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Doctor of Professional Studies (Transdisciplinary) by Public Works

Learn about the course below

Doctor of Professional Studies (Transdisciplinary) by Public Works

Sept 2024
Minimum 1 year+
£6,300 (UK)*
£8,900 (INT)*
Course leader
Kate Maguire

The Doctorate in Professional Studies by Public Works (DProf Public Works) is for high achieving professional practitioners who already have a substantial amount of outputs in the public domain which influence practice and contribute to knowledge (public works).

Why study Doctor of Professional Studies (DProf) by Public Works at Middlesex University?

What is distinctive about the DProf by Public Works is that it 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 (trans-disciplinary) even where candidates have strong roots in a particular profession or occupation. The public works can be in various forms from published works in the traditional sense to other embodied expressions of knowledge. Examples include the preparation of computer programmes, scholarly works, edited texts, specialist reports prepared for government departments and other public bodies, translations, collections of artefacts, videos, photographic records, musical scores, and diagrammatic representations. (Please refer to our case studies listed under the case studies tab)

This award is primarily concerned with the individual critiquing their own contributions and deriving further learning from the knowledge outcomes they have placed in the public domain. The value of this undertaking to the individual is the impact on future directions and outputs and to others it is a valuable insight into the processes and skills required to transform research into useful outputs that influence thinking, action and practice.

The time frame for this award is one year. As a candidate for this award you will undertake a 20 – 25,000 word critique of your public works and present it to a viva panel. With the successful completion of the examination you will achieve a doctorate and can be addressed with the title ‘Dr’.

Course highlights

  • Candidates are mentored to develop an intense and individual critique of their works including positioning themselves and their works in the wider field.
  • The DProf by Public Works acknowledges the contribution made to knowledge and practice of the doctoral level activities of innovators which have brought influential thinking and practice into the public domain. Through this programme doctoral academic credit can be gained in recognition of this achievement.
  • It is the professional equivalent to the PhD by published works. It has the same rigorous assessment methods and criteria but has a focus on the candidate’s quality of critique of outcomes which have emerged from their research outcomes of their professional practice. The focus of any DProf research, whether through the DProf programme or the DProf by Public Works, is situated within the professional working environment and places the candidate at the centre of the enquiry.

What will you study on Doctor of Professional Studies (DProf) by Public Works?

Your task on this doctoral programme is to select and organise your public works for submission and prepare a context statement. Regular contact with your adviser and consultant is essential for progress to be made at the correct academic level and also helps to ensure the effective management of any problems which may arise during your period of registration.

If you are a candidate at the start of your second study period, your adviser reports to the doctoral assessment board on the quality of your draft work for the proposed degree, with particular reference to the content, rationale and length of the context statement, and its relation to the public works.

If progress is deemed satisfactory, you may continue to prepare your work for submission. Once your adviser is satisfied that your intended submission, taken as a whole (the public works and the context statement), is likely to be considered to fulfil the requirements for the award of the DProf by Public Works, the work may be submitted for examination.

If concerns about quality are raised by the adviser when they report to the doctoral assessment board, they will advise you that the draft work must be submitted to a programme approval panel (known as the 'registration panel'). A registration panel consists of:

  • an independent chair
  • DProf programme leader
  • your adviser
  • at least one independent member with experience of assessing research at the appropriate level.

This panel evaluates your work and states what improvements need to be made before it can be submitted for final examination.

How is the Doctor of Professional Studies (DProf) by Public Works taught?

You can enrol throughout the year at a time appropriate for you. The application process involves a detailed statement on which you receive written and oral guidance and the submission of your public works for review by a specialist in your area of influence and expertise. If the review is successful, an academic advisor is assigned to you at the start of your programme. They will advise you on structure and how to meet the doctoral criteria of this award, and are available to you during your period on the programme.

An academic consultant who is a specialist in your area will also be nominated in consultation with you to engage with you on the specialist nature of your public works. 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.

Delivery is through the advisor and consultant, the programme handbooks, the virtual learning environment and university learning resources. Candidates are invited to all research seminars and events which are also recorded and posted up on the VLE. A timetable of drafts is worked out between you and your advisor.  A viva will be arranged once there is notification of your intended submission date. The viva panel includes two external examiners and one internal.


In summary, the examination process is in two parts. First, each examiner independently completes a preliminary report on the public works and context statement you have submitted. Second, you give an oral presentation and discuss your submission of work with the examiners. This is also known as a viva voce. You must satisfy the examiners both in respect of the quality of your written submission and the quality of your engagement during the oral presentation in order to be awarded the degree.

You can find out more about teaching and assessment in the programme specification.

  1. Qualifications
  2. How to apply
  3. Further information
  1. UK
  2. International
  • Dr Rohan Bedi

    Senior Executive, Money Laundering Risk (AML)

    The DProf by Public Works programme has helped me to assess my contributions to the field over the years and chart out a course for the future. The process requires a constant questioning of one's contributions starting with the most basic question – "why is this important?" The process requires introspection and the reassessing of one's assumptions and this has inevitably led to excellent personal and professional growth.

  • Dr Susanne Burns

    Development Consultant

    As an experienced consultant in the arts and cultural sector, I had carried out a lot of research over several years and wanted to find a way to find time for reflection on this body of work and my working practices. The DProf by Public Works programme at Middlesex was ideal as I was able to continue with my work whilst studying. The process was an amazing learning experience and gave me the chance to validate my work which would not have been possible with a conventional doctorate programme.

  • Dr Ruth Pilkington

    Academic Developer, Higher Education

    This has been a truly transformative experience. It allowed me to privilege professional knowledge generated in and through work, research and practice at doctoral level. This is something we desperately need in an environment where knowledge is more often created in complexity and through the interplay of the person, workplace, organisation and context. A doctorate for the future?

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.

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