Professional Doctorate DProf

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Students must apply via one of the following online application forms:-

CLICK APPLY NOW - closing date for applications is 23/01/2020

Course starts: 01 February 2020Apply now

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Explore the link between issues in the professional practice with relevant academic theory, and apply this to the critical investigation of problems, the creation of solutions and the introduction of change within the workplace. Develop pragmatic solutions by gaining a wider perspective to issues within the professional role, and draw theory from different academic disciplines to synthesize diverse ideas.

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The Professional Doctorate is the same level of academic qualification as a PhD (level 8) and is designed for experienced professionals who wish to undertake a programme that is applied in nature and of practical value to their career.

The programme recognises that real-world problems inhabit a space that is dynamic, multi-faceted and complex, and acknowledges this reality by adopting a multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary approach to reflect the professional world. The programme also incorporates the concept of self-reflection, critical reflective practice, and research methodology, with a practical approach to addressing workplace issues and making a distinctive contribution to the profession.


Why us?

  • A doctorate is one of the most internationally transferable qualifications
  • The first 18 months of the programme has a taught element and is designed to prepare you for working and thinking at a doctoral level
  • The remainder of the programme is research only based where you will work with a supervisory team of academic staff (research phase)
  • We're ranked 2nd in the UK for students’ overall satisfaction with their research degree programme according to the Postgraduate Research Experience Survey 2018

Course structure

Following successful completion of all five modules, you will work independently on your chosen research topic with support from your academic supervisors. During this phase of the programme, you will have the opportunity to attend a series of optional study days that cover a variety of topics to help you with your studies.

The final submission for the Professional Doctorate is either a report together with a portfolio of supporting evidence (totalling 80,000 words) or a thesis which will normally be around 80,000 words. The exact nature of your submission is decided in discussion with your Director of Studies. All candidates must also undergo a viva voce examination.

Modules include:

1 to 6 months:

  • Framing Professional Identity (30 credits)
  • Practice-based Research (30 credits)

7 to 12 months:

  • Planning And Contextualisation (60 credits)

13 to 18 months:

  • Practice-based Research 2 (30 credits)
  • Critical Debate in Professional Practice (30 credits)

19 to 72 months - research phase

  • Professional Doctorate (360 credits)

Entry requirements

The normal entry requirement for a research degree is a UK honours degree (first or upper second class) or a UK Masters degree or a qualification which is regarded as equivalent.

If English is not your first language, you will need an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) overall score of 6.5, with at least 6.0 in each component: reading, writing, listening and speaking (or equivalent).

We will assess your application and research proposal to make a decision on whether to offer you a place using the following criteria:

Professional Doctorate research proposal

You will be asked to write a 2-3 page proposal that specifies the:

  • Aims of your doctoral project
  • Project's relevance to your workplace and profession
  • Proposed methodology and techniques for analysis
  • Outline of a potential research plan

Personal statement

You must write your personal statement (included in the application form) addressing the following points:

  • Your professional experience and standing
  • The recognition by your peers as a leading professional in your field
  • The level at which you are operating within your organisation or profession and the extent to which you can provide significant influence or drive substantial change
  • The opportunity that you have to make a significant contribution to professional practice and/or how you exhibit your powers of creativity and innovation

Along with your application form, you must upload the following documents:

  • Research proposal
  • Qualification certificates
  • IELTS certificates, if applicable
  • Two references, one of which must be academic

Without all of the above documents, we will not be able make you an offer on this programme.

Fees and finance

Tuition fees for UK/EU candidates

  • On-campus, part-time: £3,980 per year

Tuition fees for international candidates

  • Annual fee: £7,660 per year

We charge annual fees while you are studying and researching for your degree. These costs vary depending on whether you are a candidate from the UK/EU or from a country outside the EU.

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or international student, find out more in our Help and Advice article.

Take a look at the Your Finances section to find out about the scholarships and bursaries that may be available to you.

Use our scholarships calculator to see what you may be entitled to.

Scholarships calculator

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This information was correct at the time of publication.


This programme is taught on campus at Sunderland and our London base.

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