Frequently asked questions

Professional Doctorate in Science & Technology Untitled Page

What is the difference between Professional Doctorates and PhDs?

Professional Doctorates and PhDs are equivalent in terms of rigour and merit, and require you to conduct original research which is supported and assessed by supervisors at Anglia Ruskin University. Professional Doctorates are tailored to the needs of professionals in practice and who are interested in researching issues that affect practice and inform policy making. The Professional Doctorate requires a multi-disciplinary approach to solving problems which is designed to result in a change of professional practice, often during the study. The Professional Doctorate in more structured than the typical PhD, with staged assessment to measure progress.

Is the Professional Doctorate (DProf) the same standard as the PhD?

Yes, both doctorates must meet the standards set by the UK Quality Assurance Agency.

The thesis submitted for a PhD and for a DProf are both required to contribute significant subject knowledge in the research field and show originality and independent critical judgement.

In addition, the DProf thesis should constitute a contribution to professional practice and exhibit the development of professional competencies.

What subjects can I specialise in ?

You can study in any area of research offered by the Faculty of Science and Technology. Within the context of the discipline you can study in the areas of, for example, professional practice, policy making, resource allocation and management of the discipline. However, any area that develops the practice of the profession may be suited to a Professional Doctorate. The key aspect is that your doctorate must improve your professional practice and show at least the potential to improve that of your organisation.

Stage 1 of the Professional Doctorate

Who will supervise my studies?

We have a strong team of experienced supervisors drawn from a wide range of disciplines within the Faculty of Science and Technology.

Is the course lab-based?

The Professional Doctorate is not a laboratory based doctorate as a traditional doctoral award might be. It will, however, involve primary research and data collection. Your workplace environment is your laboratory in which you will be collecting data.

What support is available to me?

You will have 24/7 access to the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) which contains all of the necessary support materials for you to progress through Stages 1 and 2 of the programme. This also contains the facility for peer to peer support. There are excellent digital library facilities. Personal support is available from your team or the Director of the programme via e-mail, skype or telephone. There are a series of weekend workshop throughout the year where candidates can work together to support each other.

How often will I meet my supervisor?

There is a requirement that you meet your supervisors at least five times a year in addition to attending the workshops. This is normally conducted between each workshop.

You are also required to attend the campus based research student training on an annual basis.

How often will I need to attend on campus?

Our Professional Doctorate is structured to offer maximum flexibility. As a busy professional you can create your own schedule of work and study around your existing commitments. Our standard model is to deliver five week-end workshops planned every two months between October and June each year.

International students are encouraged to attend at least twice a year in extended workshops to fully benefit from the value-added by on-campus experience.

How am I assessed?

In Stage 1 you are assessed via three 7,000 word research papers every 7 months that lead into the development of your research proposal.

At the start of Stage 2 you will submit your proposal for undertaking the primary research. About halfway through Stage 2 you will undertake your ‘confirmation of candidature’ – this process is to demonstrate that your work is progressing and you can write and articulate your work at doctoral level. Finally, you will be assessed at the end of Stage 2 via submission of your thesis and a viva voce examination.

How long does it take to complete the doctorate?

The duration of the programme varies depending on the synergy between you work practice and your doctorate. If there is a good match with your workplace generating all the research data that you need, the doctorate can be completed in 3 to 4 years. The maximum duration permitted is 6 years.

If I do not complete the entire programme, can I leave with a lesser award?

Yes, at the end of Stage 1 (18 months) you can graduate with a Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Practice. In Stage 2 you can graduate early with a Masters of Professional Practice (MProf).

What are the fees?

The most recent fees can be found online. Anglia Ruskin's research degree fees are subject to annual review.

How do I apply?

You can download the application form from our prospectus page. You should also read through the application process before submitting your application form.

Can I speak to someone about the course?

For more information about our range of opportunities, please contact the Programme Director, Dr Ian Frame, or the Faculty Director of Research Students, Dr. Charlie Nevison.