Taught course

Health and Social Care Professional Practice, Doctorate

Teesside University · School of Health and Social Care
DProf by taught

Entry requirements

You should have: >evidence of studying at master's level in a relevant health and social care-related subject >a minimum of two years' post-qualification practice experience in a health or social care environment working in a role that will enable you to facilitate change.

Months of entry


Course content

This course offers you access to practice-based doctoral study which enables you to maximise your full potential in the changing landscape of both higher education and the health and social care workplace. The value of doctoral study is evidenced in documents such as Careers in the NHS services, the report to the National Allied Health Professional Advisory Board: Modernising allied health professional careers programme (2011), and The future of universities in a knowledge economy (2009). The common theme is that postgraduate qualifications are becoming a necessity for developing careers in particular public and private sectors. It is increasingly evident that postgraduate degrees will become the minimum qualification for entry to certain health and social care professions.

With a growing number of healthcare professionals achieving senior and consultant level roles, higher level qualifications are increasingly required. Engagement with our doctorate programme places you at the forefront of strengthening the flow of knowledge and skills at the highest level into health and social care.

At Teesside University you benefit from the close and long-established working partnerships between the University and the workplace. Study at this level is both challenging and rewarding.

What you study

The course is structured in two stages, enabling a logical development of your skills and knowledge to ensure that you acquire the level necessary for successful completion. To be awarded this doctorate you must achieve 540 credits in total.

Stage 1
This stage helps you advance your scholarship and independent inquiry to doctoral level. The emphasis is on enhancing your knowledge and understanding of the research process and building a strong knowledge base of quantitative and qualitative approaches that are applied to research within professional practice. The directed study aspects of this stage are a fundamental prerequisite to accessing the Advanced Independent Research Project in stage 2.

Stage 1 covers academic years 1 and 2. You access four modules, two advanced research modules – which form the research methods training component of the programme – and two practice or discipline-specific modules. We recently introduced a new module, Leading a Caring and Compassionate Culture in response to the Francis Inquiry.

Successful completion of stage 1 enables you to:

  • identify an area from practice or professional discipline
  • review and contextualise the area within knowledge and theory
  • design a change for practice and professional discipline
  • implement the change process
  • evaluate the change
  • appraise the implications for practice or professional discipline.

Stage 2
The final stage covers a three-year period when you focus on the Advanced Independent Research Project. This module allows you to integrate and synthesise the knowledge and skills you have developed throughout your study. This culminates in a piece of independent autonomous work which significantly contributes to developing new knowledge or theory relating to your practice or a professional discipline. You also access the modules, Innovation and Enterprise for Excellence in Practice, and Promoting Scholarship through Writing for Publication. This last module helps you to develop the skills to disseminate your work.

How you learn

You experience a variety of learning and teaching strategies throughout the programme, complying with the UK Council for Graduate Education (2002) which states that at doctoral level ‘teaching has to become more a matter of guidance and mentoring rather than a didactic transfer process’. This means that, by using supervised support at the beginning of the programme, you quickly become independent and autonomous, and able to undertake the research dissertation in stage 2. The programme team promotes and supports an independent approach to learning. Your academic module tutors and supervisors are seen largely as supporting your autonomous development, enabling you to advance and evaluate your personal and professional practice or discipline.

Throughout the programme you engage with supervisory-led and supporting strategies such as facilitating debates, seminars, workshops, action learning sets and presentations. You are encouraged towards independent autonomous working with the support of the independent project research supervisory team within a student cohort community (SCC). We use a range of teaching and learning strategies, appropriate to the material and concepts within the programme, while considering the varying learning styles within your student cohort by using academic and personal tutors.

This programme has been commended for its student-led strategies, particularly the SCC which is an integral part of the overall programme. Our students, who come from a variety of experiences and knowledge bases, all contribute to student learning on the programme. The principles of action learning form the basis of the SCC – these are initially academic or tutor-led and subsequently student-led. This aspect of the programme focuses purely on the needs of individual students and their specific aspect of development in practice. You are encouraged to share ideas and issues within the cohort community. This approach encourages you to share and develop knowledge, and promotes a more open approach to discussions around practice and professional issues. You realise that similar issues arise across different aspects of practice or professional development.

Throughout your study we use facilitated debates to introduce key concepts which can be further explored in seminar, tutorial and workshop sessions. A recognised strength of this programme is that our learning and teaching strategies encourage multidisciplinary debate and the exchange of practice and professional issues.

An important feature of the programme is developing your transferable skills, such as communication and IT skills. You are encouraged to use and further develop these skills in student-led seminars and workshops.

How you are assessed

The primary role of assessments is to enable you to demonstrate how you have achieved the specified learning outcomes. We use a variety of assessment strategies:

  • to provide variety of experience
  • to challenge and extend your knowledge base
  • to give feedback as a basis for advancement
  • as a measure of your learning and skill development.

The programme is cumulative – successful completion of Stage 1 is required to enter the final Stage 2. The title of Doctor of Health and Social Care Professional Practice is awarded on successfully completing the Advanced Independent Research Project. We use a number of different assessments across the programme so as not to disadvantage some students. Assessments are used to guide you towards:

  • appropriate knowledge
  • developing an appropriate depth of understanding
  • developing the relevant skills to enable you to contribute significantly to developing knowledge within practice or professional discipline.

Examples of the types of assessment you complete are:

  • oral examination
  • presentation
  • writing proposal
  • report
  • essay
  • viva voce defence (viva).

The assessment strategies provide a balance between tutor-selected material as a focus and student-selected topics. This ensures that assessments can measure progress in key skills but that there is sufficient flexibility within the programme as a whole to allow you to identify and follow up areas of interest and, where appropriate, to link with your professional role.

Career opportunities

The course provides you with the opportunity to develop as a visionary leader who will have an impact on the social and economic future of health and social care.

Fees and funding

Please note that due to current anticipated changes to NHS education and HE funding, information will be updated on the website. Please check this prior to application.

Qualification and course duration

DProf by taught

part time
60 months


AssessmentWhat kind of work will I be doing? (proportionally)
Written/ formal examinations5
Written coursework / continuous assessment45
Dissertation50 (60000 words)

Course contact details

School of Health & Social Care Admissions
+44 (0)1642 384176