- Doctoral skills online
- Online resources
- Research project
- Supervisory team
Enhance your professional capability and critical reflection on the theories, methods and practices of policymaking.
This course is designed to enable experienced professionals working in a range of policy arenas – locally, nationally, and globally – to develop their policy analysis expertise without having to take a full career break.
Combining advanced training in policy research and analysis with a thesis based on original research, it is built around a cohort model and can be spread out over four to six years.
Throughout the course, you will have access to a wide range of sector-specific expertise across the University, including industrial strategy, international development, health, education and digital public policy.
This is a part-time distance-learning course that normally includes face-to-face teaching on a two-week residential, this year held at the end of August and early September. The course is designed to be compatible with near full-time employment over a period of up to six years, with the possibility of being completed more quickly for high-performing students who can allocate more time to study.
This course is designed to:
Read more about students currently enrolled on the course.
Find out more about the people who are most likely to be closely involved in supporting the core units of the professional doctorate.
This course is delivered by the Department of Social & Policy Sciences on behalf of the Institute for Policy Research.
Most students complete this programme in 8 years. You cannot take less than 4 years to finish your research and the maximum time you are allowed is normally 8 years.
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.
The course is structured in two stages: the taught stage and the research enquiry (thesis) stage.
Each academic year starts with a two-week residential, normally held in the first two weeks of September. This is followed by virtual seminars, tutorials, and supervision leading to the submission of assignments at the end of May. Attendance at the annual residential is compulsory for at least the first two years, and thereafter strongly encouraged.
During the first year, you will develop the knowledge and capability to understand and use selected research methodologies, analytical frameworks and models to address key issues within a broad policy context.
You will complete two compulsory core units:
Transformational Policy and Practice
This unit introduces theoretical understandings of policy and policymaking and how they relate to practice. It includes a series of case studies of policymaking and implementation from different countries.
Policy Research Methodology
This unit will develop your knowledge and understanding of the methodologies (philosophic frameworks) employed in policy research, their advantages and disadvantages, as well as the merits of particular quantitative and qualitative methods.
Over the subsequent two years, you choose two specialised units that are relevant to your field of practice, from a choice of up to four units. These enable you to develop and hone specific interests towards the conduct of supervised research. The current optional units are:
We will ask you to choose specialist units during your first year, so we can plan teaching resources for the following year.
You can progress to the research enquiry stage when you have passed four taught units, with a grade of ‘Merit’ or higher for at least two.
You will spend at least two years developing a supervised research enquiry. Supervision is primarily provided virtually over this period but we would normally expect that you adhere to a minimum number of face-to-face contact hours.
We also provide other online support for you during this time including webinars and online forums.
You should engage in skills training at each stage of your course. In the research enquiry stage, we expect you to complete five days of skills development each year. Elements of this training are provided online to ensure greater flexibility for you during your time away from campus. Together with your supervisor or assignment tutor, you will be responsible for identifying your principal training needs and for identifying appropriate developmental opportunities to meet these.
You will have access to the full programme of research skills training courses offered within the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. This programme includes formal training attendance at conferences seminars and workshops as well as subject specific knowledge, skills as a researcher and a range of academic (key) skills which will help you to become an independent learner.
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.
Each core and specialist unit carries 18 credits. You must successfully complete 270 credits (at level 8) to be awarded the DPRP:
Each 18 credit taught unit will normally be assessed through an assignment of 8,000 words – excluding references and annexes. You may be requested to also pass an oral or written defence of their submission.
The Unit Convenor, in consultation with the Director of Studies, designates individual assignment tutors for each student to support work on assignments and to serve as the First Internal Examiner in assessing the assignment. You negotiate the details of each assignment with your designated assignment tutor for the relevant unit.
The 45,000 word supervised thesis will be assessed by the same arrangements and criteria as to those for the award of a PhD.
Appropriate professional experience in the practice of policy or a related field. Students in the programme will normally be expected to have at least three years of experience.
You will normally need one of the following:
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.
Two references are required. At least one of these should be an academic reference from your most recent place of study.
Fees and funding information for Professional Doctorate in Policy Research and Practice DPRP
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.
The accommodation cost (including breakfast) of the Residential programme is included in your course fee but you should budget for the travel and other expenses for the Residential.
You should also budget for:
You will need to budget for accommodation during the two week residential. You will also need to budget for the cost of books, photocopying, printing and binding.
Find funding for doctoral research
You can pay your tuition fees by Direct Debit, debit card, credit card or bank transfer.
Deadline for Home applicants: 30 June 2023 Deadline for Overseas applicants: 30 April 2023
You don't need to provide a comprehensive research proposal at the application stage, however, please outline your research interests in section seven of the application form.
The selection process includes an informal conversation with the Director of Studies.
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.