A Professional Doctorate is a specialist qualification that is appropriate if you are in, or are aspiring to, a senior professional appointment in practice, education or management in health or social care. It demonstrates your ability to perform at the level of 'expert' within your area of specialisation.
The aim of the course is to provide a unified approach to theory and practice within a professional context, so your learning is structured to allow you to develop your skills both in the workplace and within the university environment.
Depending on your individual circumstances, your study can be undertaken over the course of between 4 and 7 years. During this time, you will prepare two portfolios which chronical your development of expert practice in your workplace. In tandem, you also study taught modules at the University of Essex which provide you with the expertise in qualitative, statistical and other research methods required for researching healthcare.
Your own interests, experiences, and needs determine a great deal about how your course is structured, and what areas you focus on. A key part of demonstrating your expertise in your specialist area is the development of a 40,000-word dissertation on a relevant topic. Within the School we offer guidance and supervision in a wide range of areas which include amongst others:
Analysis of large scale surveys
Consumerism and consumption in health care
Health-related social movements
Health services research
Housing and health
Interpretative policy analysis of health care
Mental health services
The third sector and health care provision
Political economy of health care
Public health management
Quantitative methodologies and analysis of large-scale datasets (panel and cohort studies)
Service evaluation and development
Social epidemiology and health inequalities
Social inequality and health
Social issues around health and the intersection of theories of delinquency and health
Social organisation of health care
Understanding and application of research in health settings
You will have regular one-to-one meetings with your supervisor to develop your research topics and plan, and to discuss progress on your research. A full list of research interests can be found on our staff pages.
At the end of your time with us, you will have a qualification which demonstrate you to be a true expert in your field.
Our expert staffOur School of Health and Human Sciences has an excellent reputation for research and teaching.
Our educational provision meets professional regulatory requirements and achieves high standards. We do so by having multi-professional staff with both clinical and academic expertise; our staff include sociologists and social policy and management specialists as well as clinically qualified lecturers in adult and mental health nursing, oral health, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, pharmacy, speech and language therapy, social work and sports therapy.
A unique feature of our School is that many of our staff work with local National Health Service (NHS) organisations and other local agencies, which enhances our grasp of the contemporary links between academic research, the major issues of the day and practice.
We have at our heart a commitment to making a difference to local, national and international health, social care and voluntary services through education, research and knowledge transfer. Our staff operate an 'open door' policy so are available to discuss any concerns with you throughout the year.
You are encouraged to take advantage of the research seminars held within our School where you can present your research to other staff and students, discussing your work within a supportive environment
Our Proficio professional development scheme provides you with unique opportunities to acquire a set of specialist professional skills and expand your subject knowledge
Your futureWe offer doctoral preparation that integrates professional expertise and academic rigor. During your time working with us you will gain the skills necessary to make significant contribution to local and national health and social care provision through critical appraisal of current practice.
The networks you develop while with us facilitate self-development. You will engage in critical reflection upon practice; work and lead within complex, multi-professional environments where you can demonstrate expert decision-making.
You can apply until:
Always verify the dates on the programme website.
You can study our Professional Doctorates flexibly between four and seven years. Decisions about the duration of the study period are based on individual need, professional commitments and funded support.
Our Programme Specification gives more detail about the structure available to our current first-year students, including details of all optional modules.
Postgraduate Research Methods
Professional Portfolio 1
Professional Portfolio 2
Theory and Method in Health Research
Health and Human Sciences - Research
Health and Human Sciences - Completion
Health and Human Sciences - Research
Taught modules underpin your research activities and meet identified deficits within your knowledge base
Create two portfolios of learning chronicling the development of expert practice
Portfolios are constructed from the specialist application of generic outcomes in areas such as risk and diagnostic reasoning
Portfolios are submitted at the end of year one and year two
Undertake a dissertation of 40,000 words on a subject relevant to your specialist area of practice
You need the following IELTS score:
The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.Take IELTS test
StudyPortals Tip: The UK government has confirmed new English-language testing requirements for visa and immigration purposes. Learn more
Students from United States of America need a visa in order to study in the United Kingdom.
Read more about visa information and requirements for this country.
StudyPortals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.
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