A Professional Doctorate is a specialist qualification that is appropriate if you are in, or are aspiring to, a senior professional appointment in practice, education or management in health or social care. It demonstrates your ability to perform at the level of 'expert' within your area of specialisation.
The aim of the course is to provide a unified approach to theory and practice within a professional context, so your learning is structured to allow you to develop your skills both in the workplace and within the university environment.
Depending on your individual circumstances, your study can be undertaken over 5 years (with an additional period of completion of up to 1 year, if required). During this time, you will prepare two portfolios which chronical your development of expert practice in your workplace. In tandem, you also study taught modules at the University of Essex which provide you with the expertise in qualitative, statistical and other research methods required for researching healthcare.
Your own interests, experiences, and needs determine a great deal about how your course is structured, and what areas you focus on. A key part of demonstrating your expertise in your specialist area is the development of a 40,000-word dissertation on a relevant topic. Within the School we offer guidance and supervision in a wide range of areas which include amongst others:
- Analysis of large scale surveys
- Children with special educational needs
- Consumerism and consumption in health care
- Cross-cultural mental health
- Educational psychology
- Health-related social movements
- Health-related stigma
- Health services research
- Housing and health
- How life events and conditions influence health
- Interpretative policy analysis of health care
- The third sector and health care provision
- Political economy of health care
- Professional/clinical education and practice
- Qualitative methods
- Social epidemiology and health inequalities
- Social inequality and health
- Social issues around health and the intersection of theories of delinquency and health
- Social organisation of health care
- Sociology of happiness and wellbeing
- Sociology of health and illness
- Understanding and application of research in health settings
You will have regular one-to-one meetings with your supervisor to develop your research topics and plan, and to discuss progress on your research. A full list of research interests can be found on our staff pages.
At the end of your time with us, you will have a qualification which demonstrate you to be a true expert in your field.
The School of Health and Social Care is proud to work closely with our Service User Reference Group (SURG). SURG is made up of service users, carers, and volunteers who generously share their first-hand experiences of health and social care. We work collaboratively with SURG to design our courses to ensure that we truly are putting the needs of patients and clients at the heart of what we do. SURG are involved as part of our course application processes and often form part of our interview panels. This helps us to be confident that we are selecting the right applicants for the course and their future careers. SURG members also support the delivery of our teaching sessions and research activity, which means you’ll benefit from an insight into their lived experiences of living with a diagnosis, health condition, or circumstance. You’ll find that not only does your clinical knowledge expand, but your empathy, compassion and ability to advocate develops also. You can find out more about SURG by reading their blog here.