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.
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.
You can find more information about this course in the programme specification. Module and programme information is indicative and may be subject to change.
The following case studies highlight the diversity of our DProf students and their research projects.
Board Development Associate, NHS
Board Development Associate, Rachel Duffy had spent some time investigating the options before deciding to do a DProf with Middlesex University. "Undertaking a doctorate seemed like a natural progression for my CPD. I did consider doing a PhD but I chose to do the DProf because I wanted something that I felt would be grounded in the real world in which I operate. I was looking for something pragmatic which would tackle real work based challenges – and bring insight and value to my employer, my community of practice and my clients."
Rachel's role within the NHS involves working with a wide range of decision making Boards including Foundation Trusts, Acute, Ambulance, Mental Health and Commissioning organisations. Drawing on her background in organisational development, her DProf focuses on the effectiveness of boards, and understanding how the current framework and development tools can be improved to help increase their effectiveness.
"Much of the literature is generated from a management viewpoint; however I felt that an organisational development perspective would be of value. I am hoping that my research will bring insights which will really help our boards to become more effective." Rachel sees the DProf as a very good vehicle for drawing together evidence and disseminating insights to influence practice across the NHS.
Rachel found one of the best aspects of undertaking the DProf was that she was at the centre of her own research. "I had ready access to resources, colleagues and communities of practice. Although the DProf is a big commitment, it is grounded in my job. The benefits of my research feed straight into my work; this would not be the case if I had undertaken a full time PhD."
Dr Valerio de Rossi
Captain and Offshore Installation Manager, Vantage Drilling Company
Putting his many years of experience in the off-shore oil and gas industry to good use, Valerio completed a Middlesex University work based learning MSc in Marine Operations and Safety Management in 2004. Having found the experience extremely rewarding, Valerio "wanted to push his education to the highest level". His past experience of work based learning made a professional doctorate through Middlesex the obvious choice.
Valerio's chosen area of research, an investigation into the impact of cross-cultural interactions on offshore health and safety management, is of critical importance not just to his employer, Vantage Drilling, but to the whole industry.
Valerio enjoyed the challenge of planning and presenting his research proposal to the Programmes Approval Panel. "It forced me to think deeply about the implications of my approach to the research and to be rigorous about my choice of data collection techniques," he said. The highlight for Valerio was seeing the fruits of his research and knowing that it makes a very real contribution to his industry.
"I have used my research findings as a basis for a book which has been published in order to help dissemination of good practice throughout the industry," he said.
Currently based on a drilling platform off the east coast of India, Valerio is certain that undertaking the doctorate has "improved [his] reflective learning skills and therefore ability to tackle the wide range of challenges" required in his professional practice.
Valerio sees his next career progression step as securing a shore-based senior management position with Vantage Drilling. He sees his doctorate as an important differentiator because it not only evidences his commitment to the industry but also a breadth of transferable analytical skills.
Dr Paddy Paisley
Executive Business Coaching, Centre for Coaching
Business coach, Paddy Paisley, based at South Africa's leading executive coaching practice, the Integral Coaching Centre, was drawn to the DProf because it would combine academic study with her work. "Doing a doctorate always felt like the natural progression after my masters because it integrates my experience in education, business and psychology," said Paddy. A unique aspect of the DProf is that it allowed Paddy to work in concert with a group of other coaching practitioners.
"Coaching in South Africa was in its infancy; Middlesex's pioneering approach was a good fit for the time and work we were doing." Paddy found that being able to work and research with colleagues was extremely helpful, particularly given that they were breaking new ground.
The focus of Paddy's research was the supervision of executive coaches using the Integral Model, developed in conjunction with The Integral Coaching Centre. "We have been able to draw on the research to imbed a process for assessment and supervision both within our own practice and as part of the training we provide.
"Interestingly I found the conceptualisation aspect of the DProf the most rewarding. I came to understand that I am an integrator; I enjoyed pulling the multiple aspects of the research together. Undertaking it with colleagues was also very helpful as we could bounce ideas off each other.
"Having practitioners with doctorate level qualifications at the Integral Coaching Centre has given us a huge amount of credibility. The business is growing despite the economic downturn and coaching has gained hugely in its recognition and use within the South African context, and an important aspect of our success is that we can differentiate ourselves in the market on the basis of our undeniable expertise.
Head of Industry Development, AEGON
Peter Williams rounded off five years of work-based learning through Middlesex University with a 60,000 word project, taking 'The Value of Advice' as his title. The Doctorate was the first awarded in financial planning in the UK, exploring the role played by financial advisers and written guides in boosting workplace pension provision and financial planning. The project was an excellent fit with Peter's role at AEGON, as findings in his research complemented the company's own consumer research, which together have contributed significantly to AEGON's Retail Distribution Review process. AEGON is one of the world's largest life insurance companies, offering pensions, investment, protection and financial advice, with the UK, USA and Netherlands among the company's largest markets.
Peter was initially concerned about the the time commitment required for such a major study programme, and also the demands of the challenge. "I am not a natural academic and my success has been a result of determination and hard work," he said. Initial parts of the course were harder than he expected, but proved good preparation for later stages. As a Chartered Marketer, Peter already had a range of experience in different types of research and was surprised to learn that he would need to complete a study unit in Research Methodologies. The University's insistence on this proved to be a good investment from Peter's point of view, as he gained added insight from the the study unit, particularly in the differences between academic research - where depth is the key focus - and market research, where breadth is most important.
"I very much enjoyed working with Peter," said Pauline Armsby, his tutor. "He was an excellent candidate because of his diligent approach. He maintained close links with his project advisory team and involved himself fully in the programme, representing DProf candidates at the Board of Studies... His approach obviously paid off because his project was highly commended by his external examiner and has attracted considerable attention in the financial services industry."
Peter enjoyed the challenge of studying and work-based learning, and felt that achieving the Doctorate has helped him in his professional role. He feels that he has gained a better awareness of the value of academic research and the depth of understanding it cam bring. "I'm more willing to look at issues in a reflective way... I have been able to use my research to help AEGON develop its thinking in a number of areas and to then influence Government, regulators and others."
Peter's research can be found here.