The Doctorate in Professional Studies (DProf) is for advanced practitioners and is designed to focus on their professional development within their organisational/professional context. The DProf led by the Institute for Work Based Learning is open to all professional areas as the focus is defined by the candidate's particular work context and area of activity and their own unique area of interest. This may be located within a profession or sector, or may be more individual in nature. The approach is inter-professional and cuts across disciplines (transdisciplinary) even where candidates have strong roots in a particular profession or occupation. It is primarily concerned with knowledge that is generated and used in practice.
As a candidate for this award you would undertake a critical reflection upon your practice and then design and undertake a doctoral level practice–based research project in your own work within your own organisation or community of practice. At the end of the programme candidates submit a research report and take part in an oral examination or viva on their research. With the successful completion of the examination the candidate achieves a doctorate and can be addressed as Doctor.
You can enrol throughout the year at a time appropriate for you and your organisation but induction days occur in early October and February. You will then undertake a programme of study for 4-5 years within your professional role. Your work becomes the focus of your study and as such your project enhances and develops your professional practice. An academic advisor is assigned to you at the start of your programme and will be available to you throughout your period of study. As the focus of your work develops one or two subject specialists will be assigned to you in the role of consultant(s) to your project allowing you to draw upon their expertise in your area of enquiry or methodology. You will also have resources such as handbooks and online materials to enhance your learning journey as well as access to seminars, workshops and lectures held at the campus.
The DProf is for the advanced practitioner who is probably working in a senior managerial position or alternatively is a consultant /professional working with senior managers/leaders. Our candidates span professions as diverse as Veterinary Science through to Executive Coaching. The link between them is not their original subject discipline but the professionalism of their practice and the higher level analysis and criticality they wish to bring to it to develop both themselves and their future role. Therefore it is not a doctorate for those wishing to enhance their technical expertise in their discipline but it is the doctorate for those wishing to enhance their professional practice and standing.
The research project is undertaken within practice making it ideal for those wishing to make significant, high level impact within their organisations or for those wishing to make a unique contribution to their professional community. The research reports from previous candidates can be found in our on-line repository.
Course structure: the programme is divided into two stages. The first stage lasts for one year and prepares the candidates for their research. The second stage lasts at least two years but should take no longer than three years and this is when the project activity is undertaken leading to the final research report. The size of a programme is identified through its academic credits and for a Doctorate it is necessary to achieve 540 credits (180 at level 7 and 360 at level 8). Below is a description of how these credits are achieved.
Stage 1: Review of Learning – (20 credits) compulsory and Accreditation of Professional Learning (100 credits)
This is the opportunity to identify the capabilities, attributes and authorities you bring to your programme. You will work with your advisor to provide a 5,000 word critically reflective report on your formal and informal learning to date. Within it you will identify what makes you the professional you are with your own signature practice developed with time and experience. It is retrospective and identifies why undertaking the doctorate is appropriate for you at your current stage in professional development and what makes you equipped to undertake the particular area of interest that you identify.
Within this module you will also have the opportunity to claim credit for research capability you already have and professional learning in an area of specialisation in your field. This can be done through the recognition of a masters degree you already hold or through a short written claim for credit identifying how you developed these capabilities through your professional life. If you feel you cannot make these claims then there is the option to undertake small project work to achieve the required number of credits.
The combination of this review and the claims for credit will provide you with 120 credits towards your programme.
Accreditation of Advanced Professional Learning (100 credits)-optional
In the previous section candidates can make a claim for professional learning and some may be able to make a far more substantial claim for advanced professional learning. Examples of this level of learning could be that you have already published a book in the field or worked at senior committee level within your professional body. If that is the case then you can make a claim for this advanced learning of a further 120 credits. We would expect only 20% of candidates to be in a position to make such a claim.
Planning a Practitioner Research Programme (60 credits) – compulsory
Having made explicit your skills, expertise, attributes and interests you are now in a position to plan your research project. Within this module you construct the research plan by considering the research approach, methodology and instruments which are congruent with the focus of your enquiry and the outcomes you wish to see for yourself, your organisation and your wider community of practice.
Once you have designed your research then you have the opportunity to present it to a Programme Approval Panel and Ethics sub committee. This is a group of experienced researchers who provide you with formative feedback to enhance its robustness, ethics and potential for impact at the level required. You will incorporate their feedback in your final Learning Agreement which provides the plan for the following two year of research activity.
Stage 2: the Research Project (240 or 360 credit)-compulsory
Throughout the next two years you will undertake your research project with the support and guidance of your advisor and chosen consultant(s). The research report will consider:
The DProf programme includes a blend of a number of modes of delivery, ranging from face to face tutorials, e-mail exchanges, electronic as well as physical access to the university's library resources, real time workshops which are then mounted on to a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) which also holds programme and module handbooks. The key to the programme is the candidate's learning relationship with the Programme Adviser (PA) who will be the first port of call during the entire DProf programme period. The PA's functions range across tutoring, mentoring, advocacy and assessment. The candidate will also be assisted by a Consultant (there can be more than one depending on research requirements) who can be a leading professional in the candidate's professional practice field, or an academic specialist in the candidate's areas of research. The candidate can choose an appropriate Consultant or can be allocated one from a higher education institution. The programme will delivered primarily by formative feedback on iterative drafts produced by the candidate. Every attempt will be made to foster an international DProf `community of learners', a network for peer support and providing `critical friends' on the VLE or through DProf events organised in London.
The first part of the programme is devoted to Research Training and consists of two modules (DPS 4520 and DPS 4561) and Review of Previous Learning claims. There is an overall Programme Handbook, Candidate Advising Handbook (which offers guidance and processes on how to best develop the learning relationship with the PA and the Consultant) as well comprehensive guides for each module which are available on the VLE. The Research Training phase culminates in a Programme Approval Panel (PAP), where the candidate presents a research proposal for what is essentially formative feedback from a panel of DProf core team members and a university academic representative. The PAP functions also as an ethics approval committee which is a key element of the DProf process.
The second part of the programme is the Project phase which will require three years of enrolment. It is at this stage that the role of the Consultant(s)become more significant, and the academic year is shared optimally between the PA and the Consultant. The programme's final destination is the viva voce, the oral examination which will follow a 30 minute presentation of the candidate's research project report findings.
UK/EU and international students are eligible to apply for this course.
If you have relevant qualifications or work experience, academic credit may be awarded towards your Middlesex University programme of study. For further information please visit our Accreditation of Prior Learning page.
We accept the equivalent of the above qualifications from a recognised overseas qualification. To find out more about the qualifications we accept from your country please visit the relevant Support in your country page.
If you are unsure about the suitability of your qualifications or would like help with your application, please contact your nearest Regional office for support.
You will not need a visa to study in the UK if you are a citizen of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. If you are a national of any other country you may need a visa to study in the UK. Please see our Visas and immigration page for further information.
You must have competence in English language to study with us. The most commonly accepted evidence of English language ability is IELTS 6.5 (with minimum 6.0 in all components). We also normally require Grade C GCSE or an equivalent qualification. Visit our English language requirements page for a full list of accepted tests and qualifications.
If you don't meet our minimum English language requirements, we offer an intensive Pre-sessional English course.
Entry onto this course will require an interview.
The following case studies highlight the diversity of our DProf students and their research projects.
Veterinary medicine - Dr Bradley Viner
As part of a practitioner research group, Dr. Bradley Viner developed the rationale and methodology for implementing standardised clinical audits across the industry.
Information technology - Martin Ely
Building on the extensive body of European research focused on technical challenges, Martin is exploring the organisational barriers to the adoption of internet innovations.
Off-shore oil and gas - Dr Valerio de Rossi
The continuing globalisation of oil and gas exploration has meant that Valerio's work on the impact of off-shore platform health and safety has brought valuable insight to the industry.
Heath service management - Rachel Duffy
Rachel's research work is designed to help maximise the effectiveness of NHS management boards from an organisational development standpoint.
Business coaching - Dr Paddy Paisley
With business coaching in its infancy in South Africa, the focus of Paddy's research was the supervision of executive coaches using the Integral Model®.
Organisational development - Eunice Aquilina
Eunice studied IWBL partner, i-coach academy. Her doctorate research looked at how coaching conversations contribute to organisational development.
Cultural administration and policy - Niki Menelaou
Niki completed her DProf in 2004. Her research focuses on cultural administration and policy and is titled 'An evaluation of the administrative professes and an enhancement strategy for policy formation at the cultural services of the Ministry of Education in Cyprus'.
Financial planning - Peter Williams
Peter completed his DProf in 2008. His project title is 'Final 5200 project: what value advice? An investigation into the role played by financial advisers and written guides in the provision of pensions in the UK.
Clinical leadership - Fran Woodard
Fran completed her DProf in 2008, researching 'Inter-organisational clinical leadership and management'.
Find out about our wide range of postgraduate scholarships worth up to 50% of the tuition fee.
These fees include all tuition and academic support by the advisor and consultant(s), library and electronic resources, study materials and optional workshops, lectures and DProf days at the University.
When are the fees due?
The fees are due upon registration onto the course by credit or debit card on-line.
Some candidates who do not have a master's degree may need to undertake some additional study, which will incur a fee of £650.
Please download an application form from our online portal. Applicants are recommended to submit the following documents along with their application form:
Please note that for the majority of our research disciplines, the University has fixed intake terms (October/January). You can apply for a research degree at any time of the year, however you will start the period of study with us in either October or January. Requests to start your studies with us outside of these intakes will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
We encourage you to submit your application as early as possible so that your proposal can be reviewed in good time ahead of the October or January intake. We recommend that you submit your application no later than two months ahead of the upcoming term's intake.
From the day you receive your applicant number it can take up to 3 weeks to receive an initial admissions decision. However, during busier periods, this process may take longer. If there is any supporting documents missing or pending your application will be considered incomplete and this may delay your admissions process. If you are unsure if your application is complete please follow this link to the applicant portal to view the status of your application.
If you are an overseas student, you may be required to book a credibility interview which will help prepare you for the VISA application process. This would need to happen before we can make you an official offer. Please see our VISA advice page for more information on the Visa Process.