Part time 48 Month(s)
An international first, our PhD in Mental Health provides you with a deeper and more critical insight into mental health theory, research and practice. A number of mental health research groups work from Lancaster University’s prestigious Division of Health Research. For example, the Spectrum Centre, which has attracted more than £6m in funding since its launch, is the only specialist research centre in the UK dedicated to translational research into the psychosocial aspects of bipolar disorder and associated conditions (including recurrent depression, anxiety, and psychosis), as well as developments in their treatment. Other staff research interests include mental health in people with chronic physical conditions or difficulties, and ensuring positive mental health among socially marginalised groups.
Whether you are based within a healthcare setting, local government, education, research or management, the PhD in Mental Health is your chance to work with the Centre’s 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 Academies held at the University, this part-time, flexible degree brings together the theory and practice of mental health, including psychological models of psychological disorders, evidence-based interventions, and current priorities for mental health.
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.
Our close links to NHS mental health services in the North West of England and to the voluntary sector (both regionally and nationally) combine with the current research interests of staff to inform the content of our modules. Service users will also be actively involved in the delivery of the taught component of your Doctorate.
Years one and two provide you with training in research and mental health. Your specialist module in Year one is Mental Health, 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 Mental Health, 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 mental health workers who wish to undertake 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.
e-learning distance module
Autumn Term (weeks 1-10, October – December)
Convenor: Dr Alyson Dodd
This module is an introduction to current topics and issues in mental health, covering theory (mechanisms underlying mental health), practice (psychosocial approaches to treating mental health problems), contemporary issues in mental health, and up-to-date research relating to these important topic areas.
On successful completion of this module you will be able to:
Critically evaluate mental health theory, research and practice and how these are linked
Review and evaluate contemporary issues in mental health, theories/models, and interventions
Mode of assessment: 3000 word essay (75%) and a poster (25%).
e-learning distance module
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.
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:
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.
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.
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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