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Professional Doctorate in Health DHealth

Most students complete this programme in 5 years part-time

Further your development as an expert health practitioner or researcher.

Our DHealth course is well-suited to health and social care professionals looking to develop as practitioners and researchers in practice.

This is a part-time distance-learning programme. By utilising web-based delivery, blended with Online Summer School (typically five days in length), the programme aims to meet the learning needs of busy health and social care practitioners.

You will be able to:

  • choose your learning style within a flexible environment while benefiting from a multi-professional community
  • learn about research methods and conduct independent research whilst remaining in your practice area
  • expand your understanding of policy and practice in the context of international healthcare systems and service.

"Supervising students on the PD Health is hugely rewarding. I enjoy guiding and facilitating my students to develop their research ideas and conduct their doctoral research projects. I feel that providing pastoral support is important, working with each student to codevelop the best study plan for them. Helping my students to further develop their research skills and see them grow in confidence toward becoming an independent researcher is hugely gratifying.”

Dr Nikki Coghill, Doctoral Recognition Awards Staff Award Winner 2023

Department for Health

Programme structure

Most students complete this programme in 5 years. You cannot take less than 3 years to finish your research and the maximum time you are allowed is normally 8 years.

You will start this programme in September.

Occasionally we make changes to our programmes in response to, for example, feedback from students, developments in research and the field of studies, and the requirements of accrediting bodies. You will be advised of any significant changes to the advertised programme, in accordance with our Terms and Conditions.

Your academic progress and general welfare will be monitored by your supervisor.

Academic milestones

  1. Registration
  2. Induction
  3. Taught phase
  4. Candidature
  5. Research
  6. Writing up
  7. Give notice of intention to submit a thesis / portfolio
  8. Submission for examination
  9. Examination (Viva Voce)
  10. Examiners report
  11. Final submission of thesis / portfolio
  12. Graduation

Programme content


  • Design projects
  • Doctoral skills online
  • Interaction and networking
  • Lectures
  • Online resources
  • Practical sessions
  • Real-life case studies
  • Research project
  • Seminars
  • Supervisory team
  • Tutorials
  • Video materials
  • Workshops

Taught content

During the first year of your studies with us (phase 1), your PDA will support and guide your learning needs analysis and personal development planning, along with the development of your Doctoral research project protocol.

At the beginning of your second year (phase 2), we will work with you to appoint your supervisory team, consisting of:

  • an Academic Supervisor, based at the University of Bath
  • a Practice-based Supervisor, who is an expert in the field in which you wish to conduct your research.

Year one

  • Introduction to research
  • Research design and methods
  • Evidence into practice
  • Research project planning

Year two

  • Professional issues in health policy
  • Professional issues in health practice
  • Research project design and development

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, online discussion boards and synchronous webinars.

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 online. You will be expected to attend the online Summer School in September at the beginning of your first year (phase 1) and at the beginning of your second year (phase 2).

Research content

Once you have passed all units in phases 1 and 2, you will take part in a ‘transfer interview’ to enable you to enter into the research phase of your studies.

This will consist of an oral interview with your academic supervisor and another member of academic staff to discuss your proposed Doctoral project and ensure that it is robust and feasible.

Professional Development

Professional development is a crucial element of doctoral study, not only in supporting your research but also as part of your longer term career development. Our DoctoralSkills workshops and courses will help you build your skills and help you succeed in your doctorate.

Read more about professional development support


Assessment methods

  • Coursework
  • Presentations
  • Thesis
  • Viva Voce

Assessment description

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.

Case study

Entry requirements

Academic 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).

Professional requirements

Candidates must have a practice-based role within a health, social care, education or clinical/medical context. This will be a condition of entry onto the programme. Candidates should normally have at least 1 years’ experience within their field.

English Language requirements

You will normally need one of the following:

  • IELTS: 7.0 overall with no less than 6.5 in all components
  • The Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic): 69 with no less than 62 in any element
  • TOEFL IBT: 100 overall with a minimum 24 in all 4 components

You will need to get your English language qualification within 24 months prior to starting your course.

If you need to improve your English language skills before starting your studies, you may be able to take a pre-sessional course to reach the required level.


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.

Additionally, 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.

Fees and funding

Fees and funding information for Professional Doctorate in Health DHealth


Your tuition fees and how you pay them will depend on whether you are a Home or Overseas student.

Learn how we decide fee status

Tuition fees are liable to increase annually for all University of Bath students. If you aren't paying your fees in British pounds, you should also budget for possible fluctuations in your own currency.

Find out more about student fees

How to pay

Funding options

Find funding for doctoral research

Payment options

You can pay your tuition fees by Direct Debit, debit card, credit card or bank transfer.

Read about your payment options

Application information

Selection process

Candidates meeting the entry requirements will normally be invited for an online interview as part of the selection process.

Immigration requirements

If you are an international student, you can find out more about the visa requirements for studying in the UK.

For additional support please contact the Student Immigration Service for matters related to student visas and immigration.

Programme enquiries

Apply for this programme

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