Research Degree (PhD) | AECC University College

Course - PhD

Research Degree (PhD)


Make a lasting impact on the healthcare of tomorrow by undertaking your own original research, supervised by experienced leading healthcare professionals.

Student studying
Course Title Research Degree (PhD)
Qualification MPhil/PhD
Study Mode Full-time / part-time
Typical Offer First or Upper Second Class Honours Degree and/or Master's Degree
Duration MPhil: 1.5 - 2 years Full-time or 3 - 4 years Part-time / PhD: 2 - 3 years Full-time or 4 - 6 years Part-time
Start Date October Entry
Location Parkwood Campus - combination of attendance and distance learning


Do you have a proposal for research that could make an original contribution to healthcare knowledge and go on to improve the health of our society?

Our Research Degree (PHD), offered in partnership with and awarded by Solent University, could be your opportunity to undertake valuable original research, supported by our experienced academic team.

Your proposal should fit at least one of our four research themes: health innovation and improvement; rehabilitation science; health professions, education and practice; and healthy ageing and wellbeing.

Choosing to undertake your PhD with us means you’ll experience the many benefits of being part of a specialist health sciences university. We train a wide range of health-related professionals and, uniquely, provide multiple clinical services. Our students have access to highly specialised on-site facilities, such as our Integrated Rehabilitation Centre and Open Upright MRI, within which a range of health-related research is embedded. Our experienced staff will become your supervisory team and support your research, training and academic development.

Course Details



Why study for a Research Degree at AECC University College?

Supported by the internationally recognised anatomy and pathophysiology expertise here at AECC University College, you’ll develop the skills required of exercise science and rehabilitation practitioners, combining an evidence-based approach to injury rehabilitation, mobility, sports performance, disease management and behaviour change. You will focus on course elements such as the implementation of exercise and physical activity interventions to enhance health across diverse communities, with varying physical capacities and diseases.

During your degree you’ll not only have access to our wide range of teaching facilities but our world-class academic staff too. All BSc (Hons) Clinical Exercise and Rehabilitation Science students have the opportunity to get experience in a range of places including AECC University College Chiropractic Clinic, making use of our specialised clinical imaging facilities, and coming face to face with real human anatomy at our dedicated prosection facility.

Focused Health Research

We have an internationally recognised team of researchers in many health-related subject areas including musculoskeletal health, medical imaging, rehabilitation, health promotion, psychology and sport with emerging areas reflecting the human/digital health interface.


We are a specialist health sciences University and our research strategy reflects our goal to position ourselves as a first-choice partner for research and innovation in the health sciences. We are keen to attract those interested in helping us reach that goal.

Great Facilities

Our campus has two large clinics serving our local community including an established musculoskeletal condition focused clinic seeing around 1000 patients per week and our new Integrated Rehabilitation Centre. This patient base provides a valuable resource for clinical studies and service evaluations combining research, health education and health provision all on one site.

Close-knit Community

Our campus is a close-knit University, with a well-connected and integrated community of students, academic and clinical staff. This encourages great research ideas. We have professional links with our local health care community and have a network of researchers we collaborate with both nationally and internationally.

Natural beauty and well connected

AECC University College is situated on the south coast of England and is a 5-minute walk from the beautiful beaches of Bournemouth. We are close to two national parks and the world heritage site of the Jurassic Coast. We are a 2-hour train ride from London with two international airports (Bournemouth and Southampton) less than 20 miles away.

Key Research Areas

Find our latest research taking places in our academic schools.

If you’re passionate about generating knowledge and innovation that impacts the healthcare of tomorrow, our Research Degree programme provides the opportunity to undertake original research related to health sciences.

Your proposal must fit at least one of our four research themes:

  • Health innovation and improvement
  • Rehabilitation Science
  • Health professions, education and practice
  • Healthy Ageing and Wellbeing

As a specialist health sciences university we train a wide range of health-related professionals and uniquely also provide multiple clinical services. These are both private or in partnership with the NHS and independent health care sector, with access to highly specialised facilities such as our Integrated Rehabilitation Centre and Open Upright MRI within which a range of health-related research is embedded.

Our experienced staff will become your supervisory team and support your research, training and academic development.

Assessment Process

There will be ongoing monitoring of progress through regular meetings with the coordinating supervisor and the wider supervisory team.

The major progression points are a transfer from MPhil to PhD as outlined in the programme regulations and student handbook and a final PhD viva voce exam after submission of the PhD thesis.

Expected Learning

During the first year of the programme there will be a requirement for candidates to complete a PGCert in Research Methods which will include attending a number of sessions at our validating partner institution, Solent University.

This is designed to bring all candidates up to a minimum standard with research methods and is there to provide basic research skills that serve as a spring board for higher level research skills development underpinning your PhD.

Your studies will be centred at AECC University College, with your supervisory team agreeing key degree milestones as laid out by the AECC University College regulations and student handbook.

Structure of Study

The MPhil/PhD will be predominately autonomous learning, with guidance and support from your PhD supervisory team on-site.


Course Leader

Professor Dave Newell

BSc, PgCert, PhD, FRCC (Hon), FEAC - Professor of Integrated Musculoskeletal Care and AECC University College Doctoral Coordinator

Full bio

Entry Requirements

How do I apply?

How do I apply?

All applicants can apply to enrol on our MPhil/PhD programme. Students will initially register for MPhil with possibility of transfer to PhD, on satisfactory completion of all applicable monitoring requirements as presented in the Postgraduate Research Handbook.

Applications may be submitted at any point during the year with one entry point in October of any year. To be considered for October, completed applications must be received by the second Friday in May of the same calendar year.

For general questions on Postgraduate Research Degree entry requirements or to register your interest in the course please use the contact form below.

What qualifications do I need?

What qualifications do I need?

Applicants should hold a First or Upper Second-Class (1st or 2:1) Honours and/or Master’s degree from a UK University, or equivalent non-UK qualification: or other equivalent qualification, publications and/or appropriate professional training and experiences as judged by AECC University College.

How do I apply?

How do I apply?

Applications for the Postgraduate Research Degree are now open, please follow the link above to our online application system.

From there, you will need to apply for the full-time or part-time degree.

If you’re unsure about anything listed here, contact our Admissions team via the form at the bottom of this page, or call us on 01202 436200 and they’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.

For more information about our admissions policies and procedures, including our Admissions Complaints and Appeals Policy, see latest policies.

International Students

International Students

For applicants whose first language is not English, it is necessary to demonstrate a satisfactory standard in English.

Applicants whose first degree is not English should provide evidence of successfully completing a first degree from a UK University or a degree that that been taught and assessed in English, or by holding an ILETS overall score of 7.0 with no less than 6.0 in each component.

Together with your application you will need to upload supporting documents
  • CV
  • Research proposal of c.2,000 – 4,000 words*
  • A confirmation of funding letter, or guarantee form from your funder / employer (if your studies will be sponsored)

*The research proposal should be 2,000-4,000 words, relate to one of our four research themes and include the following:

  • Your project title and key research questions
  • An overview of the context into which your research will fit, including:
  1. The aims and objectives of your proposed research
  2. An overview of current literature that supports your proposed project,
  3. How it adds to, develops (or challenges) previous work by researchers in the field,
  4. Why the research is important to the subject area, and
  5. How you think the research will make an original contribution to knowledge.
  6. An outline of how the research will be achieved within the normal duration of a PhD.
  7. Consideration you have given to research methods, what research method(s) you propose to use, and your rationale for why these are appropriate to the project.
  8. Any consideration or discussion you have had with any prospective supervisors at AECC University College for the project.
  9. Consideration of the sources, resources and / or facilities required to successfully complete the research. If the project will require access to external organisations or specialist facilities, the proposal should include details of how you intend to secure access to these for the required duration.
  10. An indicative bibliography demonstrating your critical grasp of current literature in the field and how you plan to contribute to it.

Still have questions about applying?

Course Fees

Our current course costs for the Postgraduate Research Degree course 2023 entry are per annum and are shown below.

Home/ROI/Channel Islands

£2,335 Part-time

£4,670 Full-time


£8,154 Part-time

£15,204 Full-time

Our tuition fees policy can be found here on our latest policies page.

Should you have any questions on course fees please see our Fees and Payment Information page or contact our admissions team on the form below.

There is an option to apply for a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan that can help with course fees and living costs while you study a postgraduate doctoral course.

Please note that these fees are for the 2024-25 academic year only and may be subject to increase in subsequent years of study. Any increase will be in line with our Tuition Fees Policy but will not be more than 5%.

Register your Interest

Register your Interest / Enquiry

Why choose AECC University College

There are many benefits to studying at AECC University College, from our expertise and history in teaching health sciences, to our state-of-the-art facilities, on-site clinical training, and of course our location on the beautiful Bournemouth coast.

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