Course details

Study options

Part-time: 4 years

UK fee

£3,000 per year (2022/23)

Course level




Start date



Kedleston Road, Derby Campus

Course description

Preparing you professionally

This course aims to prepare professional leaders, educationalists and clinicians with research and research project management skills to take a leading role with the development of practice or the development of services within defined professional areas.

Setting you apart from other professionals in the area, it will enhance your chances of securing a consultative role.

Tailored to your interests

With our Doctorate in Health and Social Care Practice, you can tailor your qualification to your own interests and develop as a clinical and professional leader in your field. In addition, you’ll improve your knowledge and understanding of a range of research and enquiry methodologies and skills related to your profession.

The following research specialisms are available:

  • Applied Psychology
  • Art Psychotherapy
  • Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy
  • Drama Psychotherapy
  • Ergonomics
  • Health and Social Care
  • Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy
  • Nursing
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Podiatry
  • Psychodynamic Psychotherapy
  • Radiography

Original research 

By completing the research aspect of this course, you will be able to make an original contribution or application of knowledge to your specialist field. This will help you to lead on the development of services and professional practice, and will be directly relevant to your career.

Our courses are closely mapped against the health and social care sector. This ensures that our curriculum is up to date, providing you with the assurance that your learning is current and relevant. This does mean that we do have to respond to national changes such as government policy. As a result, some of the information about our courses may change.  

Course duration

This course is available part-time only but you can choose to study either on campus or online. To achieve the Professional Doctorate, you will need to complete two 60-credit modules and an Independent Scholarship (420 credits) over four years.

What you will study

Whichever field you choose to be awarded in you’ll study modules such as:

Develop Strategies and Skills for Professional Doctoral Research and Study (60 credits)

This module is designed to enable professional doctoral students to understand and engage with doctoral level education and access a wide literature review to underpin your studies and gain knowledge of your specialist field. You will be encouraged to develop interdependent networking relationships with relevant professional associations, special interest research groups, and societies, and to contribute your work to conferences and publications, with the intention of disseminating your work to a wider audience.

Service and Practice Development (60 credits)

This module will examine two synergistic areas. Firstly, the nature of research and notions of evidence in your own field in order to prepare you for the final independent research stage. This will lead to an understanding of fundamental epistemological concepts in and contemporary debates about the validity of alternative approaches to research appropriate methodologies and statistical approaches will be examined in relation to the requirements of your individual research project. Secondly, you will carry out a small service or practice development project within your workplace that can be further developed as a formal research project within your final independent research study. The module will enable you to make clear, informed decisions about the application of your selected research methodology and method within your professional field and consideration of ethical issues.

Assessment will take the form of an article for a professional journal, a presentation for a student-led conference and a research or creative-works proposal.

Independent Scholarship for Professional Practice and Service Development (420 credits)

This module forms an essential, integral and substantial part of the Doctorate of Practice. You will have already gained a proven and successful record of postgraduate study (or its equivalent) and will have completed a substantial element of level 7 and 8 credits through the taught component. You will have gained insight into how to study and research at doctoral level and strategies for working independently and with others through the first and second stages of the programme. Furthermore, you will have also crafted your Research Proposal documentation in preparation for moving into this final third phase. The aim of this module is the preparation of a substantial piece of research or creative work embedded in research, which will ultimately form the thesis element of the doctorate. You will have to demonstrate clarity of academic writing appropriate to doctoral-level study. Every candidate for the professional doctorate will undertake a viva voce examination following the submission of the thesis for assessment by two examiners as per academic regulations. The purpose of the viva voce examination is to enable you to demonstrate command of the field of enquiry, to articulate ideas and arguments in a challenging academic setting.

Please note that our modules are subject to change. We review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects. 

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

How you will learn

Teaching and learning

This course is taught and facilitated by leading academics and professionals who use a variety of flexible learning strategies to help you to reach your full potential.

You can choose to study either on campus or online:

If you choose to study on campus, you will be taught in small seminar groups, supported by individual tutorials. This will enhance your learning experience, as you’ll learn both with and from your peers and academic staff.

Online students will follow the same structure as on campus students but all teaching will be virtual.

While studying with us, you’ll be allocated a director of studies, a second supervisor and a subject specialist, so you’ll be supported at every stage by a team with expert knowledge.

You’ll also join one of our research groups, which will help you to develop your research interests and skills, and provide you with an opportunity to network and share interests with other professionals working in your field of expertise.


Assessment is through written assignments, writing up projects and research, formal dissemination of your work, a thesis and a viva voce assessment.

This course will enable you to make an original contribution your specialist field of study, and lead the development of services in your workplace.

Who will teach you

Alan Williams standing with hands clasped, wearing a red and white striped shirt

Dr Alan Williams
Programme leader

Academic Lead for Nursing, Dr Alan Williams, commenced as Academic Lead for the Nursing and Perioperative Practice programmes in April 2019. Alan is a Registered Nurse (Adult and Mental Health) with over twenty years' experience in the NHS before becoming an academic.

View full staff profileView full staff profile

Entry requirements

You should normally have a Postgraduate Diploma or a Masters award in an appropriate academic field or equivalent. You should also ideally have a professional qualification or accreditation.

If English is not your first language you must have achieved an IELTS score of at least level 6.5.

All suitable applicants will be interviewed.

Interview information

Fees and funding

2022/23 Fees (August 2022 - July 2023)

UK N/A £3,000 per year
International N/A £3,000 per year

Instalment calendar

Trimester: Autumn

  • Initial payment up front (25%) = £750 
  • Second payment (25%) due for 1 November = £750 
  • Third payment (25%) due for 1 February = £750
  • Fourth payment (25%) due for 1 May = £750
  • Total payment made (100%) = £3,000

Please note fees normally increase in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees, which is reviewed on an annual basis. The total fee you pay may therefore increase after one year of study.

Additional costs and optional extras

Funding your studies

Find out more about fees, postgraduate loans and support you may be entitled to.

Find out about funding your studiesFind out about funding your studies

Alumni discount for Derby graduates

We offer a discount on postgraduate course fees for all Derby alumni.

Find out about the Alumni discountFind out about the Alumni discount

How to apply

Please look at our application deadlines before you apply.

On campus

UK students

Students should apply directly to the University.

Apply directly to the University
International students

On-campus courses starting in September 2022 and January 2023 are now closed to new applications from international students due to unprecedented demand. Applications for September 2023 will open in October. If you have any questions, please email

Apply directly to the University

Guidance for international applicants applying for a postgraduate degree


Our students choose this programme as a crucial part of their personal and professional development. You will gain impressive skills in research, analysis, and critical and strategic thinking which will enhance your performance in your current role while paving the way to further career opportunities. The doctorate is often a stepping stone to more senior leadership roles. 

Contact us

If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.

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† Additional information about your studies

This course is available part-time only:

  • Postgraduate Certificate: 1 year
  • Postgraduate Diploma: 2 years
  • Doctorate in Health and Social Care Practice: 4 years

Download programme specification

Additional costs and optional extras

We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, excellent facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.

Please also note that due to the current Covid-19 situation, if your course offers fieldtrips, the location of these may change or be cancelled. If this happens, you will be communicated to in advance and we will do our very best to seek out other practical opportunities to ensure your experience is not affected.

The information provided on this page is correct at the time of publication but course content, costs and other individual course details do change from time to time and are updated as often as possible, so please do check these pages again when making your final decision to apply for a course. Any updated course details will also be confirmed to you at application, enrolment and in your offer letter.

Mandatory costs not included in your fees
  • Research study costs

Minimum numbers

Please note that this course is subject to minimum numbers in order to run.