Social and Spiritual Determinants of Health

Characteristics of the Program

The doctoral program Social and Spiritual Determinants of Health is closely linked with the activities and scholarly projects of the Institute of Social Health at Palacký University in Olomouc (further only “OUSHI”) at CMTF UP in Olomouc. OUSHI prepares students for independent creative activity in the area of research of not only social but also spiritual determinants of health. This interdisciplinary focus, which does not neglect the spiritual element of health and which takes into account the holistic perspective (bio-psycho-socio-spiritual model of health) enables the seeking out of explanations for those kinds of phenomena and aspects which cannot be explained within the framework of closely conceived specializations. The personnel make-up of the doctoral studies corresponds to this as it consists, on the one hand, of a team of specialists of OUSHI with scholarly and creative activity in the areas of social determinants of health, and, on the other, a team of specialists focused on spiritual themes from other workplaces, first and foremost from CMTF UP. 

During their studies, students are expected to participate in the current research projects at CMTF UP, in particular OUSHI.

The doctoral studies provide qualifications essential for dealing with challenges arising from both the previous and expected demographic, social and economic development of society, both on the domestic level and worldwide. This is based on the national and international priorities of research. Within the Czech Republic, this is in particular the National Priority of Oriented Research, Experimental Development and Innovation (in at least four areas, in particular in the area of “a healthy population”), which have been proposed for the period up to the year 2030. Within the EU, it consists of HORIZON 2020 (in at least five areas, in particular in the area of “understanding the determinants of health, support for health and prevention of illness”). The concept of the study program further builds upon the recommendations of the National Innovation Strategy of the Czech Republic, and this in terms of linking educational and research or creative activity as the main role of a university, as well as in the linking of the doctoral studies with the initial phase of the career of research workers. During the studies, there is an emphasis on the quality of the doctoral studies and its effectiveness for professional development of young research workers and the contribution to the foreign and domestic mobility of students. The focus on doctoral studies should contribute to improvement in the area of health and living conditions for the citizens of the  Czech Republic, Europe and the world.   

Graduate profile and job possibilities


The subject of the doctoral studies is the exploration of the social and spiritual factors which influence health, both positively and negatively. The aim of the studies is to prepare students for independent research in selected specializations of social and spiritual determinants of health with the use of the bio-psycho-socio-spiritual model of health. The graduate of the program will have at their disposal the newest theoretical knowledge in the area of social and spiritual determinants of health and will be able to critically examine, develop and place the information into the current and international specialized context.

The graduate will have abilities and skills needed for their own empirical research, be able to apply specialized knowledge in practice and know how to formulate appropriate recommendations for the practice of other bodies. 

Specialized knowledge

  • A knowledge of the issues of social and spiritual determinants of health in the widest sense of the word based on the WHO definition of health, have a knowledge of the relevant terminology and the newest research results both in the Czech Republic and abroad. 
  • An overview of contemporary current problems, which are being discussed in the academic community in the given area.
  • A knowledge of theory and concepts of socio-economic inequality in the area of health.

Specialized abilities and skills

  • Contribute to basic and applied research in one of the listed areas of health and choose corresponding methodological approaches (quantitative and qualitative methodology, carry out meta-analysis, etc.).
  • Formulate hypotheses and establish research questions and independently analyse results, work on a user level with software for analysis of quantitative and qualitative data (for example, SPSS, NVivo) as part of their own research projects.
  • Utilize the international scholarly network, electronic databases and cooperate with the international scholarly community. 
  • Carry out research activity and these both independently and within a team, according to the principles of scholarly ethics.
  • Have an understanding of grant announcements, prepare and run research projects.
  • Communicate in a qualified manner about the results of their work within the scholarly community, and these both in Czech and in English. Participate actively in international conferences; publish on an international level (journals in the WoS database or in prestigious publishing houses). 

Creating study plans

The studies take place according to the Individual study plan (ISP) under the supervision of the supervisor. The ISP is established in cooperation between the student and the supervisor over the entire period of the studies for the particular academic years. ISP has to be approved by the academic board. Changes to the ISP have to be approved by the supervisor and the academic board.


Study plan

Browse IS/STAG – Study plan visualization of

Social and Spiritual Determinants of Health (Version: 2020)


Study duties

During their studies, the doctoral student has to do the following:

  1. obtain 240 credits according to the Individual study plan defined by the supervisor and the approval academic board,
  2. pass the exam in a living language (choice from the following world languages: English, German, French) or otherwise demonstrate language skills,
  3. spend part of their studies at a foreign institution of a length of at least one month or participate in an international creative project with the results published or presented abroad or have another form of direct participation in international cooperation (mandatory subject Foreign study stay),
  4. prepare 4 themes as preparation for the final doctoral exam (the themes cannot overlap with the content of the dissertation),
  5. pass the final doctoral exam,
  6. write dissertation independently of a length of at least 120 pages, displaying ability and preparedness for independent research activity; the dissertation has to contain original and public results or results accepted for public presentation (the student is required to submit Application for defending the dissertation or, at the latest prior to the actual defense, submit at the relevant department of the faculty the publicized part of the dissertation or at least confirmation of the acceptance of these results for being made public after the approval lecturer process – after making the work public, the publication must also be submitted). An alternative to the standard dissertation can be a collection of five articles on one theme (min. 3 published and 2 in impact journals as the main author) supplemented with an introduction and discussion.
  7. take part in pre-discussion of dissertation,
  8. defend dissertation.

Requirements for mandatory courses

  • Article in a Peer-Reviewed Journal - student has to have accepted one article, at a minimum, where they are the main author, published in an impact journal.
  • Article in a Journal Accredited within the RIV System - student has to have accepted one article, at a minimum, in a scholarly journal evaluated as part of RIV. The article can be substituted for by a scholarly article in an impact journal (it has to be, however, a different article than the one recognized as part of the subject (Scholarly article in an impact journal).
  • Participation in the Student Research Competition Organized at CMTF (IGA) (Investigator in the Student Scholarly Competition declared at UP, or at CMTF (IGA) – the student will be the investigator or co-investigator in the project Student Scholarly Competition (IGA) declared at UP, or at CMTF, where the research will be carried out, or the research on the dissertation.
  • Study Stay Abroad - the student has to undergo a foreign study stay of a length of one month, at a minimum, which will be connected with the theme of their dissertation.
  • Active Participation in an International Conference – the student has to actively participate in an international conference. Active participation involves an oral presentation or poster as part of the poster section of the given conference.
  • Participation in Research/Teaching Activities  - the student has to participate in teaching activity as part of CMTF. This involves contributing to teaching in accredited bachelor or master's degree programs at CMTF, or in other faculties of UP. The teaching will take place under the supervision of the guarantor of the subject in accordance with the principles established in the UP Study and Exam Regulations.

Requirements for mandatory-optional courses

  • Participation in a National or International Grant Project  – the subject will be recognized if the student actively contributes to the realization of the grant project.
  •  Supported Grant Project/Receiving a grant project - the subject will be recognized if the student contributes significantly to a project, which was not ruled out of the evaluation due to formal insufficiencies.
  • Participation in a National or International Grant Project – the subject will be recognized if the student actively contributes to the realization of the grant project.
  • Lecture as part of a scholarly seminar either at home/CZ or SK or abroad – the student will actively take part in a scholarly seminar either at home or abroad. Active participation means teaching a one day seminar at a minimum


The Subject-area board (OR SSZD) and the Guarantor of the Study Program

prof. Ing. Mgr. et Mgr. Peter TAVEL, Ph.D. (Chair: OR SSDZ; Guarantor)

doc. Tatiana MATULAYOVÁ, Ph.D.

doc. Vít HUŠEK, Th.D.

prof. MUDr. Jozef HAŠTO, PhD. (VŠ zdravotníctva a sociálnej práce Sv. Alžbety, Bratislava)

prof. MUDr. Ing. Petr HLUŠTÍK, Ph.D. (LF UP v Olomouci)

prof. Andrea MADARASOVÁ GECKOVÁ, PhD. (LF Univerzity P. J. Šafárika v Košiciach)

doc. Tomáš MACHULA, Ph.D., Th.D. (TF JU v Českých Budějovicích)

doc. Ing. Mgr. Aleš OPATRNÝ, Th.D. (KTF UK v Praze)

prof. Erik SIGMUND, Ph.D. (FTK UP v Olomouci)

doc. Mgr. Dagmar SIGMUNDOVÁ, Ph.D. (FTK UP v Olomouci)

prof. PhDr. Vladimír SMÉKAL, CSc. (em. FSS MU v Brně)

PhDr. Iva ŠOLCOVÁ, Ph.D. (Psychologický ústav AV ČR v Praze)

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