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Doctor of Social and Public Policy (Professional Doctorate) (SPPD)

n/a (full-time) / 5-7 years (part-time) / n/a (distance / e-Learning)

Course Aims

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.

Programme Description

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:

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

The degree consists of two major elements:

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.

Skills Acquired

By the end of the programme entrants will have acquired research skills, theoretical capacities and other professional competences that include the following:

Entry Requirements

Qualified to Masters level in a discipline relevant to studies in education, health studies, social work or social and public policy 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.

Please note that the application deadline for this programme is the 1st July

Note: International students pursuing part-time programmes of study are not eligible for Tier 4 General Student) visas and must have alternative leave to remain in the UK if they intend to study at the University in person.

Application Notes:

Application to this programme must be supported by a research proposal of between 500 and 1500 words. For more information on what is required, please contact

Next intake: October each year

School Contact

Name: Adriano Neri  

Telephone: +44 (0)29 2087 0855 

Fax: +44 (0)29 2087 4175  


School Website:

More information