The development of doctoral degree curriculum in England: Perspectives from professional doctoral degree graduates

Luis Miguel Dos Santos, Ho Fai Lo


The paper investigates two issues surrounding the field of higher education leadership, particularly in doctoral education, namely the reasons why potential doctoral students decided to enroll in a professional doctorate instead of a traditional Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and how did professional doctorate status enhance its graduates’ professional development and career promotion.  Guided by the Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT), 20 professional doctorate graduates who are members of a professional association in London were invited as participants. The paper discovers that in the view of professional doctorate graduates, the program offers the flexibility for professionals to enjoy the rigorous education at doctoral level.  Second, the curriculum of the professional doctorate allows graduates to apply both theories and practical applications into their current workplace directly.  Third, the rich supports from lecturers enhancing the prosperity of professional doctorate graduates’ life experience.  This study provides solid evidence and recommendation for university administrators, policy makers, organizational employers, and potential doctoral students in the United Kingdom and other Anglophone countries to understand the learning outcomes and gained skills of professional doctorates. 

Keywords: career counseling; doctoral student experience; professional doctorate; qualitative

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