professional doctorate 

What it is, how it will help your career, and further guidance on applying

What is a professional doctorate?

A Professional Doctorate is an alternative route to gaining a doctoral qualification. As a Professional Doctorate student, you will attend sessions with peers as well as engaging one-to-one with your individual supervisors to produce an academic research-informed thesis normally relating directly to your employment.

The aim of these programmes is to find novel approaches to integrating professional and academic knowledge. Sessions are delivered throughout the first year of study. These are face-to-face and can be evenings or intensive days on campus. Alongside this you will have regular meetings with your supervisors and have the opportunity to attend other optional sessions as part of the university's student training programme.

The course structure will vary across subjects. Common to all professional doctorates is the completion of an original piece of research. This should then be presented as a thesis and, like a traditional PhD, is examined by an expert in the chosen field.

Usually the research project will relate to real life issues concerned with professional practice. In many cases research is carried out within your own organisation and therefore the research has a positive impact on your employer.

The award must be completed within five years - although some will complete in a shorter period. Costs vary depending on the particular programme of study.

A Professional Doctorate is aimed at professionals who may not have studied for some time but are experts in their area. The unique structure of the award supports you to ensure your academic research skills match your professional knowledge.

Unlike a PhD, a professional doctorate is not training for a role in academia - although many graduates use it as a route to change their career. Most applicants are experienced or developing professional practitioners seeking to develop their academic research skills from a variety of professional settings. We offer a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), Sport, Education and the creative arts.

This research degree will help you to evidence the necessary skills within your professional portfolio to develop your career and enhance your professional role. If you are an experienced professional seeking to develop research in an area that would impact on your employer, business practice and, potentially, policy, a Professional Doctorate is ideal. It provides you with the opportunity to join like-minded professionals and make a positive impact in your profession.

The graduate school

Realise your research ambitions and influence the future for everyone

At The Graduate School, our specialist team aim to foster an environment for a high quality postgraduate study experience. Facilitating collaboration and innovation, our staff support scholars and researchers in the delivery of research excellence and real world impact.

other links
The main entrance of James Graham building
Female scientist working in a lab