The University of Portsmouth was one of the first institutions to respond to the rapid changes within health and social care by offering a Professional Doctorate in Health and Social Care Disciplines programme. This programme started in October 2000, and has been highly successful in its delivery to these professionals.
The Professional Doctorate is an alternative pathway to a doctorate qualification. It is a rigorous programme of advanced study and research, designed specifically to meet the needs of commerce, industry and professional groups and is the professionally oriented counterpart to the more theoretical PhD. It enables students to study a specific subject to the same depth as PhD students, but also allows them to apply learning to their professional practice.
The Faculty of Science offers seven health and social care programmes at doctorate level:
These routes are taught together and this enables students in each cohort to benefit from the experience of others and provides a unique inter-professional learning environment.
The Professional Doctorate is open to a wide range of health and social care professionals, who have an active interest in practice-based research and professional practice issues, wish to attain the highest level of professional and academic achievement and develop their career within the health and social care arena. Relevance and application of the research to the professional environment will be a pivotal feature of the programme and reflection on practice will be integral to the learning process.
This course is recognised internationally as a qualification granted to those who have reached the highest level of professional and academic achievement in their field of endeavour.
On a personal level, successful completion of the Professional Doctorate will offer personal fulfilment, professional development, career enhancement and encourage reflective practice.
The programme aims to enhance personal development planning for continuing professional development and encourage an advanced level of critical, analytical, debating and publishing skills, plus knowledge of the range of different research methods encountered in professional practice.
Within the National Health Service (NHS) a Professional Doctorate is now being seen as an essential academic qualification for attaining higher level posts within the NHS Agenda for Change career framework.
I think I became a different kind of person whilst doing the course, no longer suited to the demands of operational management but better at working on strategic developments where there is more time to reflect on the impact of change on both patients and staff.
Dr Barbara Lloyd, Prof Doc in Health and Social Care graduate
This is a part-time course, which has been specifically designed so that it can be available to health and social care professionals from all over the country, to fit with the demands of fulltime employment. The course structure is only offered in a part-time mode and is divided into two parts.
Attendance for Part 1 will be in six study blocks of three days duration spread over two academic years. Typically, students will be required to attend the University for up to 18 days for the whole of Part 1. Attendance for Part 2 will only be required for tutorials, seminars and oral presentations.
This is the 'taught' component of the programme, which will equip students with the skills that they will need in preparation for Part 2. Part 1 consists of four units, namely:
Professional Review and Development
Advanced Research Techniques
Publication and Dissemination
Proposal for Professional Research and Development
This is the research and professional development component and comprises one or two pieces of practice-based research, linked with a commentary demonstrating the relevance of the research to both practice and the practitioner. The nature of this study may include pure basic research or applied research related, for example, to a management or educational setting. This should normally take between 24 and 48 months to complete.
Assessment will be by a thesis, an oral presentation and a viva voce examination.
The University offers Accreditation for Prior Learning (APL), for applicants with previous learning experience and other academic achievement which could be taken into account for some of the units of study. Claims will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
We use the best and most current research and professional practice, alongside feedback from our students, to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.
Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional units may not run every year. If a unit doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative unit.
Each student will be assigned one or more University supervisors, depending on the area of research and professional development. Access to specialist advisors in the workplace will be required for Part 2 of the programme and will vary according to the area of investigation. We have excellent support systems for our Professional Doctorate students. All students are assigned a Personal Tutor for Part 1 as well as two Supervisors for Part 2 of the course.
There are further opportunities to attend Research Seminars and Workshops organised by the University's Graduate School.
The Professional Doctorate consists of coursework and research and is credit based. The coursework component is designed to help build on professional expertise by exposing students to challenging and innovative ideas in their field.
Assessment is by coursework (including preparation of an article for publication and a research proposal) and oral presentations. This should normally take 24 months to complete.
Professor Graham Mills
This programme provides an opportunity for you to develop and enhance your work-based learning and research interest to the highest level in your professional field.
Back to top
As a member of the Faculty of Science you will be offered many opportunities. We have close working relationships with many industrial and professional employers, which will prepare you for a career within the science field and beyond.
The breadth of subject areas within the Faculty of Science is reflected in its research programmes. Researchers are working on projects as diverse as the truthfulness of witness statements, the corrosion of steel piling, the study of volcanic rocks and the on-going effects of the nuclear disaster on Fukushima.
The School of Health Sciences & Social Work have developed a new collaborative partnership with one of our local health Trusts, Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust. The Academic Department of Critical Care has an established national reputation for excellence in teaching and training and has a proven record of successful recruitment to multiple clinical trials, which form the basis of its clinical research portfolio. There is substantial overlap between the work of the Academic Department of Critical Care and the School’s curriculum, as well as shared research interests.
The University of Portsmouth Graduate School supports, administers and coordinates training for the MPhil, PhD, and Professional Doctorate programmes. We aim to involve you fully in our research programmes by providing professional training, offering high-quality supervision, and giving you the opportunity to develop your knowledge and to equip you for your future career or further research.
Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.
As well as full electronic access to the University's Library and Computing Services, you will also have access to a dedicated Professional Doctorate Student Resource Area, which holds a range of examples of student assignments, portfolios, publications, theses and viva presentation material to be used as reference material and guidance.
There may be extra costs arising from your studies which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.
Some are common costs to all courses of study. These may include the cost of study texts, reference books, photocopying and computer supplies. Others relate to specific courses and may include field trips, materials and specialist equipment.
Those students completing the Professional Doctorate in Health and Social Care course will have moved to the next level of qualifications with the advantages that this offers in terms of learning and employability. They will also be in an excellent position to apply for any related doctoral training programme, research assistant positions, graduate teaching positions, or general research related roles.
The programme is predominantly work-based and the activities should benefit the practitioner's workplace. The decision to support an individual on this programme recognises their importance to the organisation. Through the projects undertaken it allows organisations to develop new processes and procedures that will be of benefit to the workplace.
Examples of recent and successfully defended Research and Professional Development Unit Projects include:
To make sure you take the right steps on your career path, we’re here to give you help, support and advice throughout your study. Even after you’ve graduated, we continue to give you support for up to five years.
Employers tell us that they want graduates to be able to demonstrate certain skills when they come out of university. Our courses take account of this. We make sure we prepare you for employment through work-related learning, projects, placements and working in simulated environments that are designed to prepare you for the working world.
This course has helped me in many ways. I began to feel I really was an expert in my field and had reached the top of clinical pharmacy. I gained confidence in dealing with a specialist area where, without projects like mine getting written up and disseminated, knowledge about the topic came from making clinical decisions one patient at a time.
Dr Vanessa Marvin, Prof Doc in Health and Social Care graduate
Back to top
Apply direct using our online form
Your application will be received by the University Admissions Centre for consideration.
Visit us on one of our Postgraduate Information Days on Wednesday 14 March or Wednesday 25 April 2018 from 4-7pm to meet subject specialists and admissions teams, who'll provide information and guidance on our taught Master's courses and research degrees.
Download our free walking tour PDF for a self-guided tour of the University.
We have an open-door policy so you will be able to take a look in our buildings, speak to some of our support services and get a feel for the campus.
If you can’t make it to Portsmouth, come and see us at one of the events we attend around the UK.
If you would like to speak with a member of staff about any courses you are interested in, please email email@example.com and we will arrange this for you.
Staff from our International Office also regularly attend overseas exhibitions. To find out more about these and our visits to your region see our International Office exhibitions page.
Find out more about fees and funding available to you at Portsmouth.
When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to our terms and conditions as well as the University’s policies, rules and regulations. You should read and consider these before you apply.