:00 - 17:00
Find out more
Self-Guided Tours
  • Date: 01/09/2023 - 31/08/2024
  • Time: 09:00 - 16:00
Find out more

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