What is a doctorate?
Doctorates represent the highest level of academic qualification that a university can award.
They are only awarded to those who have demonstrated their ability to create or interpret new knowledge which extends the forefront of their discipline, and merits publication in peer-reviewed journals within their field. Their recipients are singled out, not only by the award itself, but by being entitled to be addressed, publicly and in written communications, as “doctor”.
Doctorates were traditionally restricted to the professional scholar. More recently, the demands of the knowledge economy, the emergence of the “lifelong learning” concept, and the consequent expansion of all types of opportunities within higher education, have together given birth to the professional doctorate.
What is a professional doctorate?
A professional doctorate is a programme of study, catering specifically for the needs of experienced practitioners in a particular profession, the successful completion of which results in the award of a doctorate.
They are typically undertaken by practitioners with
a desire to develop their higher level competencies,
or by former practitioners who have decided to
undertake an academic career.
Candidates for the award enrol on a programme with a cohort of other practitioners from similar professional backgrounds, rather than studying alone. They undertake research for a thesis which is related to their professional expertise and experience. They are also provided with much higher levels of support and tuition than has traditionally been provided for full-time campus-based doctoral students. Professional doctorates are therefore sometimes described (misleadingly, in my view) as “taught doctorates”.
Taken together these features provide an achievable route by which an experienced professional can achieve a doctorate by part-time study
based partially on existing knowledge and
The Salford model
Candidates for the Salford award start work on their research as soon as they join the programme. From day 1, the programme starts methodically preparing them for their end goal – the successful defence of a thesis at a viva voce (oral examination) resulting in the award of a doctorate. Every aspect of the programme is designed to equip candidates with the means to produce a high quality, academically credible, thesis based on their own professional knowledge, capable of satisfying even the most critical of examiners.