The professional doctorate is a part-time doctoral research degree. It is fully equivalent to the PhD, but substantially different from it in that it is strongly professionally oriented, focussing on ‘applied’ rather than ‘pure’ research.
While the PhD generally prepares candidates for a research-based career, the professional doctorate is a more in-service orientated degree, addressing the career needs of practising professionals, particularly those in or who aspire to senior positions within their professions. The linkages between research-based knowledge and its application in a wide range of professional settings are central to this doctorate.
We offer an integrated professional doctorate scheme within which education, health, social work and social policy professionals engage together in integrated learning for some of the taught modules. This unique inter-professional learning allows you to reflect on what is shared across professional boundaries and what is distinctive to their own occupational traditions.
Above all, a professional doctorate is an opportunity to examine contemporary leading theories and research evidence, and to apply these within the professional context.
The SPPD taught modules are designed to respond to the developmental needs and interests of those employed within UK reginal government and local authorities, as well as research institutions (both statutory and independent) with a professional interest in social and public policy. The modules prepare students to make informed judgements on complex issues such as the successful construction and operation of ‘multi-level’ and ‘inclusive’ governance and its implications for policy-making; negotiating the requirements of equal opportunities legislation; and administration responsibilities in public policy settings. The modules draw on a range of theoretical perspectives and explore empirical studies that relate to the public, private and voluntary sectors.
The other distinctive pathways within the professional doctorate scheme are:
- Doctor of Education (EdD)
- Doctor of Social Work (DSW)
- Doctor of Health Studies (DHS)