Professional doctorate in advanced practice and research: social work and social care (D55)
This course engages with the realities of your current work experience, its emotional demands and complexities and enables you to respond to these more reflectively, effectively and with increased confidence in your role.
It is uniquely arranged with other professional doctorates covering consultation and the organisation and systemic therapy, making for a multidisciplinary student body and enriching learning experience.
The course comprises of two years of ‘taught’ work and a minimum of two years applied research leading to submission of a 40,000 word doctoral thesis.
In years one and two, you will attend small reflective practice seminars focusing on direct practice as well as supervision/management or education/training. You will undertake an organisational observation and engage with theory and research around the contemporary policy environment and ‘complexity’ in social work and social care.
In year one you are also required to attend a 5 day Group Relations Conference which is a unique opportunity for experiential learning about how you work in groups, systems and organisations, and how they impact upon you and your role. The cost of this event is included in the course fees.
Research methods lectures and seminars are shared with students on other Professional Doctorate programmes, making for a rich inter-disciplinary learning experience.
By the end of year two, you will have developed a clear proposal for your research, and in subsequent years will be regularly supervised on your project by an experienced team. Research continuation seminars offer opportunities for group data analysis and problem solving, and strong peer support.
Each year you will also attend the annual Tavistock Doctoral Conference where students present work in progress, display posters, and learn from the experience of doctoral graduates.
Doctoral social work and social care programmes at the Tavistock and Portman are among the most established and respected in the UK.
Our programme is unique in its emphasis on relationship based and therapeutic practice principles and benefits from a course team who are experienced and current practitioners as well as leading academics and researchers. Research supervisors are selected on the basis of their expertise in relation to your chosen area of research. A significant number of our students are interested in experiences of migration, race, ethnicity, racism and identity as it impacts on themselves, their organisations and the communities with whom they work, and we offer an additional Race and Research seminar, open to all students, to support and help researchers explore the complexities of these issues.
There are also some opportunities to undertake supervised practice in one of the Trust’s clinical services as part of the course or to benefit from reflective supervision with clinical staff. Our students have access to the rich programme of academic, research and multidisciplinary clinical practice learning opportunities in the Trust and events such as the Tavistock Policy Seminars.
What our students say
“The course has given me confidence not just in my work
as a social work practitioner and senior leader but also as a person in how I
approach life experiences. It offered me a level of sophistication in using
experiential learning and reflective practice in my work with children and
group dynamics when leading people.
The experiential learning which the programme offers means that I had to bring myself as an individual with life experiences, my work as a social work practitioner and manager, and my world view as a member of a social group. It helped me establish that I am a complex whole who transcends and negotiates a number of complex boundaries. Psychoanalytic learning assisted me in entangling some of those complex issues.” – Claudious Madembo, 2016 graduate.
“The Professional Doctorate at the Tavistock offered me a sophisticated framework within which to reflect upon my work with children and families in complex circumstances. In terms of support, the teaching staff team at the Tavistock are well equipped and used to engaging with students using technology, and this provided me with great support in between my onsite visits. If you are looking to expand your capacity as a practitioner and are serious about the contribution you wish to make to social care or social work, then I would highly recommend this programme as challenging but more than worthwhile.” – Nicola O’Sullivan, 2017 graduate.
If you are working in the social work or social care sector, are looking for in depth professional development and want to research a pertinent topic in a supportive and dynamic learning environment then this may be the course for you.
In order to undertake this course, we ask that you:
a masters degree and either
social work qualification and at least two years post qualifying
experience working in the health and social care sector.
The core attendance day is Thursday. The programme requires attendance on 14 full or half days in each of the first two years on a fortnightly basis, plus the 5 day Group Relations Conference in Year 1 which normally runs in the week preceding Christmas week. In the research phase there are monthly research continuation seminars, normally on a Thursday, and individual research supervision meetings which can be organised on a more flexible basis.
There is provision for some elements of the programme to be accessed remotely, but this needs to be negotiated.
Assessment in the first two years is by written coursework. Research methods units are assessed by 5000 word submissions, a critical literature review in year one and a research proposal in year two. Other units are assessed by 3000 word essays or case studies. The research phase of the programme is assessed by a 40,000 word thesis and successful completion of all these requirements leads to the award of a doctorate.
Andrew Mark Cooper
Professor of Social Work
Andrew Cooper BA MPhil DipASS CQSW MBPF Principal Fellow HEA has been Professor of Social Work at the Trust since 1986, where he was formerly Dean of Education and Training, Director of Research, and Head of the Social Work Discipline. Presently he is the course lead for Professional Doctorate in Social Work.
Andrew is a qualified and registered psychoanalytic psychotherapist, and a registered social worker. He practices as a clinical social worker in the Adolescent Family Therapy Service of the Trust. Teaching, researching, and promoting relationship-based and therapeutic social work has been central to his career, and many of his published works reflect this, Andrew founded the Centre for Social Work Practice which is a charity dedicated to promoting and developing relationship based social work. He is a frequent contributor to social work and psychosocial conferences and seminars nationally and internationally.
£5100 per annum
£10200 per annum
Please note that course fees are subject to a 3% or CPI uplift each year, whichever is greater.
We are happy offer a range of ways to pay your fees, as well as some funding for specific courses.
Please contact us if you have any questions.
At the application stage we do not require you to have a fully worked out research proposal. The ‘taught’ phase of the programme offers an opportunity to develop and hone your ideas about your proposed research in depth, and most people find that their thinking evolves considerably. It is valuable to write something about your current research interests and to think about the link to your own experience as a practitioner / manager, and if appropriate your employer or organisation’s possible interest in an area of research. This does not need to be fully worked out and many people choose to undertake research independently of their organisation’s interests. Some questions you might want to address:
- What topic(s) excite your curiosity?
- What are the questions you would like to ask and answer, or explore in depth?
- Do you have previous experience of undertaking research of any kind – please provide some details?
- Are you interested in particular methodologies for undertaking research?
If you are unsure how to approach this task please contact our recruitment team on email@example.com or 020 8938 2213 and they will refer you to a member of staff for further discussion.