Postgraduate Research

Professional Doctorate

This course is for experienced professionals working in various professional contexts. It enables the development of high level skills in the application of research, communication, leadership and consultancy in practice.

This course is for experienced professionals working in various professional contexts. It enables the development of high level skills in the application of research, communication, leadership and consultancy in practice.


Fraser Anderson talks about his experiences undertaking a Professional Doctorate at QMU, below:

Course Overview

The professional doctorate is designed to produce professionals who are competent and confident in using their skills to tackle emergent problems in their professional practice, and to develop practice to meet the demands of the 21st century. You will be creating, conceiving, developing and undertaking doctoral projects that require a strong emphasis on individually determined learning and self-directed study. The focus of the learning is on collaborative enquiry, shared learning, individual learning, individual exploration and mutual challenge and support where you and your supervisors relate as professional equals. Emphasis is placed on facilitated learning to enable you to develop detailed, analytical leading edge and lateral ways of thinking that enhance your critical insights into professional and work-based issues. Autonomy of learning is promoted through registration of a doctoral learning plan devised by you with reference to your own learning requirements.

There are nine doctoral titles available across the University and you select the most appropriate at doctoral research module stage.

Exit Awards

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) (540 credits)

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Your learning is facilitated through a mix of masterclass seminar presentations and workshops alongside your colleagues undertaking PhDs. Web-based tools (The Hub and E-Portfolio) are used to facilitate discussion groups online and as a specific learning framework. Summative and formative assessment and discussions maximise opportunities for problem solving, analysis and synthesis of material, project planning and implementation, construction of written reports, reflection and reflective analysis and assimilation and presentation of evidence. Assessment strategies are designed to ensure rigour of academic thinking, and to promote the achievement of your personal and professional goals, augmenting individuals’ experiences and expertise. Normally a cohort of at least six students commences annually. This cohort approach supports doctoral level development, pertinent both to your individual practice and to the wider professional arena.

Teaching Hours and Attendance

During your initial year of study you will attend QMU for three, one week blocks of study in September, January and April. Further to this, you will meet with your Supervisory Team at least once a semester, but more often monthly, and you will require to undertake a significant amount of independent study. Further study week opportunities are available as you progress. Part-time students should consider carefully how they will achieve this while undertaking their work role.

Links with Industry / Professional Bodies

This is a high-level academic award, extremely relevant to a broad range of arenas across health, business, hospitality, creative industries and social sciences. Doctoral graduates are in a position to investigate and transform professional practice developments. In addition, any work-related project is carried out in conjunction with the student’s workbase, ensuring partnership working with all involved, and communication with peers, professional colleagues and policy makers.


  • Theory and Context of Professional Practice (work-based learning module) (90 credits)
  • Development and Evaluation of Professional Practice (work-based learning module) (90 credits)
  • Doctorate Research (60 credits)
  • Thesis (180 credits)

Students enter with ‘advanced standing’, possessing 120 credits from a postgraduate diploma/ master’s award.

The modules listed here are correct at the time of posting (July 16), but are subject to change. In the event that modules have to change, QMU will seek to use reasonable endeavours to ensure that there is no detrimental impact to students.


Graduates will already be well established as a professional in their specialist field, but will now have high levels of knowledge and investigative and research skills, which advance practice in professional spheres. The qualification offers you recognition of your expertise and professional standing acknowledged worldwide.

Quick Facts

  • This course will give you an internationally recognised high level of qualification. For example: Doctor of Business Administration, Doctor of Social Science, Doctor of Person- Centred Practice.
  • As you choose the focus of your learning within your own professional arena, this course is highly relevant and flexible to your particular context.
  • The aim of the course is to help you to develop expertise professionally, personally, and in research skills, enabling you to take forward your profession.

Entry Requirements

You should have a postgraduate diploma or master’s qualification, which includes research methods, and strong evidence of personal and professional development. Candidates should normally have significant experience, and show evidence of development in an area of expert practice, and /or management and leadership skills. There will be an interview process.

International: Where your degree has not been studied in English, you will be required to take an IELTS test receiving an overall score of 6.5 and no individual component score below 6.0.

Application Deadline


More Information and Contacts

Admissions or Lindesay Irvine on tel: +44(0)131 474 0000.

Course Overview

Initial attendance at QMU followed by individual learning
Full-time: 3 – 4 years; Part-time: 6 – 8 years
Start Date
September 2018