University of Bath Featured Professional Doctorate Programmes
University of Bath Featured Professional Doctorate Programmes

Professional Doctorate in Health and Social Care (DHSC)


About This Professional Doctorate

Course Description

If you’re seeking a new challenge in your professional and personal development, our Doctorate in Health and Social Care could be for you. Designed to support experienced professionals, our Doctorate in Health and Social Care (DHSC) enables committed professionals to study flexibly to achieve a doctorate.

This innovative, part-time programme is designed to support original research that will have an impact on health and social care practice or policy. You’ll have the opportunity to develop your own practice-based research in a structured and supportive environment.

Programme structure

You’ll undertake four years of part-time study, in two stages:

Stage 1 (Years 1 and 2)

This comprises the ‘taught’ component of the programme, which will equip you with the skills and knowledge to support your engagement with the research and the practice field in which your project is located. This phase will involve you studying online modules on topics including: 

·        the context of health and social care research

·        literature review

·        ethics

·        the principles of research design

·        methods of data collection and analysis.

Stage 1 is assessed through the submission of formative and summative assignments that focus on developing your literature review, refining your research questions and your proposal for research. 

Stage 2 (Years 3 and 4)

Students who successfully complete Stage 1 will progress to Stage 2 – the ‘research’ component of the programme. During this time, you’ll carry out your study and work towards completing your thesis. The research stage has a structured schedule of submission of assignments which will pace you through ‘work in progress’ pieces and provide regular opportunities for feedback on your progress.

Throughout both stages you’ll be supported through online seminar discussions and annual residential weekends at the OU’s campus in Milton Keynes. You’ll be allocated two supervisors – your main one in year 1 and a co-supervisor in year 2.

Application process

Our next intake to the DHSC is October 2020 – the formal application period will open on the 1st November 2019 and close on the 31st January 2020. We welcome research proposals that fall into one of the following areas of study.

  • Care and Advocacy
  • Leadership in Health and Social Care
  • Nursing
  • Social Work and Social Care

You’ll need to send your completed application form and research proposal to – . The application form and research proposal template can be found on our website and contains more information on what you need to include with your application.

Visit our website for more information on the application process and to download relevant forms: http://www.open.ac.uk/postgraduate/research-degrees/how-to-apply/professional-doctorates_process


Visit the Professional Doctorate in Health and Social Care (DHSC) page on the Open University website for more details!

Entry Requirements

This Doctorate is open to senior, established professionals working in health and social care settings, including registered nurses, social workers, and educators, but also other professionals working across health and social care including the public, voluntary and private sectors. The degree is also open to informal carers, ‘experts by experience’, advocates (including those who advocate on the behalf of others) and ‘expert patients’ who meet the entry requirements.

· Applicants should hold a Masters Degree in Health/Social Care or a related discipline.
· Applicants should also have at least two years’ of relevant professional experience or informal expertise.


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