The Doctor of Professional Studies (DProf) is for advanced practitioners and is designed to focus on their professional development within their organisational/professional context. The DProf 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 (transdisciplinary) even where candidates have strong roots in a particular profession or occupation. It is primarily concerned with knowledge that is generated and used in practice.
As a candidate for this award you would undertake a critical reflection upon your practice and then design and undertake a doctoral level practice–based research project in your own work within your own organisation or community of practice. At the end of the programme candidates submit a research report and take part in an oral examination or viva on their research. With the successful completion of the examination the candidate achieves a doctorate and can be addressed as Doctor.
You can enrol throughout the year at a time appropriate for you and your organisation but induction days occur in early October and February. You will then undertake a programme of study for 4-5 years within your professional role. Your work becomes the focus of your study and as such your project enhances and develops your professional practice. An academic advisor is assigned to you at the start of your programme and will be available to you throughout your period of study. As the focus of your work develops one or two subject specialists will be assigned to you in the role of consultant(s) to your project allowing you to draw upon their expertise in your area of enquiry or methodology. 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.
The DProf is for the advanced practitioner who is probably working in a senior managerial position or alternatively is a consultant /professional working with senior managers/leaders. Our candidates span professions as diverse as Veterinary Science through to Executive Coaching. The link between them is not their original subject discipline but the professionalism of their practice and the higher level analysis and criticality they wish to bring to it to develop both themselves and their future role. Therefore it is not a doctorate for those wishing to enhance their technical expertise in their discipline but it is the doctorate for those wishing to enhance their professional practice and standing.
The research project is undertaken within practice making it ideal for those wishing to make significant, high level impact within their organisations or for those wishing to make a unique contribution to their professional community. The research reports from previous candidates can be found in our on-line repository.
The following case studies highlight the diversity of our DProf students and their research projects.
"Board Development Associate, Rachel Duffy had spent some time investigating the options before deciding to do a DProf with Middlesex University. "Undertaking a doctorate seemed like a natural progression for my CPD. I did consider doing a PhD but I chose to do the DProf because I wanted something that I felt would be grounded in the real world in which I operate. I was looking for something pragmatic which would tackle real work based challenges – and bring insight and value to my employer, my community of practice and my clients."
Rachel's role within the NHS involves working with a wide range of decision making Boards including Foundation Trusts, Acute, Ambulance, Mental Health and Commissioning organisations. Drawing on her background in organisational development, her DProf focuses on the effectiveness of boards, and understanding how the current framework and development tools can be improved to help increase their effectiveness.
"Much of the literature is generated from a management viewpoint; however I felt that an organisational development perspective would be of value. I am hoping that my research will bring insights which will really help our boards to become more effective." Rachel sees the DProf as a very good vehicle for drawing together evidence and disseminating insights to influence practice across the NHS.
Rachel found one of the best aspects of undertaking the DProf was that she was at the centre of her own research. "I had ready access to resources, colleagues and communities of practice. Although the DProf is a big commitment, it is grounded in my job. The benefits of my research feed straight into my work; this would not be the case if I had undertaken a full time PhD."
Rachel Duffy - Board Development Associate, NHS
Visit the Doctor of Professional Studies (DProf) page on the Middlesex University website for more details!
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