One of the distinctive features of high-level professional practice is the extent to which we are required to negotiate our way across a complex, changing, professional landscape. As transdisciplinary practitioners, we work in organisational, social and political environments that call for agility and imagination, stretching our professional expertise and challenging our personal values. As agents of change we need the insight and ability to gather and evaluate multiple forms of evidence and employ knowledge from many different and, at times, conflicting sources. Transdisciplinary practitioners act intentionally from perspectives that embrace the multi-layered nature of reality, move freely across boundaries, and work into and through the paradoxes and contradictions rather than around them.
The Doctor of Professional Studies (Transdisciplinary) (DProf TD) is open to experienced practitioners from all professional areas who bring a high level of curiosity and passion to their commitment to make a positive difference to their sector/field. It is designed to help the individual practitioner respond to the complex, high level challenges that show up in their context.
As a candidate for this award you will undertake a critical reflection on your personal and professional practice followed by a piece of doctoral level practice–focused research in your own context, organisation or community of practice. At the end of the programme you will submit a research thesis and present and discuss your work to a panel, a process commonly referred to as the viva. On successful completion of this final milestone, you will be awarded a doctorate and can be addressed as Doctor.
The DProf (TD) is the professional equivalent to the PhD and has the same rigorous assessment methods and criteria.
You are an advanced professional practitioner who is probably working in a senior managerial position or a consultant /director/entrepreneur responsible for leading/developing thinking, practice and people. Our candidates span professions as diverse as global investment, IT, higher education, executive coaching and public health.
The connection between these fields is not your technical knowledge or skill, but the professionalism required of the practice and the higher level engagement and criticality you desire to develop in yourself, in your future role and in others. If you wish to solely enhance your technical expertise in your specialist discipline this doctoral pathway would not be the most appropriate choice for you. If your motivation is to bring about shifts and changes in thinking and practice cultures in complex situations, creatively and innovatively, and for which you are responsible and accountable - as it is driven by your evolved agency and your perception of the world as interconnected and complex - then take up the challenge and join us to make a unique and significant impact a reality.
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There are two entry points in the year, in September and January. On enrolment you will join a cohort of candidates from different backgrounds, locations and professional fields who become a supportive learning community. During the first stage of the programme (6-9 months) you will participate in a weekly online workshop with other members of your cohort leading to the first milestone of the programme confirming your ability to work at doctoral level. Regular online workshops continue into Stage 2 (a further 6-9 months) which is designed to enable you to develop a comprehensive, coherent and convincing research proposal to be undertaken at Stage 3 (which usually takes a further 2-3 years).
Throughout the programme you will have access to online resources designed specifically to support your research. Approximately 4 to 6 months after enrolment you will be assigned to a Director of Studies who will serve as your principal supervisor to support you throughout your period of study. As the focus of your work develops one or two supervisors may be assigned in the role of specialists on aspects of your research.
They could be for a leading professional in your practice field, a known writer on aspects such as leadership; complexity and culture or an academic specialist in your chosen research design. Regular contact with your Director of Studies throughout your research is essential and may occur through face to face meetings, online on Zoom or similar video networks, or by email. These meetings will provide opportunity for formative feedback on written work and discussion of issues arising in the research and any other concerns that might have an effect on your progress.
Progress through the programme is formally assessed at the Stage 1 and Stage 2 Reviews. The programme's final destination is the viva voce, the oral examination of a thesis presented by the candidate.
Participants on this programme are often well established in their field and decide to undertake a Professional Doctorate either to enhance their skills and knowledge in their present role or to advance their career. Many testify to the way their understanding of themselves and their agency and their influence on their practice domain has been transformed.
We’ll carefully manage any future changes to courses, or the support and other services available to you, if these are necessary because of things like changes to government health and safety advice, or any changes to the law.
Any decisions will be taken in line with both external advice and the University’s Regulations which include information on this.
Our priority will always be to maintain academic standards and quality so that your learning outcomes are not affected by any adjustments that we may have to make.
At all times we’ll aim to keep you well informed of how we may need to respond to changing circumstances, and about support that we’ll provide to you.