Professional Doctorates: Grasping A New Way

Peter John Larmer, Elizabeth Smythe, Marion Jones


It is one thing to write a curriculum for a professional doctorate with a graduate profile that talks of practice-change and leadership development. Our experience of initiating the Doctor of Health Science in 2002 was that it was all too easy to fall back on the PhD mindset. It took inspiration from the literature, and pioneering candidates, to show us how this programme could be distinctively different from a PhD. We tell our story to reveal both challenges and possibilities. We see that all our candidates have a focus on bringing change to practice. Some do this through research ‘on’ practice, others by research ‘in’ practice, and then there are those caught up in the research/practice nexus. We believe a professional doctorate programme has potential to significantly grow the candidate into a leader of practice-change.

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