Professional Doctorate in Nursing


Find a course


Key facts

Start dates

September 2024

Course length

Part time: Part-time: 5 years, one Saturday a month during semester time.


The Professional Doctorate in Nursing (DNurs) is a part-time doctoral programme aimed at nurses who wish to remain in clinical practice, education or management, and develop research skills and knowledge with a peer group and experience our world class research institute OxInAHR.

The DNurs will provide you with the opportunity to:

  • study nursing theory and practice with a cohort of like-minded individuals
  • develop research skills in order to carry out doctoral level research
  • research specific issues of professional relevance and concern in depth
  • develop a strong research-practitioner community
  • study the methodologies of healthcare research.
Student taking notes

Additional details

The aims of the DNurs are to:

  • provide a deeper knowledge, understanding and awareness of nursing
  • develop and produce independent, reflective and competent researchers
  • promote critical self reflection and knowledge acquisition
  • help professionals to manage their own learning in order to promote high levels of critical understanding and professional application.
Two students looking at a laptop

Why Oxford Brookes University?

  • we're home to the world class research institute OxINMAHR.
  • 125 years nursing education in Oxford
  • we're part of the Oxford Academic Health Science Centre (OxAHSC) – one of only six such Centres designated by the Department of Health in England
  • we have partnerships with local NHS Foundation Trusts (Oxford University Hospitals, Oxford Health and Great Western Hospitals)
  • access to the teaching and research expertise of our sister DMid programme.

Learning and assessment

The programme has been designed to support the development of an increasingly active and independent researcher and writer by providing a blend of learning approaches designed to promote intellectual autonomy. These include:

  • face-to-face seminars and workshop activities
  • guided online activities
  • student-led seminars
  • and individual tutorial and supervision sessions.
Four students talking

Study modules

All modules on the programme are compulsory and you have to achieve a pass mark on all modules to progress. If you wish to exit with the interim award, you need to have successfully completed all compulsory level 7 modules, and then undertake a single work-based learning project to gain 180 credits at level 7.

Year 1

Compulsory modules

  • Concepts in Nursing 1 (20 credits)

    Level 7

  • Evidence Based Practice (20 credits)

    Level 7

  • Foundations of Nursing and Midwifery Research (40 credits)

    Level 7

  • Researcher Development Framework (20 credits)

    Level 7

Year 2

Compulsory modules

  • Concepts in Nursing 2 (20 credits)

    Level 7

  • Research Methodologies (For DNurs only) (40 credits)

    Level 8

  • Systematic Review (40 credits)

    Level 7

  • Research Proposal and Ethical Approval (For DNurs only) (40 credits)

    Level 8

Years 3, 4 and 5

Compulsory modules

  • Thesis (300 credits)

    Level 8

Please note: As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from those shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.

Learning and teaching

Teaching and learning strategies will encourage you to:

  • engage and explore new areas of knowledge
  • build on and deepen your existing knowledge, understanding and skills in nursing and research
  • engage in critical analysis of texts, concepts, theories and practices and reflect on a range of professional issues, questions, concepts, theories, policies and practice encountered in your studies
  • interrogate the assumptions underpinning theory and research in order to come to an understanding of the significance and limitations of theory and research
  • develop appropriately informed research skills.


Assessment methods used on this course

The taught modules are progression to the research stage of the programme and will be assessed on a pass or fail basis only. Assessment will include:

  • reflective essays
  • critical analysis of evidence based practice
  • presentations
  • a ‘portfolio of learning’ based on the Vitae ‘Researcher Development Framework.’

For the research component, you will work with your supervisory team (a Director of Studies and up to 2 further supervisors). You will undertake research into your chosen area of professional practice. This will be presented as a 65,000 word thesis and submitted at the end of year 5 (September) and defended in a viva voce examination within 3 months of submission.

Award of the DNurs will be made when the external and internal examiners have examined the thesis and you have successfully defended your research in the viva examination. All recommendations for the award have to be approved by the Science and Technology Sub-Committee of the Research Degrees Committee.


All DNurs students undertaking the independent research and thesis element will be closely supported by a supervisory team. This is made up of staff from the programme, the Oxford School of Nursing and Midwifery, the wider Faculty as well as external supervisors where appropriate.

Dr Catherine Henshall

Reader in Nursing Research

View profile

Dr Dan Butcher

Senior Lecturer - Course Lead Professional Doctorate in Nursing

View profile

Professor Eila Watson

Professor in Supportive Cancer Care, and Deputy Director (interim) of OxINMAHR

View profile

Dr Helen Aveyard

Principal Lecturer - Student Experience

View profile

Dr Ian Scott

Associate Dean Student Experience

View profile

Dr Jo Brett


View profile

Dr Kathleen Greenway

Senior Lecturer

View profile

Dr Louise Stayt

Senior Lecturer

View profile

Dr Marion Waite

Principal Lecturer - Student Experience

View profile

Dr Obrey Alexis

Reader in Adult Nursing

View profile

Dr Olga Kozlowska

Senior Lecturer in Research and Knowledge Exchange

View profile

Dr Sue Schutz

Senior Lecturer

View profile

Dr Teresa Finlay

Senior Lecturer, Nursing Prof Doc

View profile


Meet students from our first ever cohort in 2017

Angela Bygrave Griffiths

Does a raised body mass index affect patient’s quality of life, symptoms and experiences following catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation?

View profile

Lucy Speakman

An exploration of the experiences of community respiratory nurses supporting patients who are breathless

View profile

Ms Maxmiller “Maxine” Buyanga

How do organisational and social contexts influence mealtimes on wards caring for the older person aged 65 years and above?

View profile

Ms Sally Bassett

How Chief Nurses and their colleagues perceive the success of the Chief Nurse leadership role

View profile

How to apply

Entry requirements

  • An Upper Second or First Class Honours Degree from a UK or overseas recognised institution and/or relevant Postgraduate study.
  • Must be currently registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council in the UK or equivalent registration within their residing country.
  • Must have a minimum of three years post-qualification / registration experience
  • If English is not the first language, must have completed the British Council’s IELTS achieving an overall score of level 6.5/ 7 or above in line with the University PG regulations. The NMC requires an overall IELTS score of 7.
  • APL will only be considered for students who have graduated previously with an MPhil or MRes degree with a relevant health care focus. The students will gain entry into the programme at the level 8 stage.


Students are required to evidence they have an up-to-date DBS check completed by their employer before applying to commence their studies at the university.

Application process

Make a direct application to Oxford Brookes.

As part of the application you are required to submit a research proposal to

The research proposal must be 2000 words and based on a research idea related to practice. The proposal needs to demonstrate why you have identified this problem, why it is an area that needs exploration with rationale and how you will research it. You may want to follow the structure below:

  • Title
  • Background information/brief summary of existing literature
  • The Aim/question and the objectives
  • Methodology
  • How the research will be communicated to the wider community
  • Ethical considerations
  • Summary and conclusions

For more information please contact us at

Tuition fees

2024 / 25
Home (UK) part time

Tuition fees

2024 / 25
Home (UK) part time

Fees quoted are for the first year only. If you are studying a course that lasts longer than one year, your fees will increase each year.

For International fees the following factors will be taken into account by the University when it is setting the annual fees: inflationary measures such as the retail price indices, projected increases in University costs, changes in the level of funding received from Government sources, admissions statistics and access considerations including the availability of student support. 

Home fees are set by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and are released approximately five months before the start of each academic year.

If you have any questions about fees, get in touch with the Research Degrees Team at

How and when to pay

Tuition fee instalments for the semester are due by the Monday of week 1 of each semester. Students are not liable for full fees for that semester if they leave before week 4. If the leaving date is after week 4, full fees for the semester are payable.

  • For information on payment methods please see our Make a Payment page.
  • For information about refunds please visit our Refund policy page

The continuation fee, where it is payable, is compulsory.
All Professional Doctorate part-time students are required to pay the part-time fee for five complete academic years before they are eligible to pay the continuation fee.

Funding your studies

Financial support and scholarships

Featured funding opportunities available for this course.

All financial support and scholarships

View all funding opportunities for this course