Part time 48 Month(s)
Education in palliative care is valued across Europe and also internationally, particularly in resource poor countries. This PhD is the first doctoral programme to be offered globally, and the first to support the education of palliative care professionals - generating knowledge that’s relevant and applicable to their working contexts.
Our prestigious Division of Health Research is home to the International Observatory on End of Life Care and to a number of staff who are internationally recognised experts in this field of study. The PhD in Palliative Care is your chance to work with these world-leading academics on the production of a thesis that makes an original contribution to knowledge development within your area of professional practice.
Combining innovative distance learning and an annual Academy held at the University, this part-time, flexible degree will help you to gain an understanding of the development of end of life services and movements in different settings and cultures around the world; the models of care that have been adopted; and the issues involved in assessing the impact of these – individually, socially and societally.
Run over 4-5 years (minimum 4 years), your Doctorate begins with a five-day Induction Academy at the University. Each of the subsequent academic years start with an optional three-day Academy. The rest of the course is delivered via e-learning.
Throughout your studies, we will support you as you enhance your leadership skills and effectiveness, and develop advanced skills in research design, practice and dissemination. You’ll foster critical approaches to the review of evidence and improve your written and oral presentation skills.
Years one and two provide you with training in research and the theory and practice relating to end of life care. Your specialist module in Year one is Palliative Care, which is studied alongside the Philosophy of Research, and, Research Design. In Year two, you will undertake the following modules: Systematic Reviews; Data Analysis; and Advanced Research Planning.
Years three to four/five see you undertake a research project in Palliative Care, which will conclude with the submission of your 35,000 word thesis. The project will be supervised from the University but undertaken in your own location or workplace. Supervisions can be via telephone, e-mail or Skype, depending on preference. Face-to-face meetings with your supervisors will take place during the annual Academy.
You will participate in lectures, workshops, group discussions and individual activities during each Academy, while our distance learning approach combines live and interactive lectures, elements to be worked through autonomously, webinars and online collaboration, and group work.
You will benefit from being part of a UK and internationally-based peer group of health workers, including those involved in: the delivery of clinical services, including managers and clinicians; those working in policy development relating to palliative care in government departments, NGOs, and private foundations; those responsible for educational programmes in hospices, colleges and universities; and those involved in palliative care research and development. Like you, your fellow students will share an interest in becoming tomorrow’s leaders in palliative care and will be undertaking formal study at the same time as they are working.
All students have access to a Hub space that facilitates interaction with your cohort and with other programmes, creating a virtual information space that’s also sociable. An academic tutor and then two research supervisors will provide you with support for each step of your PhD. They will also encourage you to attend external workshops and conferences (using University funds, where available, to support this).
You will study a range of modules as part of your course, some examples of which are listed below.
The aim of this module is to provide students with an advanced introduction to the methods commonly used in health research. Students will gain knowledge and understanding of:
e-learning distance module
Autumn Term (weeks 1-10, October-December)
Convenor: Dr Catherine Walshe
This core module gives an overview of palliative care starting from a broad perspective looking at historical and global issues and narrowing down the focus to definitions, models of service delivery, teamwork issues, timing of palliative care, and palliative care interventions. We also focus on some specific issues of conducting research In palliative care.
Main Topics and Learning Outcomes:
Mode of assessment: 3,000 word assignment (75% of mark) and conference poster (25%).
Spring Term (weeks 1-10, January-March)
Convenor: Dr Sean Hughes
Main Topics and Learning Outcomes:
Mode of assessment: 2,000 word critical appraisal and 3000 word assignment.
Sunmer Term (weeks 1-10, April-June)
Convenors: Dr Sarah Brearley
This core module equips students with the skills necessary to design and undertake good qualitative and quantitative research.
Mode of assessment: 4,800 word assignment and a minimum of 1 contribution to the annotated bibliography.
Autumn term (weeks 1-10, October-December)
Convenors: Dr Siobhan Reilly
Main Topics and Learning Outcomes: this module has a particular focus on systematic methods for reviewing, critically appraising and synthesising different types of research evidence to inform various research questions
Mode of assessment: 3,000 word assignment.
e-learning distance module
Summer Term (weeks 1-10, April-June)
Convenor: Prof Carol Thomas
This module will enable you to explore both the principles of research design and practical research ethics. This involves considering research design in general, as well as focusing on the design of your own thesis research project. In this way, the module will set you up for the thesis research stage to follow.
Key to this is the production of your ‘research proposal’ in Part 1, and the completion of a practice application for research ethics approval in Part 2. Once completed, a research proposal is sometimes referred to – in full or in summary – as a ‘research protocol’. Research proposals are made up of sections that you need to become familiar with. The key conventions will be introduced and explained – with some degree of variation between qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods research proposals. Students will thus have the opportunity to gain skills in drawing up a research proposal and completing an ethics application, which are important gateways to obtaining approval/funding and getting out into the field.
By the end of the module successful students will be able to:
· Identify the key elements of research design for quantitative, qualitative and mixed method research proposals (protocols) - including overall study aims and objectives, the research question(s) or hypothesis, the conceptual framework in use, the rationale for why new research is required, the methods, and dissemination plan
· Understand the terminology used in different research designs
· Demonstrate the ability to conceptualise and plan research though the development of comprehensive research proposals which systematically approach a question or problem.
· Acquire skills in writing research protocols
· Know where to find help and support when applying for ethical approval
· Locate and be familiar with up to date research governance regulatory requirements concerning ethical guidelines of key organisations involved in health, social care, and organisational health research
· Apply an ethical mindset to a research proposal
· Successfully transfer a research proposal into an ethical review application form
· Check and self assess a completed ethics application and supporting documents prior to submission
Mode of assessment: A written assignment that includes: a) a 4,000 word research proposal and b) a completed FHMREC ethics application form and supporting documents.
Spring term (weeks 1-10, January-March)
Convenor: Dr Guillermo Perez Algorta
This module is an introduction to the theory and practice of qualitative and quantitative data analysis.
Mode of assessment: You need to complete two pieces of written work (Qualitative data analysis, 2500 words; Quantitative data analysis, 2500 words).
Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, but changes may be necessary, for example as a result of student feedback, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes, and new research.
Director of Studies: Dr Liz McDermott (Years 1 and 2). Professor Katherine Froggatt (Years 3+)
Duration: 48–84 months, part-time
Entry requirements: An upper second class honours degree, in an appropriate subject, and relevant work experience
IELTS: At least 6.5 overall (minimum element scores apply)
Assessment: Combination of taught modules, original research and thesis
Funding: All applicants should consult our information on fees and funding.
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