Professional Doctorate

    About This Professional Doctorate

    Course Description

    Course Overview

    We offer full-time (three years) and part-time (six years) doctoral training programmes (including PhDs and a Professional Doctorate) in topics or research approaches in which QMU researchers have expertise. You will create a significant piece of original research and, in the process, gain advanced research skills, putting you in a very strong position for progression in your chosen academic or professional field. Our programmes also include an award of a Doctoral Certificate, achieved by completing three READ modules (Researcher Enhancement and Development) each of 20 credits at SCQF level 12.

    Your doctorate is a substantial piece of learning and research, reflecting three or more years of endeavour, which has commercial, cultural or social value. It is also a process through which you will acquire advanced research knowledge, skills and expertise, be challenged and transform as a person. The training programme for your doctorate will require significant personal discipline, time and commitment. In return, your sense of achievement at the end will be immense, and successful completion of your doctorate will open up a range of opportunities for career advancement.

    Why QMU?

    • As a student in our Graduate School, you will benefit from a large range of support for all aspects of your studies.
    • Students receive academic support from their individual supervisory team as well as their Head of Division and/or Research Centre Director. Our Academic Schools also have a dedicated Postgraduate School Research Coordinator, who is available for independent consultation and support.
    • During the course of the PhD programme, there will be many opportunities for professional and personal development. Students receive a wide range of generic research skills training which is organised by the Centre for Academic Practice and delivered during dedicated doctoral study weeks throughout each academic year. Engagement with research skills training and professional development opportunities enables face-to-face interaction amongst the doctoral community, which in turn facilitates collaborative enquiry, shared learning, individual exploration and mutual support and challenge.
    • In addition to the 540 doctoral credits gained by successful completion of the PhD, students are also enrolled on the Doctoral Certificate in Researcher Enhancement and Development (READ). Successful completion of the READ programme awards students an additional 60, level 12, doctoral credits in research skills.


    You would usually complete a doctoral programme, including the READ modules, in three years full-time or six years part-time. On the successful completion of READ, you will be awarded the 60-credit level 12 Doctoral Certificate in addition to any doctoral award for your research. We are the only university in Scotland that provides a formal academic award at this level for the broader learning that goes into doctoral studies.

    Throughout your doctoral programme, you will participate in doctoral education and learning weeks. These focus on developing the knowledge and skills that you require in order to successfully design and progress your doctoral research project and the three READ modules. They also provide a great networking opportunity for you to engage with your fellow doctoral candidates, other research supervisors and the Graduate School team.

    Teaching, Learning and Assessment

    As a doctoral candidate you will progressively demonstrate a doctoral level understanding of research philosophies and methodologies, show originality in application of research methods, and understand how the boundaries of knowledge are advanced through research impact. PhD candidates will extend the forefront of a discipline by making an impact with an original contribution to knowledge — or your field of practice in the case of a Professional Doctorate candidate.

    Teaching Hours and Attendance

    There is a longitudinal induction available for doctoral students. This consists of week-long sessions that run in September, January and April, which all students are expected to attend. Alongside this longitudinal induction, the Centre for Academic Practice at QMU offers workshops that support students to develop key skills that are relevant to their studies and/or their future career development.

    The expectation is that full-time candidates will devote approximately 35 hours per week and part-time candidates approximately 18.5 hours per week to their studies. Meetings with the supervisory team are usually monthly throughout the programme for full-time candidates, and bi-monthly for part-time candidates. However, this is negotiable between the candidate and the supervisory team, details of which are recorded in the learning contract and annual reports.


    Wherever possible, doctoral students are given the opportunity to hone and develop their academic teaching skills within their department, and are supported by staff within their discipline, as well as by staff from the Centre for Academic Practice. Opportunities are also available for students to develop other skills in academia, within research or within industry.

    Visit the Professional Doctorate page on the Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh website for more details!

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    Further Information

    Entry Requirements

    For a PhD route you should have a good UK Honours degree (2:1 or above) OR an equivalent degree from another country OR equivalent professional experience. Additionally, you must produce an outline research proposal (approximately 1,000 words), which we assess to be feasible and appropriate for the level of study, and which is in a field where we can offer supervision expertise.

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