Practice Portfolio in Health and Social Care

Key Information


12 months

Entry Requirements

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Brayford Pool

Start Dates in October and January

Programme Overview

The PhD by Practice Portfolio provides a route for experienced health and social care practitioners, educators, and policy makers to achieve a Doctoral level qualification based on the contribution that they have made to their field of practice.

This programme requires participants to bring together their existing work through the production of a portfolio and written commentary which demonstrates the original and significant contribution that they have made to their field of practice. This can, but does not have to, include a substantial research component.

For PhD by publications, candidates should submit between three to five high-impact publications, which will form the intellectual basis of the examination for the award.

Key Features

Conduct independent, original, and academically significant research

Benefit from training courses to develop key research skills

Supervision and support from an advisory panel of academic staff

Present at talks and seminars to showcase your work

Enrol in January or October each year

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How You Study

As this is a research degree there is no formal taught content on the programme. Students will work with a carefully selected supervision team who will provide support in writing the commentary to accompany the portfolio. Students will be expected to meet with their supervisors at least 12 times during the 12 month registration period (roughly once a month), while also studying independently throughout. Students will need to be self-motivated and able to use their initiative in order to generate the work required for successful completion. Candidates are expected to produce a draft of their commentary by the half way point of registration.

Alongside our research groups, we have an extensive range of individual research interests across the school. Below are some of the areas where members of the team have particular expertise and would be happy to take on new students:

  • Health economics
  • Healthcare workforce planning and development
  • Trauma, critical, and emergency care
  • Pre-hospital care
  • Mental health
  • Addiction
  • Hospital acquired infections
  • Health inequalities
  • Teaching and learning in health and social care
  • Nurse Education
  • Inter-professional education and multi-agency working
  • Sexual and reproductive health
  • Service evaluation, transformation, and quality improvement

How you are assessed

This programme is assessed by the submission of a portfolio of selected work, a 15,000 word commentary, and normally an oral examination (viva voce).


The works selected for the portfolio should be focused and coherent. They may include papers, chapters, books, policy documents, educational programmes, service transformation projects, and reports to name some example. All of the work chosen should be publicly available. The works selected should normally have been undertaken during a minimum period of three years and need to have contemporary relevance. The volume of work needs to be comparable with that expected from a three-year full time PhD.

15,000 Word Commentary

The commentary needs to set out the proposed basis for the award by placing the work in its wider context. The commentary shall be up to 15,000 words in length and constitute a critical review including;

- An abstract of the portfolio as a whole including the key theme(s)
- A summary of each of the materials submitted including the aims and objectives of the work
- An overview of interrelationship between the materials and how they sit within the broader discipline area and existing literature
- A critical reflection of the techniques used to conduct the work
- A critical discussion of the impact of the projects in practice
- A critical review of the original contribution the work makes to the field of practice
- Conclusions and recommendations for future work.

The commentary should achieve a depth of scholarship comparable to that required for the award of PhD by thesis.

Oral Examination

An oral examination will normally take place within four months of submission of the portfolio and commentary. Candidates will be examined by two external examiners and one internal examiner, and the process will be overseen by an independent viva chair. Following the examination and recommendation made by the examination team it may be necessary to undertake some amendments to the portfolio and/or commentary in order to satisfy the criteria for the award.

How to Apply

Postgraduate Research Application Support

Find out more about the research application process and what you'll need to complete on our How to Apply page. Here, you'll also be able to find out more about how to write a research proposal and how to contact us for dedicated support during the process.

How to Apply
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Entry Requirements 2024-25

Entry Requirements

- A minimum upper second class honours degree in a related subject or registered professional qualification.

- Must be currently practising in a health, social work, or social care environment, or School/Faculty in a higher education institution.

If you have studied outside of the UK, and are unsure whether your qualification meets the above requirements, please visit our country pages for information on equivalent qualifications.

Overseas students will be required to demonstrate English language proficiency equivalent to IELTS 7.0 overall, with a minimum of 6.5 in each element. For information regarding other English language qualifications we accept, please visit the English Requirements page:

If you do not meet the above IELTS requirements, you may be able to take part in one of our Pre-session English and Academic Study Skills courses. These specialist courses are designed to help students meet the English language requirements for their intended programme of study:

Programme Fees

You will need to have funding in place for your studies before you arrive at the University. Our fees vary depending on the course, mode of study, and whether you are a UK or international student. You can view the breakdown of fees for this programme below. Research students may be required to pay additional fees in addition to cover the cost of specialist resources, equipment and access to any specialist collections that may be required to support their research project. These will be informed by your research proposal and will be calculated on an individual basis.

Programme Fees

Funding Your Research

Loans and Studentships

Find out more about the optional available to support your postgraduate research, from Master's and Doctoral Loans, to research studentship opportunities. You can also find out more about how to pay your fees and access support from our helpful advisors.

Explore Funding Options
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Career Development

A doctoral qualification can be the capstone of academic achievement and often marks the beginning of a career in academia or research. A research programme provides the opportunity to become a true expert in your chosen field, while developing a range of valuable transferable skills that can support your career progression. A research-based degree is also the most direct pathway to an academic career. PhDs and research degrees are a great chance to expand your network and meet diverse people with similar interests, knowledge, and passion.

The University’s Doctoral School provides a focal point for Lincoln’s community of researchers, where ideas and experiences can be developed and shared across disciplines. It also offers support and training to help equip you for both academic and non-academic careers.

Doctoral School

Research at Lincoln

Through our research, we are striving to change society for the better. Working with regional, national, and international partners, our academics are engaged in groundbreaking studies that are challenging the status quo. We also understand the importance of providing the best possible environment for pursuing research that can support our communities, improve lives, and make a tangible difference to the world around us.

Explore Our Research
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The University intends to provide its courses as outlined in these pages, although the University may make changes in accordance with the Student Admissions Terms and Conditions.