The University of Worcester’s Doctor of Health Science (DHSc) is a professional doctoral degree designed to enhance health leadership and professional practice. The programme is designed to provide an opportunity for health professionals to work creatively by analysing and synthesising research literature, and their own research evidence, to understand their own professional contexts more critically and to find solutions to key challenges in their working environment. In doing so it is envisaged that our students will become (and ultimately lead) communities of practice within their profession. The Professional Doctorate award is distinct from the PhD award in the following respects: • There is a considerable weighting given to a taught component which comprises an integral and key part of the programme, and the assessment of the taught component contributes directly towards the final award. • The thesis produced by Professional Doctorate students will make an original contribution to knowledge within the relevant area or areas of professional practice. The benefits of the DHSc are both organisational and personal. The evidenced-informed insights and new knowledge generated are likely to impact greatly: the participants undertaking the DHSc broadening and deepening their professional outlook.
Our DHSc programme offers you: • Academic rigor: You will gain a deeper understanding of your chosen subject area with a challenging combination of research training and supervised research. • A wide variety of research interests: We have a strong mix of academics with a high degree of professional and personal experience enabling you to get the most out of both the taught and research element of your programme. • Excellent supervision: You will benefit from a professional and challenging relationship with your supervisory team, drawn from experienced professionals working at the forefront of their disciplines. • Resources: Access to the University of Worcester’s virtual resources and to the state of the art library facilities at our new £60 million library. • Networking opportunities: Because of the way that the taught element is structured and organised, the programme offers the enrichment opportunity of working alongside other health professionals, educational specialists and business executives forming a ‘community of practice’.
The benefits to your organisation
• Access to vital ‘cutting edge’ thinking. • The opportunity to significantly enhance your organisation’s innovative capacity. • The opportunity to offer senior health practitioners the chance for further career development.
The DHSc Programme aims to develop health professionals’ ability to integrate rigorous academic/critical analysis with practical relevance and application to enable them to become more effective evidence-based practitioners and to contribute to the development of their profession through the furtherance of knowledge.
The Professional Doctorate is designed for busy working professionals so the taught programme begins with a one-week workshop followed by ten in depth teaching blocks delivered either by face-to-face meetings or by virtual tutorial, delivered over an 18 month period, to complement your workload. Although described as a ‘taught’ programme, the DHSc is delivered through a process of critical engagement between academic staff and participants. The learning process includes lectures, facilitated discussions and participant presentations, as well as online interaction and workshops focusing on aspects of professional culture and the research process. These activities will be informed by participants’ knowledge, experience and contexts and focused upon exploring research questions and issues brought to the programme by those involved. The research stage of your programme usually takes 2-3 years to complete and will culminate in the production of a 50,000 word thesis that will be examined by viva voce. It is expected that you will commence the thesis stage of the programme following notification that you have passed the taught element of the programme.
• The Researching Professional The purpose of this module - stretching across the length of the taught component of the professional doctorate - is to consider, in a holistic sense, the nature of ‘knowledge’, its generation and management in various contexts, and the relationship of this to your professional culture, identity and role. The multiple factors - at a macro, meso and micro level - which shape knowledge and organisational cultures will be critically explored. How knowledge is constructed and used, as well as how evidence and research informs, shapes and reshapes practices and professional self-identity within this, will all be critically evaluated within this module. • Project Development, Planning and Management This module develops further the rationale for your doctoral research project, drawing appropriately on relevant literature, conceptual or theoretical frameworks and methodological approaches. A key aspect of the module is a focus on the practical aspects of conducting a piece of research. Specifically the module will equip you with the knowledge, skills and capabilities to plan, initiate, manage and write your doctoral research project. • Research Methods and Design This module will reflect on the variety of methods available to complete doctoral level research. You will discuss relevant and appropriate knowledge and skills required, including literature searching at doctorate level, critical reading, identifying and defining the research question, methodological and analytical processes involved in completing the research process, and research ethics associated with particular methods. You will be introduced to a variety of research methods dependent on the interests, circumstances and expertise of the participant cohort. Throughout this module, you will have the opportunity to compare and contrast research paradigms and approaches, consider the implications for your own research question and develop a design, including the formation of a research question.