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Human Performance and Innovation - Professional Doctorate

Course Details


Available: Part- Time

Duration: 4 years Part - Time

Award: Postgraduate

Qualification: NFQ Level 10 Major Award

Faculty: Education and Health Sciences

Course Type: Taught Professional/Flexible

Fees: For Information on Fees, see section below.

Application Deadline: Wednesday, August 11, 2021


Dr Ciaran MacDonncha
Faculty of Education and Health Sciences
Dr Giles Warrington
Faculty of Education and Health Sciences

Brief Description

QS Ranked Top 100 worldwide (Sport related programmes)

The Professional Doctorate (PD) in Human Performance (4-year part-time, Level 10 NFQ, 270 ECTS) and Innovation provides an opportunity for professionals in human behaviour and performance (e.g. sport, high level performance, physical activity behaviour and promotion related to health and education sectors) to engage in an advanced degree characterised by a systematic and multi-disciplinary implementation and evaluation of targeted and necessary innovations. The programme is delivered exclusively through e-learning modalities.
The premise of the PD in Human Performance and Innovation recognises that mature practitioners, embedded in professional environments, already have substantial domain-specific knowledge, expertise and experiences.  The programme of study is customised to the learning and development needs of the doctoral candidate. The PD route thus offers practitioners a personally tailored programme of study designed to drive, implement and evaluate beneficial innovations within their realm of expertise and serve their future career ambitions.

  • The aim of the Professional Doctorate in Human performance and innovation is to provide experienced practitioners with enhanced skills and knowledge to enabling them to envision, evolve, theoretically substantiate and rigorously evaluate, novel innovations beneficial to their specific domains of expertise. Upon successful completion of the programme students will be able to:                                                     
  • Appraise existing knowledge and practice and apply translational research methodologies to create innovative solutions to industry practice and challenges within their professional domain.
  • Evaluate current industry practice and propose, develop and implement alternative and more effective approaches.
  • Combine multi-disciplinary knowledge and abilities of self and others to resolve complex “real world” challenges in order to innovate and transform professional practice.
  • Innovatively apply new developments and initiatives applicable to their professional practice and industry domain whilst increasing ability to draw upon practices and innovations from other knowledge fields and sectors.
  • Adopt creative dissemination strategies to effectively communicate their innovation findings to a wide range of audiences within their professional field.
  • Integrate management and applied practice skills, such as leadership, planning, change management and multi-disciplinary approaches necessary to resolve current complex issues and develop new innovations necessary to implement positive change in their field of professional practice.
  • Determine applications of their research for individuals, circumstances and organisations both within and outside their professional field.
  • Determine and develop future goals and areas of development within their own professional and industry practice.
  • Work independently and collaborate effectively as part of a multi-disciplinary team involving a variety of professional colleagues and partners.
  • Demonstrate creativity in problem solving and identifying innovative cutting edge solutions to complex challenges within their domain and pushing the boundaries of professional practice.
  • Conceptualise the research process and how it is applied and translated to professional practice.
  • Apply ethical principles to conducting research within their professional domain.
  • Devise based on effective self-reflection skills an ongoing personal and professional development plan identifying strengths and areas in need of further development.
  • Enhance their professional practice through systematic enquiry and development and demonstrate the relevance of their learning to their own professional context.

The programme involves both a taught (72 ECTS) and a professional innovation/research component (198 ECTS). The programme is delivered exclusively through e-learning modalities such as online lectures, discussion boards, webinars and linked questions and answers forums and one to one online supervision tutorials and discussion. The learning experience is primarily self-directed which is supported by digital/online interaction with the doctoral supervisors of the candidate. The scheduling of online interactions will be flexible and agreed between doctoral candidate and supervisor/tutor. The primary assessment modes will be written and oral presentation and defence, critical written review of extant literature and engagement with knowledge translation and dissemination activities.

Relevant and recent developments and research findings will at all stages be incorporated into the candidate learning experience. This will occur by default via the engagement with and critical evaluation of the extant literature. In addition, the relevant professional contexts, practices and experiences of the candidate and others who work in similar, related and different professional contexts will be integrated into the candidate learning experience. The engagement of a 2nd internal/external supervisor who has specialist knowledge in the innovation identified by the candidate will be targeted.    

Final Thesis Submission – The submission of a thesis for examination and the successful conclusion of the examination (oral Viva Voce) is a requirement for the award of the Professional Doctorate degree. The thesis will not exceed 70,000 words. The format may vary and may include publications achieved, manuscripts submitted for publication, reports, resource packs, presentation related to innovations within professional practice etc.

Year 1 Autumn Semester Year 1 Spring Semester Year 1 Summer Semester
  • SS8011 Personal Review and Development Planning (18 credits)​
  • SS8012 The Professional Paradigm 1: Practical and Theoretical Frameworks (M-Grade) (9 Credits)
  • SS8022 Evaluation Methods and Analysis 1 (12 credits)
  • SS8013 The Professional Paradigm 2: Evolving the Theory, Evidence, Practice and Innovation (M-Grade) (18 Credits)
Year 2 Autumn Semester Year 2 Spring Semester  Year 2 Summer Semester
  • SS8031 Professional Innovation: Intervention Design and Evaluation 1 (M-Grade) (24 Credits P/F)
  • SS8023 Evaluation Methods and Analysis 2 (15 Credits)​
  • SS8041 Innovation Progression 1 (M-Grade) (3 credits P/F)
  • SS8032 Professional Innovation: Intervention Design and Evaluation 2 (24 Credits P/F)​​

Exit Award – Professional Masters in Human Performance and Innovation (123 Credits)​

Year 3 Autumn Semester Year 3 Spring Semester Year 3 Summer Semester
  • SS8033 Professional Innovation: Intervention Design and Evaluation 3 (M-Grade) (24 Credits P/F)​
  • SS8034 Professional Innovation: Intervention Design and Evaluation 4 (M-Grade) (24 Credits P/F)
  • SS8035 Professional Innovation: Intervention Design and Evaluation 5 (24 Credits P/F)
Year 4 Autumn Semester Year 4 Spring Semester Year 4 Summer Semester
  • SS8036 Professional Innovation: Intervention Design and Evaluation 6 (M-Grade)Professional(24 Credits P/F)
  • SS8037 Professional Innovation: Intervention Design and Evaluation 7 (M-Grade) (24 Credits P/F)​
  • SS8038 Professional Innovation: Intervention Design and Evaluation 8 (21 Credits P/F)​
  • SS8043 Innovation Progression 3 (M-Grade) (3 Credits P/F)

Content of modules can be found by using the search option on the book of modules.

*Exit Award = An exit award of a Professional Masters in Human Performance and Innovation is possible. The successful completion of the taught modules highlighted in bold above (72 credits) and the submission of a stand-alone thesis building on the work completed by the student to date will be required for consideration of the exit award. 123 credits are required for the award of Professional Masters in Human Performance and Innovation – e.g. at the end of year 2 to achieve 123 credits the successful completion of all modules is required.

P/F = Modules are graded on a pass/fail basis.
M-Grade = An M grade is awarded for projects that span multiple semesters or for modules that are clearly linked. In the context of the Professional Doctorate in Human Performance and Innovation, M-Graded modules facilitate the evolution of your critical thinking and innovation project design and implementation across a number of semesters.

Applicants for the Professional Doctorate in Human Performance and innovation require a minimum 2.2 honours degree (Level 8 - National Qualifications Authority of Ireland) in a relevant area, or a professional qualification deemed equivalent.
Recognised Prior Learning (RPL) entry will be available for those without a related degree if they can demonstrate significant relevant professional experience. Specifically, prospective candidates require a minimum of 5 years’ professional experience. An application via RPL requires a supporting statement uploaded with the application.
Applicants may be interviewed as part of the application process.

What to include with your Application

  • Qualification transcripts and certificates
  • English language qualification if English is not your first language
  • Certified English translations of your transcripts/certificates where the originals are in a language other than English.
  • Completed Additional Application Documentation form. Please note for applicants who do not meet the minimum entry requirements this form facilitates the submission of your RPL supporting statement -  click here for additional documentation
  • CV
  • A copy of your birth certificate (long document) or Passport

English Language Requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence of either prior successful completion of a degree qualification taught through the medium of English or meet one of the criteria below (no longer than two years prior to application):

Acceptable English Language qualifications include the following:

  • Matriculation examinations from European countries where English is presented as a subject and an acceptable level is achieved
  • Irish Leaving Certificate English –Ordinary Level Grade D or above
  • TOEFL – 580 (paper based) or 90 (internet based)
  • IELTS – Minimum score of 6.5 with no less than 6 in any one component.
  • English Test for English and Academic Purposes (ETAPP) – Grade C1
  • GCE ‘O’ level English Language/GCSE English Language – Grade C or above
  • Cambridge Assessment English –Certificate of Proficiency in English - Grade C / Certificate in Advanced English Grade B
  • GCE Examination Boards – Oxford Delegacy of Local Examinations – Grade C / Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate – School Certificate Pass 1-6 / University of London Entrance and School Examinations Council – School Certificate Pass 1-6

Results in examinations other than those listed above may also be accepted as meeting our English language requirements. Contact the International Education Division for advice.


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Please note the fees schedule does not include the PD in Human Performance and Innovation at this time. 

Annual fees for 2021/22 registration is estimated at €4882, a 3% annual inflationary increase is anticipated and full fee payment for each of the 4 years of registration is required.

For information on funding and scholarships please click here.