Post- graduate





Contact UCLan

Course Enquiries
University of Central Lancashire
Preston, PR1 2HE, UK.

Tel: +44 (0)1772 892400
Email: cenquiries@uclan.ac.uk

  • Duration:

    Part-time: 5 - 7 years

  • Level:


  • Mode:


  • Delivery:

    Mixed Mode, Part-time

  • Campus:


  • Start Date:

    September and January

  • Award Type:


Why study this programme?

The Professional Doctorate in Health (DProf ) is an exciting initiative, and will provide you with a high level, vocationally focused award, suitable for a broad range of healthcare practitioners. This includes, but is not limited to nurses, medical/paramedical practitioners, allied health professionals, practitioners of a complementary and alternative medicine, midwives, and health care educators.

Offering an equivalent to PhD level, the DProf provides an opportunity to complete an advanced programme of study, focused on your individual needs. The programme builds upon an existing suite of awards for the professional education of practitioners.  The two-stage structure (MSc/DProf ) means that you can progressively develop your research in practice part-time culminating in doctoral research.

The doctorate uses a range of Masters modules for Stage 1.  Stage 2 comprises the doctoral research at Level 8 taking you through to your final thesis.  Depending on the modules chosen the modes of study may include campus study or e-learning.

Find out more about our virtual open days Find out more about our virtual open days

Entry Requirements

There are several entry points onto the Professional Doctorate.

  1. Students will register for the Professional Doctorate on entry into Stage 1, with at least a first degree in an appropriate subject at 2:1 or above and professional practice experience. Advice and support will be provided by the Course Leader to ensure their profile is appropriate. 
  2. Students identify their wish to enter the Professional Doctorate when they have completed the PG Diploma. They will have completed two healthcare research modules, one research and ethics module and three option modules or their equivalent. Participants will have achieved an overall grade of 60% or over. 
  3. Students will enter the programme having completed an appropriate Masters programme. Participants will have achieved an overall grade of 60% or over, and have completed equivalent of the compulsory research modules.

Entry by applicants with appropriate postgraduate qualifications will be considered for entry with advanced standing.

Applicants who meet the criteria for entry will be interviewed providing an opportunity to evaluate potential to benefit and succeed. Interviews will include discussion of the proposed research area to ensure appropriate supervisory team allocation.

Programme at a Glance

Stage 1

Stage One consists of both core and option modules accessing a range of research and professional practice perspectives. This allows you to develop both research and practitioner inquiry skills alongside your CPD and professional understanding of your field.

Stage One involves completion of 120 credits at NQF Level 7 providing an exit award of the UCLan Postgraduate Diploma in Health.

Stage 2

Stage Two involves completion of a 65,000 word (minimum) thesis at NQF Level 8 on your applied professional research. There are no taught modules at this stage.

Target award Professional Doctorate in Health. Total credits = 420 at Level 8. Those of you with a relevant Masters degree may be able to enter with advanced standing directly into Stage 2. Please contact the Course Leader to discuss further.

Further Information

The award of DProf consists of two stages. The first stage is made up of the taught element of the programme. The second stage comprises independent research leading to the submission of a thesis.

Learning outcome & aims

The Programme Learning Outcomes address the 4 areas of ‘Knowledge and Understanding’, ‘Subject-specific skills’, ‘Thinking Skills’ and other skills relevant to employment, which characterise the concept of a professional practitioner contributing through research to the advancement of both knowledge and practice. They also comply with the objectives of the Research Skills Council.
By the end of the PrD, participants will be able to:

  1. Create, synthesise, interpret and critique new knowledge through original research and advanced scholarship of a quality to satisfy peer review, extend the forefront of their discipline and merit publication
  2. Play a leading role in the promotion, development and support of a research culture within practitioners own communities of practice and its wider context.
  3. Critically appraise and apply techniques for research and advanced academic enquiry
  4. Apply critical understanding of how applied research can inform, develop, and impact on professional practice and processes of change.
  5. Be able to communicate ideas and conclusions clearly and effectively to specialist and non-specialist audiences in clinical and research contexts
  6. Reflect critically upon the inter-relationship between policy, research and developing professional practice.

Further information about the course can be obtained from the course co-ordinators.

Course Leader

Dr Victoria Hall Moran
Tel: +44 (0)1772 893830
Email: vlmoran@uclan.ac.uk

Deputy Course Leader

Dr Lois Thomas
Tel: +44 (0)1772 893643 
Email: lhthomas@uclan.ac.uk

How to Apply

Our Postgraduate section has more information around applying including visiting UCLan and the support available.

If you want to continue and apply now, you can apply for many of the postgraduate UCLan courses using our Online Application System.

For other postgraduate courses you can apply directly to UCLan by downloading a Postgraduate Application Form (.pdf 190KB) please also see our Postgraduate Application Guidance Notes (.pdf 158KB).


For detailed information about studying this course at UCLan, please see the course handbook for your year of entry:

For information on possible changes to course information, see our Important Information.


Apply now or see further information about postgraduate study and research. International students should visit our international pages.

Contact Us

Tel: +44 (0)1772 892400

Email: cenquiries@uclan.ac.uk

Fees 2020/21

Full-time: N/A
Part-time: £2,650 per year (UK/EU)

Further information:

For 2019/20 fees please refer to our fees page.

Learning Environment and Assessment

Teaching and Learning activities will comprise seminars, workshops, lectures and independent learning. The course will primarily focus on interactive and discursive participant centred activity to ensure you are encouraged to ‘make sense’ and explore your research informed practice development. You will also be encouraged through E-learn and through assignments to continue debates and discussions beyond the classroom in the virtual environment, supported by the team where appropriate. Assignments will be especially important as they will be an opportunity for you to progress your research, synthesise and explore your knowledge and practice critically and reflexively as is appropriate for the researching professional.

To gain the doctorate, candidates need to pass both the ‘taught’ and ‘research’ elements. After completing Stage 1, the Masters level, you work toward Stage 2.

The assessment on the DProf  has been carefully planned to support and complement your research and learning, and in particular to maximise your ability to progress your individual doctoral research. You will find it is characterised by a requirement to engage in critical reflexivity and interrogation of your own research and that of others and to reflect the research planning and development cycle. Our use of the full calendar year for the award means that you can maximise periods of reduced academic demand for reflection and writing as befits a practitioner-researcher, especially given the way you may make use of your practice to situate and focus your research.

All assignments on ‘taught modules’ must be completed and achieve a minimum grade of 60% in order to progress to the research element of the course.
The doctoral thesis and oral exam will be accompanied by a final judgement from the examiners as outlined below:

Following the completion of the examination the examiners may recommend:

(i) that the candidate pass the research element of the award;
(ii) that the candidate pass the research element of the award subject to minor amendments being made to the thesis to the satisfaction of the internal examiner;
(iii) that the candidate be referred and be permitted to resubmit the thesis for re-examination without a further oral examination;
(iv) that the candidate be referred and be permitted to resubmit the thesis for re-examination and undergo a further oral examination.

Academic Expertise

In the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2008), the School was recognised as being within the top nine of UK universities for Nursing and Midwifery research with over 50 per cent of research being regarded to be of international standing. The School has a large professoriate with 12 Professors, three Readers and over 40 Research Fellows working within specialist teams engaged in applied healthcare research contributing to enhancement of policy and public services.

 There are nine research themes within the School:

  • Cancer, Supportive and Palliative Care 
  • Children's Nursing 
  • Healthy Settings 
  • Mental Health Nursing 
  • Midwifery 
  • Professional Ethics 
  • Social Inclusion 
  • Stroke

The Programme Team comprises a highly experienced research active team of staff and you will be supervised by a member of staff with PhD or professional doctoral background


The professional doctorate in health is about developing your professional self and your ability to lead and contribute to the development of work and research. As such, this award is about career, professional and personal development and expertise and your organisational impact. The team will use the taught programme and associated research events, as well as your growing confidence as a member of a research community to maximise your engagement with a wide and diverse group of applied educational researchers giving you a rich experience and opportunities that will shape your reflection and professional self. You will also receive invitations to take advantage of careers support and guidance through our Careers service and the Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning in Employability.