School of Health and Social Care

Professional Doctorates

Specialist qualifications

Anyone who undertakes a Professional Doctorate is pretty awesome in our book.

We appreciate that you're likely to have other commitments alongside your study, so our courses are set up to take between four and seven years. Exactly how long it takes is up to you.

Your options

Our portfolio of Professional Doctorates fall under three main strands:

Undertaking a doctorate any of our fields will enable you to perform at the level of 'expert' in your chosen subject. This specialist qualification will help you realise ambitions of achieving or progressing within, a senior professional appointment in practice, education or management in health and social care.

All learning in our School is underpinned by close relationships with local partners and service users, as well as professional bodies such as the NMC and the HCPC. This means we're able to respond rapidly to the changes and developments across the sector, and are able to guide you in researching topical issues.

Your experience

Our carefully crafted programme consists of three elements.

Taught Modules

Having a good grounding in research methods is key to success in this course, so throughout the programme we've woven in opportunities to develop your existing knowledge.

In year one, you'll complete our online module HS945 which enables you to explore theoretical and practical issues in relation to the research process, with specific emphasis on research in health and social care. In addition, you'll also be supported through approximately six study days on our Colchester campus where you'll complete research workshops, have face-to-face support and you can have portfolio development sessions.

In year two you are required to attend weekly taught sessions. You will undertake HS947, which examines major perspectives in social science disciplines as they are applied to health and clinical research. You'll then be given the choice between HS927, which introduces you to basic and intermediate statistical procedures and concepts, or HS948, that focuses on introducing qualitative research processes.

Work-based learning

At the end of both your first and second year, you will be required to submit a portfolio of learning. These two portfolios will record the development of expert practice, and are constructed from the specialist application of generic outcomes in areas such as risk and diagnostic reasoning.

Original research through doctoral level dissertation

You will undertake a dissertation of 40,000 words on a subject relevant to your specialist area of practice.

Next steps


For many students, funding may impact on the duration of the course. There are many different ways that you could fund your Professional Doctorate, however the fees that you pay are not dependent on your funding stream.

For full details of the fees for your specific Professional Doctorate, please see our University postgraduate tuition fees.


You can apply online for any of our Professional Doctorates. Information about entry requirements and documentation to upload for your application can be found below.

Entry requirements

Whether you are a Home/EU or Overseas applicant, the entry requirements are the same:

  • Current registration with a UK regulatory body where appropriate
  • Current employment in management, practice or education, as appropriate
  • A Masters qualification (or equivalent)
  • Employment in a senior position within a health or social care organisation

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch to ask any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

Please note there are separate entry requirements for D Clin Psychology.

Application documents

In order to study one of our Professional Doctorates (other than D Clin Psych), please complete the online application form and upload the following documentation:

  • 500-word personal statement
  • One reference
  • Copies of your academic transcripts/professional qualifications and certificates
  • A language certificate (if relevant)
  • 300-word description of your clinical practice (for clinical programmes) or your managerial responsibilities (for management programmes)
  • Your CV (maximum of two A4 pages)

Please also upload evidence of:

  • Current registration with a UK regulatory body where appropriate
  • Current employment in management, practice or education as appropriate
  • Employment in a senior position within a health or social care organisation

Once we have received your signed and completed application form, as well as the above required documentation, we will write to confirm if you have been successful in gaining a place.