school of health and social care

Professional Doctorates

Course Overview

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.

Our portfolio of Professional Doctorates fall under three main strands:
  • Education: either a health care or social care focus.
  • Practice: nursing; occupational therapy; public health (health visiting); social care practice management; speech and language therapy.
  • Management: health services management; social services management.

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.

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 additional, 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.

Funding your course

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 main University postgraduate tuition fees.

Making your application

Ready to make your application?  Check out our requirements here.