PhD in Professional Practice: Psychological Perspectives

Our PhD in Professional Practice: Psychological Perspectives is structured so as to enable an individualised programme of study and research for each candidate, based around a specific chosen theme within their area of professional practice. These individualised programmes will require the candidate to integrate at an advanced doctorate level their professional and intellectual competencies in relation to their chosen speciality and to pursue a thematic investigation within a specialist domain of service delivery, research and practice.

Professional practice

Candidates will be expected to be undertaking professional practice which will normally involve service delivery and practice in the specialist area to which the theme of their doctoral programme is related. Practice specialism might be defined in terms of a particular problem area, a technique or approach to professional work or a specific type of practice or service provision. The nature of this professional practice should be such as to enable candidates to develop further identified, discrete professional skills in relation to the area of their specialisation.

The specific area of practice development the candidate wishes to develop will be agreed collaboratively with their lead supervisor and form part of the individual learning plan. Competencies may include such things as team leadership, consultancy, advanced skills within a certain therapeutic modality or the introduction of new practices. Part of the learning plan will also include the identification of the service context, support, resources and appropriate supervision to develop these specific competencies.

PhD portfolio

The programme requires the completion of a range of pieces of work linked to the chosen theme but focussing on different facets of the area and demonstrating a range of acquired skills and competencies. The five elements of the PhD portfolio are chosen to both advance understanding and develop new skills, and be flexible enough to incorporate a broad range of topics. Each candidate will have an agreed learning plan detailing the theme of study and how each of the elements of the portfolio will contribute to understanding and practice development.

An illustration of how this approach works in practice is shown here. This shows how one candidate’s ideas for their thematic programme of study might be described and how the assessments fit and contribute to their learning plan.

Outline of proposed research

Candidates will need to submit a proposal outlining how their current interests and practice could be developed into a learning plan and the possible topics that would be included to meet the programme assessments. The outline should be about 800 words and should cover their overall theme and reasons for wanting to study this (about 200 words) and then a section on each assessment outlining possible areas of focus (about 600 words). An outline of the proposal and illustrative example can be found by clicking here.

As a part-time programme candidates have five years to complete the portfolio which covers a prescribed range of professional competencies which fall into three broad areas. These are:

  • Applied evidence-based professional and research practice.
  • Conceptual understanding of complex issue.
  • Practice based research.

Who should apply?

The course is relevant to a wide range of people working in a variety of professional setting, in the UK and internationally including but not limited to:

  • Professionals in a range of organisations in the private, public and voluntary sector.
  • Managers of services.
  • Graduates of related disciplines (e.g. nursing, psychology, social sciences, social work, occupational therapy).
  • Clinical and non-clinical mental health practitioners (e.g. nurses, occupational therapists, social workers, clinical psychologists, psychological well-being practitioners, counsellors, CBT therapists, mental health workers).
  • Policy makers and commissioners.

For more information, please read about the PhD portfolio. If you have any further questions, please contact us.

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Last edited: 28/04/2017 15:48:00