Manchester Metropolitan University

Professional Doctorate in Health and Social Care

2017 entry

Features and benefits of the course

  • Flexible, blended learning programme
  • Practice based inter-professional expertise
  • Academic recognition of professional experience and practice
  • Develops and improves own professional working environment
  • Contemporary approach to integrated health and social care expertise
  • Research informed practice


Sharran Grey"As a scientist I am very ‘quantitatively’ focussed and I didn’t realise how restrictive this was until I started studying the Professional Doctorate. The faculty’s academic staff who teach on the course introduced me to qualitative research methods which allowed me to add an important dimension to my research. They inspired me to develop my skills and design my research using qualitative methods along side the quantitative ones. This allowed me to conduct research that included understanding of patient experience, as well as the ‘science’. I won the 2017 NHS England Chief Scientific Officer’s Award for Partnering Patients and Citizen’s in Healthcare Science. This would not have been possible without the inspirational teaching I received" Sharran Grey

About the course

The Professional Doctorate in Health and Social Care is made up of four core units and students will be able to select one optional unit to complete their studies, which will be closely linked to their areas of professional interest.

This programme is delivered in two phases. Core and optional taught units are studied in the first two years, with the second research phase commencing in year 3.

Students with equivalent doctoral experience may be able to enter the programme in phase 2, please enquire with the programme team for more information.

Typical units of study may include

Year 1

Core Units (40 credits)

  • Collection, Management and Analysis of Data
  • Practitioner Research: Philosophical, Political, Ethical and Practical Issues
  • Person Centred Practice


Core Units
Collection, Management and Analysis of Data

The overall aim of this unit is to provide students with practical experience in relation to the collection, and analysis of data; and enable them to make informed choices in relation to the theoretical and practical strengths and weaknesses of a range of methods of data collection and analysis when considering research design.

Data collection management and analysis (overviews, examples of and practice of collection/analysis) relating to- for example:

1) manipulating things to see what happens;

2) observing things happening directly;

3) asking questions about things;

4) using existing documents and data to find things out

5) measurement and detecting differences.

Such examples will also explore core research design issues (e.g. ethical issues, target populations and sampling, keeping a research journal, validity / accuracy / credibility, basics of quantitative analysis, basics of qualitative analysis).

Person Centred Practice

This unit is concerned with the ways in which people are located at the centre of professional practice. It recognises the communicative and interpersonal aspects of the service user-professional encounter, and the ethical, legal, social and political contexts that frame their engagement.

Principles of ethical person-centred practice; Power, expertise and relationships in health and social care practice and its leadership; Diversity, identity and the self in professional practice contexts; Knowledge and skills for relationship-building, negotiation, leadership and professional effectiveness; Group and organisational awareness, culture and politics.

Practitioner Research: Philosophical, Political, Ethical and Practical Issues

The overall aim of this unit is to enable students to develop their own in depth understanding of a particular tradition of research. It will also facilitate an individual’s ability to critically reflect on various factors that influence the development of research (designed to be carried out by practitioners, into their own field of practice).

Identifying potential researchable problems for the practitioner from within health and social care practice.

Defining research.

Current research in specialist areas of practice. Conformity and diversity in researching health and social care practice.

Exploring different perspectives on research and the research process (underpinning philosophies; methodologies, research designs). Examples from the field – individual approaches to carrying out research (eg generic qualitative research, pragmatic trials, phenomenological research, decision rule development, survey research, narrative research, systematic review, bricolage).

The impact of various factors (personal beliefs about research; previous research in the area; accepted practices, and other political, ethical and practical issues) on research design

The politics of research – stakeholders and differing perspectives on research and practice.

Year 2

Core units (40 credits)

  • Evidence based practice and project planning

Optional Units (20 credits)

  • Contemporary issues in Health and Social Care
  • Contemporary issues in practice
  • Principles of Health Economics
  • Safeguarding in Health and Social Care



Core Units
Evidence Based Practice and Project Planning

This unit is designed to develop students’ understanding, critical stance and utilisation of evidence-based practice and practice based evidence in a context of uncertain knowledge, competing value and belief systems and resources and to develop a viable project proposal to address an issue in practice.

  • Government policy development
  • Clinical Governance
  • Research paradigms, epistemology of evidence and professional practice
  • Getting evidence into practice
  • Project management – defining the project, stakeholder engagement, the project team, planning the project, managing the project, controlling risk, reviewing projects, evidence based practice, making and disseminating the evidence for practice developing practice, project and research ethics, managing information. Feasibility studies and piloting.  Models of applied research for practice evaluation and different evaluation perspectives. “Audit culture? and the risks of evaluation strategies. Examination of current evaluation strategies in health and social care. Developing creative, reflective and critical thinking skills that can be used in effective practice problem solving and practice development.
Likely Optional Units
Contemporary Issues in Health and Social Care

This unit will explore contemporary issues in health and social care. It will address the ways in which the social policy landscape rapidly change and evaluate the impact of these policy changes on the delivery of health and social care for adults and children. The unit will draw on examples of current practice to develop relevant debates including personalisation, integration of health and social care, innovative models of providing services, and user involvement. 

Explorations of the processes of health and social care policy development Integration of health and social care;

  • The personalisation agenda;
  • Evaluation of the changing provider market including the private sector and social enterprises;
  • Communities and health and social care;
  • Policy and legislative framework;
  • Impact of financial austerity measures on service provision and service users;
  • Impact of demographic changes on health and social care;
  • User involvement


Contemporary issues in practice

This is a unit in which content is negotiated with students to take account of their practice based contemporary issues.  Tutor-led learning (including tutorials  and directed study) 20 hours

Independent student learning 180 hours

Principles of Health Economics

This unit is designed to enable students to explore health economics and equip them with the basic principles of economics. The unit covers fundamental economic principles and their application to health care. These include the supply of and demand for health and health care, scarcity, choice and opportunity cost. It also examines, economic evaluation of health care systems and health care reforms, methods of economic evaluation in healthcare, and priorities setting using health economics. The unit will also examine economic analysis of health care technologies and valuation of health.

Key economics concepts and health economics; making choices within scarce resources, approaches to resource allocation such as welfarism, extra-welfarism and capability; and the history and role of NICE.

 The unit will also cover perfect markets, and market failure in health care; methods of economic evaluations including measurements of costs and outcomes in health economics; health care financing; and the role of health economics in decision making in variety of practice settings.

Safeguarding in Health and Social Care

This module will help students to develop a critical awareness of the abuse of children and vulnerable adults. Students will achieve a comprehensive understanding of the relevant policies and procedures that impact on the Safeguarding agenda. Students will consider the application of current policies to the protection of children and adults within the UK and within the international context.

Year 3

The final core unit Thesis  is commenced in the third year and extends to the end of the programme.

Core Units

This unit supports the student in carrying out their independent study culminating in a thesis that makes an original contribution to the body of knowledge in their professional discipline.  The thesis should demonstrate "the creation and interpretation of new knowledge, through original research or other advanced scholarship, of a quality to satisfy peer review, extend the forefront of the discipline, and merit publication" (QAA 2014:30)

 Independent study, culminating in a thesis that will be submitted for examination at doctoral level.


Programme Review

Each programme of study that we offer undergoes an annual review to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. In addition, we undertake a major review of the programme, normally at 6-yearly intervals, but this can take place at a more frequent interval where required. Applicants should note that the programme currently provided may be subject to change as a result of the review process. We only make changes where we consider it necessary to do so or where we feel that certain changes are in the best interests of students and to enhance the quality of provision. Occasionally, we have to make changes for reasons outside our control. Where there are changes which may materially affect the current programme content and/or structure, offer holders will be informed.

Typical entry requirements

To be accepted onto this programme, students are expected to have achieved a minimum of a 2:1 Undergraduate degree classification or have successfully completed a masters degree. We will also consider applications from students with less formal qualifications if they can demonstrate equivalent professional experience and evidence of study at Level 7.

There’s further information for international students on our international website if you’re applying with non-UK qualifications.

How do I apply for this course?

Download our course application form. There are instructions on what to do next and who to send the form to in the Word document.

Confirmation of Regulator

Important Notice

This online prospectus provides an overview of our programmes of study and the University. We regularly update our online prospectus so that our published course information is accurate and up to date. Please note that our programmes are subject to review and development on an ongoing basis. Changes may sometimes be necessary. For example, to comply with the requirements of professional or accrediting bodies or as a result of student feedback or external examiners’ reports. We also need to ensure that our courses are dynamic and current and that the content and structure maintain academic standards and enhance the quality of the student experience.

Please check back to the online prospectus before making an application to us.

The provision of education by the University is subject to terms and conditions of enrollment and contract. The current Terms and Conditions Applicable to the provision of the University’s Educational Services are available online. When a student enrolls with us, their study and registration at the University will be governed by various regulations, policies and procedures. It is important that applicants/students familiarize themselves with our Terms and Conditions and the Key Contract Documents referred to within. Applicants will be provided with access to an up to date version at offer stage. This can be found within the Information for Offer Holders document.