Professional Doctorate in Health and Social Care - Professional Doctorate

    About This Professional Doctorate

    Course Description

    Professional Doctorates are linked intrinsically to your workplace. The DProf provides an excellent framework in which to develop a credible research proposal based on issues identified in a clinical or health-related environment. This course has been developed in collaboration with in-service professionals along the key themes of education for:

    • Personal strategies for practice development
    • Creative decision-making and risk-taking
    • Developing presence, influence and political know-how
    • Evidence-based practice and research

    The programme comprises two years taught modules designed to help you refine and develop your research skills and ideas, then a three year research project during which you write up a thesis. 

    You have the support of a module team for the first two years of the taught element then in years 3-5 you will have two supervisors to support your research. We have experts in nursing, counselling, social care, public health, occupational therapy, radiography, physiotherapy to supervise your own area of expert knowledge. Developing personal support is one of the most important values informing the DProf programme.

    You will:

    • Broaden and deepen your understanding of your research topic
    • Achieve work-based observation and evidence to credible robust findings
    • Be provided with a supportive and excellent framework in which to develop issues identified in a clinical or health related environment.
    • Develop skills that are transferable to the real world
    • Benefit from the interaction with a multi-professional team and peer group

    This course is for you if:

    • You want to make a significant contribution to professional practice with transferable skills to your clinical area
    • You are interested in collaborative learning and networking with peers
    • You want to develop your presence, influence and credibility

    Course Details

    Professional Doctorates are as rigorous as traditional PhDs but are different in focus. A traditional PhD subject can be relatively fixed in terms of what is researched. A Professional Doctorate is more variable and adaptable to change due to developments in your profession. This is because the Professional Doctorate is linked intrinsically to your workplace.

    The first two years of the course are modular, with facilitated content, designed to help you refine and develop your initial research ideas and include:

    • Contemporary issues and debates in research
    • Theories/paradigms of research
    • Ethics of research
    • Reviewing literature and the critical analysis of existing research
    • Developing a research question/hypothesis
    • Designing appropriate research
    • Role and function of the pilot study
    • Developing a research proposal
    • Access and sampling
    • Methods of data collection
    • Fundamentals of frequently used statistical tests
    • Presentation, analysis and interpretation of data
    • Uses and application of ICT
    • Dissemination and publication of research

    During the research component, you independently undertake a PhD level research study, supervised by two experienced academics. Although the Professional Doctorate programme is housed within the School of Health and Society, we have supervisors from across the University. We have experts in child psychology, social care, public health, occupational therapy, radiography, physiotherapy to supervise your own area of expert knowledge.

    The programme is very flexible; with two years part-time of facilitated modules which you use to frame, explore and refine your initial research question. For example, you will use the modules to explore general philosophical and methodological ideas, examine what is known about your topic, what your research will contribute to new knowledge; best methods for undertaking the research and, critically, learn about the leadership skills you will need to lead research in practice.

    Visit the website for further information on modules.

    Teaching and Assessment

    The doctorate comprises two years taught modules which you must pass to progress onto a further three years research component during which you write up your thesis.

    All the modules are facilitated using blended learning. For example, within each module, there is face to face sessions led by a module facilitator. In addition, specific learning activities for each module will be developed using the virtual learning environment ‘Blackboard’ and the virtual doctorate learning environment (VLE). Both enable greater flexibility about the when and where of learning and enables you to keep in contact with your peers and the programme team, wherever they have internet access.

    Within the professional doctorate, the assessment processes have been developed to enable you to critically interrogate, analyse, and reflect on your research ideas, demonstrating your ability to take account of professional and methodological issues. The assessments are designed to enable confident articulation and robust exploration, justification and defence of research ideas in keeping with the principles of the doctoral viva.

    With this in mind assessment processes comprise:

    • Essays
    • Seminars
    • Verbal presentations
    • You are expected to engage in critical self-assessment and personal/professional development planning as a basis for developing the skills associated with the doctoral-level study and the leadership of research in professional practice.

    The School of Health and Society

    The School of Health and Society is a forward-thinking, dynamic school with a commitment to lifelong learning and real world impact.

    We live in a rapidly changing world, and we’re keen to leave a productive legacy of helping people at all stages of their lives, improving their physical, psychological and social wellbeing.


    This qualification is designed to enhance career prospects. Increasingly, employers are looking for flexible and creative key staff receptive to innovation. There is much published evidence demonstrating that the DProf enhances personal development, stronger professional self-worth and confidence and improves career prospects and job satisfaction.

    At this stage in your career, you may be expected to have research and analytical techniques and vision to tackle problems imaginatively and with confidence, but may have limited time or support to do so. By undertaking a Professional Doctorate, we will help you develop these skills.

    By successfully completing your professional doctorate, you will be convened with the title Dr (like a traditional PhD). The professional doctorate benefits you in producing a qualification which is equivalent in status and challenge to a PhD, but is more appropriate if you are pursuing professional, industry based careers and are interested in gaining accreditation or the chance to reflect on best practice, as well as pursuing academic careers.

    Visit the Health and Social Care - Professional Doctorate page on the University of Salford website for more details!

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    Entry Requirements

    A good bachelors degree, normally 2.1 or above, and/or master's degree, with appropriate practice experience.

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