Professional doctorates are doctoral-level qualifications, equivalent to traditional PhDs. They are rigorous programmes of advanced applied study and research, specifically designed to meet the needs of practising professionals. They provide a framework for the integration of professional expertise and scholarly inquiry to explore specific areas of interest.
This programme provides critical reflection on public sector reforms, including evidence-based policy and practice. It supports creating greater capacity within the public and voluntary sectors to conduct, commission and evaluate research as a contribution to the achievement of public goals.
The School of Sociology and Social Policy undertakes cutting-edge local, national, international and cross-national research through its combination of staff that work within and across the disciplines of sociology, criminology, cultural studies, social and public policy and social work.
By bringing together and synthesising these disciplines around common interests and issues, we produce theoretically innovative and empirically robust knowledge that is valued by the academic community, policymakers, professionals and service providers.
This course is flexible and recognises your career commitments and the needs of your employer. It allows you to devise a personal programme to suit your needs, while pursuing your research interests.
You will study 120 credits of taught modules. This typically includes:
Leadership, Strategy and Performance in the Public Sector
This module will examine the role of leadership in the public sector. It will discuss different concepts of:
- organisational culture and change
- performance in the public sector
- the use of knowledge and information in organisation learning
- performance improvement in public sector organisations
- the use of strategy in the public sector
You will study different models and approaches to these concepts, how they are affected by and interact with the policy environment, and how they influence each other.
Policy Analysis: Concepts and Theories
This module provides an applied, critical and informed understanding of policy-making and policy analysis in government.
It examines key concepts, models and theories of policy-making and policy analysis, and illustrates them by examining policy-making in Britain and other countries.
Proposal for Research in Public Policy or Management
This module provides guidance on writing both a thesis proposal and a thesis. The module considers academic debates about different methodologies alongside practical issues.
You will critically appraise relevant literature and prepare a detailed plan of your programme of research in terms of a research design, theoretical framework, milestones, resources required, and ethical considerations.
Public Management and Governance
This module will cover models of management and governance in the public sector.
It will critically examine comparative and historic trends in managerial practices and theory and contextually relevant ideas about management and governance in the public sector, including specific professional contexts.
This will include critically exploring specific debates about the alleged move from public administration to new public management and new public governance, from hierarchical to networked and marketised forms of organisation, and those involving communities in the design and delivery of public services.
Research Design and Methods
This module is provides a general introduction to a range of key issues in the design and practice of social research. The module combines more formal taught sessions with practical exercises, some of which are group based.
By the end of the module, you will be equipped with the methodological and practical skills to carry out independent research using a variety of research designs and methods.
Exemption from these modules is subject to approval, providing that you hold the required skills and knowledge covered in the modules at an equivalent level, as a result of prior training or experience.
The remaining period of study is spent writing a 60-80,000-word thesis. This should offer an original application of knowledge in the area of public policy and should demonstrate an ability to integrate rigorous academic analysis with practical relevance and application. The thesis should be the result of independent and original research done mainly while registered for this degree.
To facilitate the link with professional practice and your workplace, the thesis may cover up to three discrete but inter-related projects. Where the thesis covers more than one topic, the minimum number of words for each topic is 20,000. You will also need to present a viva voce examination on your thesis.
The above is a sample of the typical modules that we offer at the date of publication but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. This prospectus may be updated over the duration of the course, as modules may change due to developments in the curriculum or in the research interests of staff.
The University provides a range of support and information to enhance your student experience.
You will have access to:
- academic and disability support
- childcare services
- counselling service
- financial support
- visa and immigration advice
- welfare support
English language courses
Our Centre for English Language Education offers presessional English courses to help develop your English and study skills.
The centre is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK, so you can be sure that the teaching and facilities are high-quality. You can also access free English language support alongside your academic course.
University of Nottingham Students’ Union represents all students. You can join the Postgraduate Students’ Network or speak to the dedicated Postgraduate Officer.
There are also a range of support networks, including groups for:
- international students
- black and minority ethnic students
- students with disabilities
- LGBT+ students
SU Advice provides free, independent and confidential advice on issues such as accommodation, financial and academic difficulties.
Researcher training and development
The Graduate School training and development programme empowers postgraduate students and early career research staff to develop the skills required in their research and future careers.
Careers and professional development
Recent graduates have pursued careers in a diverse range of fields across the public and private sector, including housing, research, marketing, support work, human resources and journalism.
Average starting salary and career progression
96.3% of postgraduates from the School of Sociology and Social Policy secured work or further study within six months of graduation. £27,900 was the average starting salary, with the highest being £31,000.*
* Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates who were available for employment, 2016/17. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.
Careers support and advice
Whether you are considering a career within or outside academia, we’re here to support you every step of the way.
You can access our Careers and Employability Service during your studies and after you graduate.
Expert staff will work with you to explore PhD career options and apply for vacancies, develop your interview skills and meet employers. You can book a one-to-one appointment, take an online course or attend a workshop.
As a student on this course, you should factor some additional costs into your budget, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses.
You should be able to access most of the books you'll need through our libraries, though you may wish to purchase your own copies or more specific titles.
See information on how to fund your studies, including our step-by-step guide. Further information is available on the school website.
Midlands Graduate School
Nottingham is part of the Midlands Graduate School ESRC Doctoral Training Partnership, which offers funding opportunities for postgraduate students each year.
Government loans for masters courses
Masters student loans of up to £10,906 are available for taught and research masters courses. Applicants must ordinarily live in the UK or EU.
International and EU students
Masters scholarships are available for international and EU students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study. You must already have an offer to study at Nottingham to apply. Please note closing dates to ensure you apply for your course with enough time.
We provide guidance on funding your degree, living costs and working while you study. You can also access specific funding opportunities, entry requirements and other resources for students from specific countries.