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 course provides comprehensive analysis 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. You will be assigned two supervisors who will support and guide you throughout the course.
The flexible nature of the course allows you to study while also meeting your career commitments and the needs of your employer. For example, if your employer requires regular feedback, we will build this into the course for you. You can also tailor the course to suit your needs and research interests by choosing modules that align with your thesis.
The School of Sociology and Social Policy undertakes cutting-edge local, national, international and cross-national research through its research staff that work across the disciplines of sociology, social and public policy, criminology, cultural studies and social work.
By combining 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.
In your first year, you will study 120 credits of taught modules; this will be over years one and two for part-time students.
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, because of prior training or experience.
The remaining period of study (years two and three for full-time students, years three to six for part-time students) will be 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.
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.
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.
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.
This module introduces you to comparative analyses of different welfare state models and approaches to social and public policy; institutions, issues and debates in international social and public policy; and methods of cross-country comparative analysis.
- perspectives of international social policy
- welfare state typologies and cross-national comparisons
- international institutions, standards and goals
- the European Union
- social policy in less developed countries
- globalisation and welfare states
- international migration and the boundaries of welfare
- discrimination in a multicultural world
- international cooperation, policy learning and policy transfer
- comparative research 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.
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.
The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer 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. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue
for information on available modules.
All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2023 entry.
2:1 (or international equivalent) in any discipline and two years of work experience in a related field
2:1 (or international equivalent) in any discipline and two years of work experience in a related field
|International and EU equivalents|
We accept a wide range of qualifications from all over the world.
For information on entry requirements from your country, see our country pages.
|IELTS||7.0 (no less than 6.0 in any element)|
|English language requirements|| |
As well as IELTS (listed above), we also accept other English language qualifications.
This includes TOEFL iBT, Pearson PTE, GCSE, IB and O level English.
Meeting our English language requirements
If you need support to meet the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional English course. Presessional courses teach you academic skills in addition to English language. Our Centre for English Language Education is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.
If you successfully complete your presessional course to the required level, you can then progress to your degree course. This means that you won't need to retake IELTS or equivalent.
For on-campus presessional English courses, you must take IELTS for UKVI to meet visa regulations. For online presessional courses, see our CELE webpages for guidance.
International students must have valid UK immigration permissions for any courses or study period where teaching takes place in the UK. Student route visas can be issued for eligible students studying full-time courses. The University of Nottingham does not sponsor a student visa for students studying part-time courses. The Standard Visitor visa route is not appropriate in all cases. Please contact the university’s Visa and Immigration team if you need advice about your visa options.
We recognise that applicants have a variety of experiences and follow different pathways to postgraduate study.
We treat all applicants with alternative qualifications on an individual basis. We may also consider relevant work experience.
If you are unsure whether your qualifications or work experience are relevant, contact us.
UK fees are set in line with the national UKRI maximum fee limit.
Additional information for international students
If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you may be asked to complete a fee status questionnaire and your answers will be assessed using guidance issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA).
These fees are for full-time study. If you are studying part-time, you will be charged a proportion of this fee each year (subject to inflation).
All students will need at least one device to approve security access requests via Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We also recommend students have a suitable laptop to work both on and off-campus. For more information, please check the equipment advice.
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.
There are many ways to fund your research degree, from scholarships to government loans.
Check our guide to find out more about funding your postgraduate degree.Postgraduate funding
Department specific support
You will be assigned two supervisors who will support and guide you through your research project, in years two and three. One of these supervisors will act as personal tutor during your first year, for primary pastoral support. Academic support for the taught modules is provided by the module convenors.
You are expected to attend the school-wide PhD seminars, which are aimed at all PhD students, and provide them with support and knowledge relevant to PhD study. These seminars also provide peer-support for practical and academic issues, as well as a social network.
Researcher training and development
The Researcher Academy is the network for researchers, and staff who support them. We work together to promote a healthy research culture, to cultivate researcher excellence, and develop creative partnerships that enable researchers to flourish.
Postgraduate researchers at Nottingham have access to our online Members’ area, which includes a wealth of resources, access to training courses and award-winning postgraduate placements.
Our graduate centres are dedicated community spaces on campus for postgraduates.
Each space has areas for:
- computer work
- kitchen facilities
You will have access to a range of support services, including:
- academic and disability support
- childcare services
- counselling service
- faith support
- financial support
- mental health and wellbeing support
- visa and immigration advice
- welfare support
Our Students' Union represents all students. You can join the Postgraduate Students’ Network or contact the dedicated Postgraduate Officer.
There are also a range of support networks, including groups for:
- international students
- black and minority ethnic students
- students who identify as women
- students with disabilities
- LGBT+ students
SU Advice provides free, independent and confidential advice on issues such as accommodation, financial and academic difficulties.
Where you will learn
University Park Campus
University Park Campus covers 300 acres, with green spaces, wildlife, period buildings and modern facilities. It is one of the UK's most beautiful and sustainable campuses, winning a national Green Flag award every year since 2003.
Most schools and departments are based here. You will have access to libraries, shops, cafes, the Students’ Union, sports village and a health centre.
You can walk or cycle around campus. Free hopper buses connect you to our other campuses. Nottingham city centre is 15 minutes away by public bus or tram.
I am an experienced international social researcher and have been involved in 22 funded research projects in nine Asian and European countries. My recent research, which is funded by the European Commission, is entitled 'Social Investment Perspective in Work-family Reconciliation measures in Europe and East Asia.”
Assistant Professor Ruby Chau, course leader
Research Excellence Framework
We are ranked 7th in the UK for research power (2021), according to analysis by Times Higher Education. The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is a national assessment of the quality of research in UK higher education institutions.
- 89% of the school's research considered world-leading or internationally excellent
- 90%* of our research is classed as 'world-leading' (4*) or 'internationally excellent' (3*)
- 100%* of our research is recognised internationally
- 51% of our research is assessed as 'world-leading' (4*) for its impact**
*According to analysis by Times Higher Education ** According to our own analysis.
This content was last updated on 28 June 2022. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.