Postgraduate study
Nursing, Midwifery & Health Professions

Doctor of Professional Practice

The Doctor of Professional Practice (DrPP) is a multi-professional course, not restricted to health professionals, which recognises that contemporary professional practice encompasses a variety of disciplines. The DrPP enables professionals from a wide range of professions or disciplines to create knowledge which advances practice through the use of advanced research skills, creativity, critical thinking, advanced problem-solving and knowledge translation skills, along with analytical and conceptual abilities.

Course information

Full-time

  • 3 years

More full-time details

2018 entry

Part-time

  • 4 years

More part-time details

2018 entry

Contact details

Further information

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The concept of professional practice is an overarching term which defines all occupations that involve actions rooted in context; actions that are underpinned by education and a body of knowledge. This course fosters innovation and creativity, providing you with the opportunity to critically analyse, synthesise and enhance concepts, meanings and intentions which underpin the theoretical dimensions of actions relating to your professional practice or discipline. The DrPP facilitates you to independently add to and enhance the body of knowledge that determines and defines your professional focus on practice. The professional focus of the DrPP is defined by a piece of advanced independent work specific to your area of professional practice.



The DrPP course contains three Level 8 taught modules (totaling 120 credits) and an independent research project (300 credits) that is defined through a viva voce examination. You can complete this course as a full-time or part-time student taking advantage of flexible modes of learning accessible through attendance, distance learning or a combination of both.


The course structure is dependent on whether your mode of study is full-time or part-time.


Full-time route

The full-time route lasts a minimum of three years. The three taught modules are delivered in Year 1 of the course.


The first module is the Advanced Independent Work Preparation and Management module which prepares you for undertaking the final piece of advanced independent work. This module also includes support with academic writing and the key skills necessary for studying at doctorate level.

In Semester 1, you also commence the Project Specific Negotiated Learning module. This module spans across Semester’s 1 and 2 to spread the work-load and assessments across the first year of the course.

The Promoting Scholarship by Writing for Publication module commences in Semester 2, you also start to work on a piece of advanced independent work in the module Professional Practice Advanced Independent Work. This provides you with an opportunity to develop areas of interest regarding an article for publication which relates to the piece of advanced independent work.

In Year’s 2 and 3, as a full-time student, you continue with the piece of advanced independent work in the module Professional Practice Advanced Independent Work, at the end of which you submit a robust doctoral level piece of advanced independent work.

Part-time route

The part-time route lasts a minimum of four years. The taught component is delivered across the first and second year of the course.

The first module in Semester 1 is Advanced Independent Work Preparation and Management which prepares you for undertaking the final piece of advanced independent work. You also receive support with academic writing and the key skills necessary for studying at doctorate level.

The Promoting Scholarship by Writing for Publication module commences in Year 1, Semester 2, at the same time as you start to work on a piece of advanced independent work in the module Professional Practice Advanced Independent Work. This provides you with an opportunity to develop areas of particular interest regarding an article for publication which relates to the piece of advanced independent work. The Project Specific Negotiated Learning module begins in Year 2, Semester 1, and spans into Semester 2, to spread the work-load and assessments across the academic year.

In Year’s 3 and 4, as a part-time student, you continue with your piece of advanced independent work in the module Professional Practice Advanced Independent Work, at the end of which you submit a robust doctoral level piece of advanced independent work.

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The DrPP course modules enable professionals from a wide range of professions to develop advanced research skills, critical thinking, advanced problem-solving skills, knowledge translation skills, analytical skills, and the conceptual abilities necessary for a dynamic, contemporary, professional practice environment.

The Advanced Independent Work Preparation and Management module enables you to build advanced skills and knowledge in research methods and project management. The key focus of this module includes extending your advanced understanding of theoretical paradigms underpinning research, advanced project management, data collection and analysis, research ethics and governance with an emphasis on the application to your specific professional practice or discipline.

The Project Specific Negotiated Learning module offers you the opportunity to explore a negotiated topic in your specific area of practice and study it in-depth, critically evaluating relevant theory and research and linking such theory to practice. The content of this module is dependent upon your negotiated learning contract developed at the beginning of the semester by you and your allocated supervising tutor. Support is provided for you on using the virtual learning environment (VLE).

The Promoting Scholarship by Writing for Publication module equips you with the skills to disseminate knowledge through publication; focusing on writing and submitting an article to a peer-reviewed journal. You develop key skills including clarifying appropriate knowledge for dissemination, understanding impact factors, preparing a journal article for publication, and negotiating the journal submission process.

The Professional Practice Advanced Independent Work module helps you to consolidate your learning experiences through the development of a self-initiated advanced independent research project. The module enables you to act independently and with originality to implement a research project for the generation of new knowledge application or by enhancing understanding at the forefront of your specific area of practice.

Course structure

Modules for this course will appear here soon.

Modules offered may vary.

How you learn

The DrPP offers the opportunity to develop advanced research skills appropriate for conducting a piece of advanced independent work. You learn from, and work alongside, experienced and prolific researchers within their own area of practice. The course strengthens your ability to disseminate findings through publication which is an important aspect in your career progression, whilst aiming to contribute to knowledge and practice within your own professional area.


The curriculum is research-led, research-orientated, research-tutored and research-based. The course team have a good cross-University skills mix which includes expertise in both undertaking research as well as teaching about research methodology. The course team have significant expertise in learning and teaching along with active researchers in their own speciality areas. The wide-ranging skills mix is utilised to support the delivery of the course and the synergy between teaching and research, which is an integral part of the doctorate course.

The learning and teaching strategies throughout the course focus attention on developing the independent learning skills which you need to succeed and accomplish the final piece of advanced independent work. The specific strategies have a heavy focus on student-led learning and aim to foster your ability to engage in critical discussion of the content being delivered, and to apply core knowledge and concepts to understanding complex issues in both professional and research practice. Support to facilitate the transition to doctorate level study is a key feature of the course. You can undertake this course either by attending taught classes, through distance learning, or through a flexible combination of both.


Attendance learning

You learn through a variety of teaching methods, including seminars, IT practical sessions, guided independent study, tutorial support and supervision. Within seminars the focus is on student-led debate and discussion to challenge you to develop your ability to think critically, and to support you in developing the skills to defend your standpoint on issues relevant to your research and practice development. Students on the attendance mode are encouraged to embrace e-learning through using the VLE which is used as a repository for learning materials including pre-reading materials, guided independent study and extra reading after sessions. Learning is supported through the use of the student cohort community (SCC) which is a student-led, peer-support mechanism based on the principles of action learning. The SCC aims to enhance retention and progression through peer support and provides a mechanism for staff and students to work in partnership to enhance student learning.

Distance learning

If you are undertaking the course through distance learning, teaching methods include use of the VLE where written learning materials, narrated PowerPoint presentations, webinars, interactive structured learning materials and activities are placed. As a distance learning student, you are encouraged to participate in a range of discussion forums using VLE platforms such as the discussion board, wikis and blogs. Through use of Panopto software you are able to join live sessions at a distance if you wish. Panopto software is the University’s platform that supports distance learning – it has a webcast live feature which allows users at a distance to attend sessions synchronously. More support for distance learners has been built into all modules to ensure parity in the learning experience between distance learners and attending students. Learning is supported through the use of the online learners’ community café which is a peer support mechanism for distance learners. You are required to contribute to the topical discussions using online platforms on the VLE, for example the discussion board, wikkis and blogs.

Flexible learning

Flexible learning includes a mix of both attendance and distance learning, and you have a choice regarding
which sessions you physically attend or interact with from a distance.

How you are assessed

The assessment methods guide you towards developing the academic skills necessary for studying at doctoral level and to achieve the learning outcomes of the programme.

A variety of assessment methods are used on the programme. Formative assessment is used in a number of modules to support your learning and provide you with the opportunity for feedback on your academic skills, and for the development of your academic writing and referencing skills, before you attempt the summative assessment.

Summative assessment methods utilise a range of approaches such as written reports, statistical analysis, written research proposals, oral and written exam, essays, action plan write up, case study write up, defended poster, journal article for publication, a thesis for the research project and a viva voce examination. The range of approaches used enable you to develop your theoretical knowledge, research skills and key transferable skills including written and verbal communication, IT and numerical skills; relevant for public health professional practice and research.

Entry requirements


The DrPP course is suitable for applicants who may have substantial industry experience and wish to study a PhD level qualification that relates directly to and draws from their professional practice.

The admission criteria to the DrPP course is outlined below:

• applicants who have completed the equivalent of 120 level 7 credits in the form of a postgraduate diploma or master’s or MPhil course normally within the last five years

• applicants who completed a postgraduate diploma or master’s qualification outside of five years will normally need to demonstrate currency of the qualification through two years professional experience in a relevant field and an employer’s letter confirming the applicant uses the learning regularly in practice, or provide modules of equivalent learning

• all applicants, both UK based and international will take part in a pre-admission discussion designed to explore student expectations and appropriateness for the course. This takes place through the use of digital platforms for international students

• applicants whose first language is not English will need to satisfy the English language requirements which are a minimum overall score of 6.5 IELTS and 5.5 in each band

• other University standard entry criteria apply.

Applicants may apply for advanced standing through the University’s Recognition of Prior Learning procedures (RPL) or through an approved articulation.

For additional information please see the entry requirements in our admissions section

International applicants can find out what qualifications they need by visiting Your Country

Course information

Full-time

  • 3 years

More full-time details

2018 entry

Part-time

  • 4 years

More part-time details

2018 entry

Contact details

Further information