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Professional Doctorate in Social and Public Policy (SPPD)

Course Description

Professional Doctorates aim to integrate academic and professional knowledge in new ways. A professional doctorate is designed to develop the capabilities of individuals to work within a professional context. In Cardiff School of Social Sciences we offer an integrated professional doctorate scheme within which education, health and social work professionals work together for some of the taught modules. The unique interprofessional learning allows students to reflect on both what is shared across professional boundaries and what is distinctive to their own occupational traditions.

The Professional Doctorate in Social and Public Policy is aimed at managers, trainers and a wide range of practitioners. It offers the opportunity to examine leading edge theories and research evidence in order to understand the social context of social work interventions and the impact they have on people’s lives.

The linkages between research-based knowledge and its application in a wide range of professional settings are central to this Doctorate.

There are currently four pathways:

* Doctor of Education (EdD)
* Doctor of Social Work (DSW)
* Doctor of Health Studies (DHS)
* Doctor of Social and Public Policy (SPPD)

The Professional Doctorate is a part-time programme which combines eight taught modules and a research thesis.

The degree consists of two major elements:

* Part One - eight taught modules each with a 4,000 word equivalent assignment
* Part Two - thesis of between 40,000 and 60,000 words (this should not exceed 60,000 and you should aim for 50,000)

All students are required to take 8 modules of study, which if passed at the doctoral threshold mark of 60% or above, will qualify students to progress to the thesis stage of the programme.

The taught modules entail three-day blocks of intensive teaching with supervised home-based study. They cover research skills training; generic topics such as evidence-based policy, professions and professionalism, equality and diversity, and public-sector management; and topics which are specialist to each of the pathways.

The research thesis may focus on any approved topic and is individually supervised by academic staff.

Visit the Professional Doctorate in Social and Public Policy (SPPD) page on the Cardiff University website for more details!

Student Profiles

Cardiff University Masters Excellence Scholarships - No. of awards TBC

“This scholarship package will give high-calibre students the opportunity to study at a world-leading, research-intensive university and help ease the associated financial burdens.”Professor Colin Riordan, Vice-ChancellorWe are pleased to announce that the Taught Master's Excellence Scholarship Scheme for 2016/17 entry has been confirmed.We are committed to invest up to a total of £500,000 in this high value competitive scholarship scheme to support UK and EU students who are planning to start an eligible master's programme in September 2016.The scholarships are each worth a minimum of £3,000 and will be awarded in the form of a tuition fee discount.Scholarships will be awarded based on academic excellence.

Value of Scholarship(s)

min. £3000


Eligible programmes include taught full-time and part-time taught programmes leading to a master's. Not included are our distance learning programmes and taught programmes leading to a postgraduate certificate, postgraduate diploma, as well as research master's such as the MPhil and MRes.‘Home’ and ‘EU’ students only (as classified for fee paying purposes, tuition fee status is determined after submitting an application to study) who are accepted on to an eligible postgraduate taught programme leading to a master's degree, and with a firm focus on academic excellence.For applicants from countries outside the European Union, we also offer a range of highly prestigious international scholarships.

Application Procedure

We have two deadlines after which scholarship decisions will be made:6 April and 27 July 2016.The Masters Excellence Scholarship application form can be accessed once you have submitted an application to study to an eligible postgraduate taught programme leading to a master’s degree. Please note the additional details on our website and in the guidance documents provided.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

Qualified to Masters level in a discipline relevant to studies in education, health studies, or social work and at least two years’ appropriate professional experience. A score of 600 on TOEFL (250 on computer-based marking) or band 7.0 on IELTS is required where English is not a first language, or for those who have not had a substantial part of their education taught in the English language.

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