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Doctor of Professional Practice Health and Social Care

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Please note that this course is not recruiting for September 2019.

This part-time programme has been specifically designed with health and social care professionals in mind and is appropriate for practitioners from a wide range of backgrounds. That includes lecturer practitioners who have completed a Master’s, practitioners aspiring to be a nurse, midwifery or therapy consultant, and service leaders and managers from a range of health and social care organisations.

Our Professional Doctorate has been developed to encourage practising professionals to pursue formal qualifications by conducting in-depth research related to activities performed in the workplace.

You can complete the course while you are in full or part-time employment, which fits in well with the objective of researching a work-related topic. To be awarded a Professional Doctorate, you will be expected to critically investigate and evaluate an approved organisation-centred topic that leads to a fundamental advance in theory and practice. You will also have to demonstrate an understanding of appropriate research methods and will need to present and defend your thesis by viva voce (oral examination) to the satisfaction of the examiners.

Key information

Next start date:

Please enquire for start dates


Bournemouth University, Lansdowne Campus


5 years

Entry requirements:

For 2019 entry: An Honours degree at 2:2 or higher and/or a relevant Master's degree. If English is not your first language you'll need IELTS 7.0 (Academic) or above. For more information check out our international entry requirements

Course details

The Doctor of Professional Practice (D.Prof) is a journey of personal and professional development which enables individuals to use their experience and knowledge from practice to inform their study. The focus of the D.Prof study is likely to come from your own personal experience and desire to explore or understand an aspect further in order to develop care or services.

Download the programme specifications (pdf 565kb)

The learning journey

To help you on this journey support is provided by being a member of a cohort and engaging in group tutorials with one or two facilitators. Within this group and peer support (GPS) process, and via collaborative engagement involving listening, sharing, discussing, and reflecting on events, experiences and things read, new insights and understandings emerge. This informs and supports the creation of the personal narrative of the study journey which in turn informs the other three elements of the D.Prof.

Exploring the course literature is associated with the practice context and study vision, and is supported by enhancing existing skills of searching and analysing the literature – alongside the expectation that individuals will undertake ongoing independent work in this area as the study unfolds. The remaining two elements of research and practice development are both associated with the study focus.

Support is provided by two academics from the development of a proposal through to ethical review, and on to undertaking, analysing and writing up the study. These research and practice development supervisors (RPDS) will guide, support, challenge, review and provide feedback on the development of the study focus, its context and approach/es selected to explore it in order to develop knowledge and practice.

Academic support

This course is designed to be self-managed, with formalised support to help you through each of the three stages. You will be expected to complete four pieces of work in stages 2 and 3, which draw your work together and allow you to present your contribution to knowledge.

The compulsory support units each year will cover topics such as research methods, theoretical frameworks for practice development, group research and practice supervision. There are no taught units, which makes this course very flexible.

Entry requirements

How to apply

You can apply for a Professional Doctorate by clicking on the ‘Apply now’ button and completing the application form. You can find further guidance about applying for a postgraduate research degree in our postgraduate research section.