Professional Doctorate in Health
Join our live chat
If you are interested in studying this programme, then we invite you to attend our live question and answer session in May to find out more.
Qualifications and durations
This is a part-time distance-learning programme (it can be completed in four, or up to eight years)
The programme has the following exit awards:
- MSc Research in Health Practice (three years)
- Postgraduate Diploma in Health Research (two years)
- Postgraduate Certificate in Health Research (one year)
Anne Holdoway talks about the programme.
The Professional Doctorate in Health is designed for a range of health and social care professionals who are interested in furthering their development as expert practitioners and researchers in practice.
By utilising web-based delivery blended with Summer Schools (typically five days in length), the programme aims to meet the learning needs of busy health and social care practitioners.
During the first two years of study you will complete a series of units covering research methods, evidence based practice, comparative health policy and other topics relevant to research in practice. Throughout the first two years you will also be developing a protocol for your doctoral research project. Unlike the PhD programme, we do not expect you to have a well-developed research protocol before commencing your studies. Your Personal Development Adviser (PDA) will work with you to develop your research plans, before handing over to an academic and practice-based supervisor during the second year.
- Carry out independent research and understand research methods whilst remaining in your practice area.
- Choose your learning style within a flexible environment amongst a multi-professional community.
- Expand your understanding of policy and practice in the context of international healthcare systems and service.
Time required for study
We recognise that many of our students are in demanding full-time health or social care jobs and the Professional Doctorate in Health programme is designed to be flexible and supportive in order to accommodate these demands. However, you will need to be able to commit at least 15 hours per-week (on average) to your studies, either through study leave or by working during evenings, weekends and holidays.
Transfer to the PhD programme
If who wish to exit with a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) award, rather than the DHealth (Professional Doctorate in Health) award, then you may apply to do so at the end of the first or second year of study, while retaining the flexible mode of delivery and supervision designed for the Professional Doctorate in Health programme.
This is a flexible programme. You will typically study over four or five years, but may take up to eight years (if required).
- Research project preparation and planning
- Introduction to practice based research
- Research design and methods
- Evidence into practice
- Research project design and development
- Professional issues in health 1 (policy)
- Professional issues in health 2 (practice)
Year three/four (Doctorate)
Learning and teaching
Teaching takes the form of online units, which include resource libraries, access to all of the online journals (held by the University of Bath Library), and a structured series of activities and online discussion boards.
All resources can be accessed through ‘PD Online’ - our bespoke virtual learning environment. You will also be able to submit your assignments on PD Online and communicate directly with staff and your fellow students.
A Summer School is held once a year at the University (most often in September). You will attend one Summer School/Induction during your first year and one Summer School at the beginning of the second year.
Your tutor will provide support for your assignment preparation, as well as learning needs analysis and personal development planning.
The ‘research and thesis’ phase will be supervised by a panel of specialists; comprising a University academic member of staff (to ensure that the work is of a sufficient standard), and a practice-based specialist (to ensure that the work is at the forefront of practice).
Methods of assessment
Assessment consists of a combination of written assignments, literature reviews, research protocols and reflective accounts. There are no written examinations.
You will also produce a portfolio of evidence of application to practice, and have to undertake a face-to-face transfer interview and a final viva.
Academic and professional requirements
- First or 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate subject, from a recognised university, (this may be waived if you have a higher degree, or can demonstrate a track record of practice based research that has been published in peer reviewed journals) and
- One year post-qualification, graduation or registration experience in an appropriate context (normally health, social care, education or clinical/medical context).
English Language requirements
Certificates must be dated to within two years of the start of the programme of study.
- IELTS 7 (with no less than 6.5 in each component)
- PTE Academic of 69 with no less than 62 in any component
One reference is required from your employer or line-manager.
This should describe your academic capability, how the Professional Doctorate in Health will aid your professional development, and also indicate that you will be able to meet the time requirements for your studies.
If you have recently completed a University based programme of study you may also submit an academic reference in support of your application, although this is optional.
To apply for this programme please complete the online application form (there is no need to provide a comprehensive research proposal at the application stage, however, please outline your research interests in section seven of the application form).
- 28 June 2014 for International Students (who need to apply for a UK Visa).
- 31 July 2014 for Home/EU students.
Tel: +44 (0)1225 38 5233
- Frequently Asked Questions about this programme
- Department for Health
- Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences Graduate School
- Programme specification
Main areas of research
The Department carries out research and teaching in health, medicine, exercise and sport, making significant contributions to national and international health agendas.
The Department aims to produce high-quality research with a strongly applied focus. We aim to contribute to promoting the health of the population and to improving the quality and efficiency of the health services that people rely on and pursue this agenda with a variety of partners at local, regional, national and international levels. Our work is organised around the two main themes of population health and healthcare. We are also pleased to offer a range of Research degrees.
Historically, health policy has focused almost exclusively on sickness services provided by agencies such as the National Health Service. Although this focus on healthcare remains hugely important, it is increasingly complemented by aspirations to improve the health of the population by tackling the social determinants of health such as poverty and pollution and by encouraging people to adopt health promoting behaviours such as healthy diets and increased physical activity and to stop health damaging ones such as smoking. There is also growing national and international concern that improvements in health should be fairly distributed by reducing health inequalities. The Department for Health organises its work related to population health improvement in three main ways. Much the largest element in the population health portfolio is related to sport, health and exercise science, but the School attaches growing importance to tobacco control and health inequalities.
The Department’s expertise in Healthcare focuses on innovation in the design, delivery, organization, and evaluation of healthcare interventions. We have a particular emphasis on disabling and distressing, long term or life-limiting conditions, such as chronic pain, stroke, dementia, rheumatic disease, and severe mental health problems. Current research activity involves collaborations with NHS colleagues in Bath at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases – RNHRD, the Royal United Hospital, the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Care Trust, the Pan Bath & Swindon Primary Care Research Consortium and RehabNET.
Faculties in the Department have significant research expertise and experience in a range of topics including:
- Addictions and addictive behaviour
- Alcohol, drugs and the family
- Assistive technology and rehabilitation
- Child and adolescent cognitive behavioural therapy
- Complex Regional Pain Syndromes
- Dementia care
- Evidence based pain management
- Leadership and change
- Mental health service development and evaluation
- Spondolarthropathy disease and related disability
- Stroke rehabilitation
- Work, health and wellbeing.
The School for Health was established within the University of Bath in 2003, to centralise the high profile research and teaching in the health-related disciplines already taking place throughout the university, so creating a single entity through which links with the health sector at national and international level can be channelled, co-ordinated and developed.
In 2010 the School joined the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences and became the Department for Health, providing excellent opportunities for academic teaching and research collaborations with other departments, such as Psychology and Social & Policy Sciences. The Department's postgraduate teaching and research programmes now form part of the Faculty's new Graduate School, also launched in 2010, providing postgraduate students with dedicated support and a strong community in which to base their studies - whether on campus or by distance learning.
In keeping with government initiatives surrounding population health and more general public concerns, the Department divides its activities between two main pillars: Healthcare and Population Health – one focuses on the NHS, healthcare and health services research and the other focuses on population health, healthy living, sport & physical activity and tobacco control; each of these groups, in turn, contain both teaching programmes and research activities. Furthermore, there is a bridging spine between both pillars and which houses the Professional Doctorate in Health, Research in Health Practice and the administrative, finance, learning & teaching development, marketing and support activities of the Department.
The Department’s aims are:
- To develop a research portfolio that is both of the highest academic standard and has applications in the real world
- To build on external links with the public services and other bodies concerned with health and society
- To innovate design and delivery of healthcare services
- To change corporate approaches to healthy organisations
- To support government reform of health and social care provision
- To identify and facilitate opportunities for academic collaboration and new developments.
The Department's postgraduate taught programmes combine academic excellence with flexible and innovative design and delivery; our postgraduate portfolio is distinguished by the provision of a number of Professional Masters and a Professional Doctorate programme designed to be studied part-time by learners working in a wide range of healthcare roles from all around the world. All our postgraduate courses are taught online and this has proved to be one of our unique selling points, with students able to continue within their practice area or working environment whilst gaining a further qualification.
The Department is renowned for its exemplary attention to educational design, integrating knowledge with research evidence and resulting in programmes which are highly relevant to contemporary practice; in addition, the Department boasts some of the most innovative and successful approaches to online and part-time education, recognised through a number of awards.
At all levels, learning and teaching in the Department provides a strong focus on high quality education for real world situations and produces graduates with skills and knowledge relevant to professional roles and in high demand from employers.
Teaching programmes on offer within the Department include:
- Sport & Exercise Medicine, the world renowned flexible masters programme exclusively for doctors
- Sports Physiotherapy, a specialist programme designed by physiotherapists for physiotherapists
- Research in Health Practice, a programme launched in 2008 aimed at health and social care professionals interested in conducting their own research
- The innovative Professional Doctorate in Health which focuses on both Population Health and Healthcare within the Department, providing a doctoral level programme to develop expert practitioners and researchers in practice.
Facilities, equipment, other resources
Sport and exercise science and medical science laboratories. Close links with the English Institute of Sport and the Department of Sports Development and Recreation.
International and industrial links
There are current links with primary care trusts, strategic health authorities, the two hospitals in Bath and colleagues in industry. The Department works closely with esteemed international academic institutions, and individual health practitioners, in order to meet the regional, national and global challenges facing health and social care.
Postgraduate research students gain a wealth of experience to assist them with their next step and are offered personal career advice at the University. The Department has an established research training skills programme for all research students. The taught programmes enable students to extend their health and social care career pathways and to build important networks for further professional opportunities.