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Professional Doctorate

Prof Mark Drakeford, SOCSI


The Professional Doctorate programme at Cardiff University School of Social Sciences is aimed at a wide range of professionals practicing in the areas of Education (Education Doctorate), Health (Doctor of Health Studies), Social Work (Doctor of Social Work) and Social and Public Policy  (Doctor of Social and Public Policy). It offers the opportunity to examine leading edge theories and research evidence in order to understand the social impact of policies and practices in the context of these three professions. The professional doctorate programme also provides opportunities for inter-professional learning, allowing education, health, social work and social and public policy students to reflect on what is shared across these professional boundaries and what is distinctive about practice in these particular occupational traditions. In addition to generic modules about theory and method in the study of professional practice, students take specialist modules on education, health, social work and social and public policy.


Programme of Study

The degree consists of two major elements:

Part one | eight taught modules each with a 4,000 word equivalent assignment

Part two | research thesis of 35,000 – 50,000 words in length reflecting a particular interest of relevant to a student’s area of professional practice. Theses may be desk-based or students may opt to conduct field-work.

All students are required to take 8 modules of study prior to progressing to thesis stage

All students are required to take 8 modules of study.

Five research training compulsory modules:
» Research Design
» Changing Modes of Professionalism
» Quantitative Research Methods
» Qualitative Research Methods
» Research and Evidence-Based Policy and Practice

One generic optional module. Provisions may very each year, but the following have been available recently:
» Social Policy
» Public Sector Management
» Negotiating Equality and Diversity in Policy and Practice

Two compulsory specialist modules:
» Social Contexts of Education
» Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century

Social Work
» Management in Social Care
» Advanced Social Work Practice

Health Studies
» Health, Medicine and Society
» Community, Sustainable Health and Well-Being

Social and Public Policy
» Public Policy Administration
» Partnerships and Multi-Agency Working: Theory and Practice

With the exception of “Changing Modes of Professionalism”, which is the first compulsory module that introduces the programme, the rest may be taken in any order.


Teaching Methods

As virtually all students will be part-time with substantial professional commitments, modules will normally be taught intensively over 2½ days, with suitable pre and post reading and activities. All modules generally start on Thursday at 5.00pm and continue Friday and Saturday concluding by late afternoon. Teaching in the School is carried out through lecturers and smaller seminars and workshops where the emphasis is on discussion.


The taught element should normally be completed in two years, with the thesis to be completed within a further three years.

Entry Requirements

The basic entry requirements are that candidates should possess a good first degree and normally a Masters degree; they should also have two or more years’ professional experience in a field related to their chosen programme. As some of the assessments will require practice and evaluation in a workplace, it will normally be a condition of entry that applicants have access to professional settings in an appropriate professional field.


Tution Fees

Please visit the postgraduate fees section for the most up to date information.


The course has a single, annual, admission date in late September every year. Applications are welcomed until 1st July.

How to apply

Please visit the `how to apply' section. Informal enquiries about the research degrees and application forms to be addressed to:

Professional Doctorate Programme
+44 (0)29 208 70855, extension 70855