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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.
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.
What you'll experience
We offer the following health and social care programmes at doctorate level:
- Doctorate in Biomedical Science (DBMS)
- Doctorate in Health Science (DHealthSci)
- Doctorate in Medical Imaging (DMedImg)
- Doctorate in Nursing (DNursing)
- Doctorate in Pharmacy (DPharm)
- Doctorate in Social Work (DSW)
These routes are taught together. This enables students in each cohort to benefit from the experience of others and provides a unique inter-professional learning environment.
Structure and teaching
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 world, to fit with the demands of full-time 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:
- 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.
Changes to course content
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. If a module doesn't run, we'll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.
Teaching and assessment
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.
How you're assessed
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.
A postgraduate level qualification or equivalent in an appropriate subject and a suitable workplace environment to support the professional research and development project. All applicants will be invited to attend an interview.
English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.
If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.
Course costs and funding
Tuition fees (October 2024 start)
*All fees are subject to annual increase
- Part-time: £3,400 a year (all programmes)*
UK, Channel Islands, and Isle of Man students on this course may be eligible for the Government Doctoral Loan.
- Part-time: £8,600 a year (Health Science; Nursing; Medical Imaging; Social Work)*
- Part-time: £9,600 a year (Biomedical Science; Pharmacy)*
Before you start your application, you'll need to have the following documentation ready:
- A research proposal and a personal statement
- Proof of your first degree and grades (officially certified and translated copies if not in English)
- Proof of a relevant postgraduate degree with at least 60 credits having been completed
- Details of 2 referees or 2 references on official headed paper, one of which should ideally be an academic reference
- Proof of your English language proficiency (if English is not your first language)
- An up-to-date copy of your CV
Then use the relevant application form for the programme you want to study:
Admissions terms and conditions
When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.