Professional Doctorates: Integrating Professional and Academic Knowledge

Professional Doctorates: Integrating Professional and Academic Knowledge

Professional Doctorates: Integrating Professional and Academic Knowledge

Professional Doctorates: Integrating Professional and Academic Knowledge


- What are professional doctorates?
- How do they change professional knowledge and improve practice?
- How can universities organise doctoral programmes to facilitate professional learning and development?
- What is the most appropriate relationship between professional and academic knowledge?

This book examines the relationship between advanced study on higher education courses and professional practice. It explores contributions made by research on practice to professional development.

The editors document and explain strategies that universities use:
- in recruitment
- aims and purposes of the degree
- selection of content and focus
- assessment procedures
- curricular structures
- pedagogy
- teaching strategies
- conditions for learning
- support for professionals
- relations with interested bodies and stakeholders.
The book uses in-depth case studies of three professional doctorates: the doctorate in business administration (DBA), the engineering doctorate (DEng) and the education doctorate (EdD).

Examining Professional Doctorates makes an important contribution to this neglected area of research. Essential reading for policy makers in higher education and anyone interested in professional doctoral study.


At first glance this is a book about practising professionals engaging in the rewarding, but difficult and often frustrating, business of completing a higher professional degree at a university. It is though more than this as its central theme is the dissonance between two cultures of learning, and the way students undertaking higher professional degrees have to confront the seeming irreducibility of the one to the other. It is therefore about peripherality, assimilation, learning and achievement. It is also about the different ways the student-practitioner is constructed within workplace and academic cultures, and how in an attempt to mediate between the two, they make choices that allow them to make sense of their lives.

Professional doctorates exist in the twilight zone between the university and the workplace. In this book we examine the changing role of the university, and in particular we focus on courses offered by the university for the development of professional learning. An implicit assumption made by members of a university is that when they offer professional development courses, the knowledge, skills and dispositions that make up those courses will lead to improvements to the various practices to which they make reference. However, we do not suggest that higher education learning transfers unproblematically to the workplace, despite the frequent assertions in course brochures and the like that this is what is intended. Professional learning, caught in the cusp between the two worlds, is a complex matter. Besides, workplace outcomes from professional development courses are difficult to identify, and especially so from courses of the type that we are dealing with here, and we might even be tempted to suggest that in some cases the schooled practitioner is less well equipped to go on in the workplace. What follows is an attempt to come to terms with an important development in the business of universities and in particular their desire to build bridges between themselves and the world of work.

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