Doctor of Professional Studies DProf
2017 - 2018
Doctor of Professional Studies
Doctor of Professional Studies
Doctor of Professional Studies (Negotiated Studies)
University of Chester
University of Chester
Queen's Park Campus, Riverside Campus, Parkgate Road Campus
Residential and Open,
4 years (3-7 years)
Annual - October
Business and Management
Centre for Work Related Studies
Framework for Higher Education Qualifications and FHEQ (England, Wales & Northern Ireland).
Framework for Qualifications for the European Higher Education third cycle awards.
BAM Faculty Professional Doctorates (DProf/DBA) Module Assessment Board and Research Degree Progression/Awards Boards
Wednesday 1st July 2009
This programme aims to build on the innovative work in the field of work based learning which has been carried out at the University of Chester over the past two decades. The curriculum for this programme will be learner-centred work based learning and the intention is to provide for continuing professional development at an advanced level for those in positions of responsibility where, through their learning and their research outputs, they can make a significant contribution to, and impact on, advanced professional practice within the context of their profession.
It is expected that learners will engage with issues that lead them to new ways of thinking that may bring about organisational change and/or enable them to operate at the highest level of professional practice. The outcomes of their research should demonstrate originality of thought and be of a standard suitable for publication within their professional area.
In particular, the programme aims to enable learners to
Plan and execute projects that are designed to enhance professional practice and/or understanding and that make a positive and lasting impact on business objectives
Develop their knowledge and understanding of an area of professional practice such that they are able to offer creative and original insights to the benefit of their own practice and their profession
Demonstrate advanced understanding of research methods and their application to an area of professional practice
Design and manage a research programme (and to modify it according to need as the project progresses) that will result in the generation of new knowledge and/or lead to the development of new professional practices or new understandings of a professional area
Take control of their own learning and develop to an advanced level their critically reflective and critically evaluative capabilities as well as developing advanced project management skills
Produce findings that satisfy peer scrutiny and are deemed to be of publishable quality
Facilitate learning in the workplace that will lead to the highest level of academic achievement
At level 7/M students will have achieved
the ability to undertake, in a self-directed manner, work based projects that deal with complex issues concerning professional practice and/or organisational objectives (IS7508, IS7022, IS7020, IS7021)
they will have used a variety of sources of knowledge/evidence and they will have exercised critical judgment in its application and arrived at new insights in relation to their professional practice and/or organisational understanding (IS7508, IS7022, IS7020, IS7021)
knowledge of research methods applicable to their professional context which they will have critiqued and taken full cognisance of ethical implications (IS7022, IS7020, IS7021)
At level 8/D students will have achieved
advanced trans-disciplinary knowledge and understanding within the epistemological areas which underpin their professional practice and which places them at the forefront of this practice (IS8004, IS8005)
the ability, through original research and/or advanced scholarship, to create and interpret new knowledge and to communicate this to others so that it satisfies peer review and merits publication (IS8004, IS8005)
advanced understanding of research method as it applies to their area of professional expertise such that they can apply their understanding in new situations and contribute to the development of practice-based research techniques (IS8004, IS8005)
the ability to conceptualise, design and implement projects for the generation of new knowledge and/or for the advancement of professional practice, and to achieve this within the context of the social, political and ethical complexities of the work environment (IS8004, IS8005)
At level 7/M students will have achieved the ability to
analyse and synthesise information in such a way that it can be of use to them and others within the context of their professional practice (IS7508, IS7022, IS7020, IS7021)
critically evaluate concepts, theories, research findings and other sources of knowledge and make informed judgments about their application in the context of professional practice (IS7508, IS7022, IS7020, IS7021)
think critically, to undertake critical self-reflection and to act critically within the context of their professional practice and in such a way that it has advanced their self understanding as a professional and as a person (IS7508, IS7022, IS7020, IS7021)
At level 8/D students will have achieved the ability to
engage in critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis of new and complex ideas, enabling them to engage in dialogue with others on complex matters where alternative solutions to problems and practices are being sought (IS8004, IS8005)
undertake deep level critical reflection in relation to their own and others' actions enabling them to arrive at new understandings and/or to plan and execute new approaches to professional practice (IS8004, IS8005)
communicate ideas effectively to both specialist and non-specialist audiences demonstrating a command of their subject and/or area of professional practice (IS8004, IS8005)
make independent judgements and manage their own learning within the context of a community of practice where they will regularly independently and with others critique and evaluate their own practice (IS8004, IS8005)
A key aspect of the rationale for this programme is about continuing professional development and learning achieved in this context will inevitably have potential for transferability.
At level 7/M students will have achieved the ability to
deal systematically and creatively with complex issues and to apply their knowledge and understanding to work place contexts (IS7508, IS7022, IS7020, IS7021) make sound judgments based on evidence and be able to communicate ideas effectively to others (IS7020, IS7021) learn and work independently as well as with others especially in solving problems and dealing with matters of professional practice (IS7508, IS7022, IS7020, IS7021) use existing and recently acquired knowledge in new professional contexts (IS7020, IS7021)
At level 8/D students will have achieved the ability to
exercise a high level of personal responsibility and largely autonomous initiative in complex and unpredictable situations in professional contexts (IS8004, IS8005)
take a leadership role in their field, demonstrating their confidence of mastery of a complex body of knowledge relating to their profession, with the ability to communicate it effectively to others both within and outside the work place (IS8004, IS8005)
deploy resources relevant to their professional practice effectively in complex and sometimes new contexts taking into account social, political and ethical considerations (IS8004, IS8005)
In addition students will also have developed in the following areas:
Application of Number - An understanding of statistics and statistical analysis and its use in practical contexts will be achieved through research applications (IS7508, IS7022, IS7020, IS7021, IS8003, IS8004)
Information Literacy and Technology - Development of skills in these areas will be achieved through the work based nature of the programme and the consequent need to maintain contact with the University and its on-line resources (IS7508, IS7022, IS7020, IS7021, IS8004, IS8005)
Improving own learning and performance - The high degree of motivation and independent learning required on this programme will ensure development in these areas (IS7508, IS7022, IS7020, IS7021, IS8003, IS8004) Working with others - With the work place as the principal site of learning for students on this programme, development of this skill is assured (IS7020, IS7021, IS8004, IS8005)
Problem solving - The focus of the programme is essentially around this area thus skill development in this context is assured (IS7508, IS7022, IS7020, IS7021, IS8004, IS8005)
High levels of communication will be achieved through this programme (both written and oral), especially in the context of assessment tasks and the dissemination of research findings.
The curriculum structure for this programme needs to be understood holistically. The Level 7 and Level 8 modules are intended to prepare the student for, and to feed in to, the Research Project. Thus, the principal aim of the Personal and Professional Review/Negotiated Programme Learning Agreement (IS7508) module is for the student to make a case for their readiness to engage in level 8/D study whilst also ensuring a mechanism for them to make application for any credit for prior learning that may be appropriate.
The Negotiated Experiential Learning (e.g. IS7011, IS7017, IS7018, IS7019, IS7020, IS7021) modules at Level 7/M provide an opportunity for the student to undertake work based learning in the chosen area for their research and to try out their ideas, including the testing of the various research methodologies that they consider it is most likely they will use. A mixture of Negotiated Learning Modules will be agreed as part of the Negotiated Programme Learning Agreement.
Alternatively, the level 7 part of the programme might be a claim for prior experiential or certificated learning that is cognate with the overall area of research (as set out in the Negotiated Programme Learning Agreement). Learners may attend, with prior agreement of the Programme Leader, classes or modules on the Faculty’s work-based Master’s or MBA programmes to raise their levels of knowledge and understanding in areas related to their research which they have not previously studied to Master's level.
As the student progresses to level 8/D, they will take the Researcher and Research Development (IS8004) module which is designed to equip them with the resources to proactively plan and develop their own personal and professional development in relation to designing practice-oriented research projects at doctoral level. Broadly, this involves: planning and addressing own personal and professional development priorities as a practitioner researcher seeking to influence practice; developing knowledge at the forefront of a field in order to define and conceptualise practice-based problems suitable for advanced investigation; and developing knowledge and skills in designing methodology and method which contribute to practice and scholarly debate.
Finally, the student will complete the Research Project (IS8005). The Personal and Professional Review/Negotiated Programme Learning Agreement module at level 7/M will have established that the student has sufficient responsibility and influence to ensure access to the necessary information to carry out the research and, through the research, to make a positive impact on the organisation. The focus of the research will be concentrated on a real organisational issue that is of strategic importance.
At 8/D level studies students will be assessed against learning outcomes derived from the FHEQ level descriptor for qualifications at doctoral level. Thus, inter alia, they will need to demonstrate originality in research and/or advanced scholarship that is worthy of publication and satisfies peer review by demonstrating new knowledge or applications extending the forefront of the principal disciplinary or professional focus of their enquiry.
Negotiated, work based research to target impact
Designed to target the development needs of work-based researchers and wider practice
Part-time study for professionals seeking to generate impact, facilitated by structured development opportunities through the Faculty’s innovative researcher development hub.
The overall award is made up of 540 credits, 180 of which are at level 7/M and 360 of which are at level 8/D.
Students exiting with an MProf will have completed a minimum of 180 credit points at Level 7 or above, subject to standard university APL policy (e.g. up to 120 credits can be from APCL or APEL).
Applicants will typically need to demonstrate the following within their application and interview:
Be employed or self-employed, and be in a position to influence organisational, sectoral or national policy (or are working towards this); and
An Honours degree with a minimum of an upper second class from a recognised university; and
A Master’s degree with a minimum of a ‘merit’ profile from a recognised university; and
A minimum of 5 years’ experience of substantial responsibility and influence (e.g. at organisational, sectoral or national levels); and
Advanced skills in writing (through a 1,000 word (max) project proposal outlining the 'what, why and how' of a research project); and
Commitment to advanced continuing professional development.
Students whose first language is not English will need to demonstrate competence of IELTS level 7.00.
There are no Subject Benchmark Statements within the context of Professional Doctorates through negotiated, work based learning. However, the design of this programme has been directly informed by the QAA’s Quality Code (QAA, 2011, 2014, 2015, 2016), European standards and guidance (EC, 2014, 2016, EUA, 2015), and the ESRC postgraduate training guidelines (ESRC, 2015). International standards of doctoral study and associated doctoral training have also been referenced to strengthen international comparability of standards (including ABS (2005), DET (2015), HKEB (2016), NRC (2011)). Adoption of Vitae’s (2010) Researcher Development Framework is a central feature of the programme.
ABS (2005) Guidelines for the Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA), London: Association of Business Schools.
DET (2015) The Australian Qualifications Framework – AQF Level 10, Canberra, Department of Education and Training.
EC (2014) The European Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning. Available at http://www.ehea.info/article-details.aspx?ArticleId=67. Accessed 19th January 2016.
EC (2016) The European Charter and Code for Researchers, Brussels, The European Commission.
ESRC (2015) ESRC Postgraduate Training and Development Guidelines, Second Edition, Swindon: The Economic and Social Research Council.
EUA (2015) The EUA Antwerp Declaration, Brussels: The European University Association.
HKEB (2016) Qualification Framework Secretariat - Hong Kong Qualifications Framework, Hong Kong: Hong Kong Education Bureau.
NRC (2011) A Data-Based Assessment of Research-Doctorate Programs in the United States, Washington (DC): National Research Council / National Academies Press.
QAA (2011) Doctoral Degree Characteristics, Gloucester: The QAA.
QAA (2014) UK Quality Code for Higher Education Part A: Setting and Maintaining Academic Standards PART A The Frameworks for Higher Education Qualifications of UK Degree-Awarding Bodies, Gloucester: The QAA.
QAA (2015) Subject Benchmark Statement: Master's Degrees in Business and Management (2015), London: QAA.
QAA (2016) UK Quality Code for Higher Education Park B: Assuring and Enhancing Academic Quality - Chapter B11: Research Degrees, Gloucester: The QAA.
Vitae (2010) Researcher Development Framework, Cambridge: Vitae.
The Faculty’s researcher development hub provides a structured core of skills and knowledge for all of the doctoral students within the Faculty, and includes tutor facilitated group workshops, research seminars, group mentoring, annual conference, individual tutorial sessions, online support materials, and so on. However, the principal method of learning will be through independent reading, critical reflection, writing, and engagement in relevant communities of practice. In addition, it may be possible to attend, subject to agreement, relevant modules or sessions of the part-time or work-based MBAs within the Faculty.
Assessment will be varied across the programme, but will include, for example: a review of literature, a research proposal, a reflective personal/professional development review, a thesis and oral examination. Formative feedback is a core developmental dimension of the programme and opportunities to present, craft and re-present will be provided through tutor feedback, workshops, the annual conference, and through a pre-submission interview processes with specialists. Formative feedback on drafts of work will be given in accordance with the policy of the Department.
The holder of a Doctor of Professional Studies award will be an advanced professional who has:
extensive knowledge and understanding of their field of professional practice
the ability to create and interpret knowledge such that it extends the forefront of a discipline or field of practice
undertaken original research and/or in-depth enquiry into an area of professional practice
conceptualised, designed and implemented projects for the generation of significant new knowledge and/or understanding
the ability to make informed judgments on complex issues in specialist fields taking account of social, political and ethical dimensions
the ability to be innovative in tackling and solving problems
The University is committed to the promotion of diversity, equality and inclusion in all its forms; through different ideas and perspectives, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. We are, in particular, committed to widening access to higher education. Within an ethically aware and professional environment, we acknowledge our responsibilities to promote freedom of enquiry and scholarly expression.
Key benefits of researching with us:
We adopt an innovative and whole person approach – aligned to international benchmarks (e.g. Vitae, ESRC)
Contribute to and engage with our growing doctoral and researcher community – our doctoral student satisfaction is above national average (PRES)
Network with researchers recognised as creating world-leading research (REF 2014)
The Faculty has a strong track record of facilitating organisational development across sectors
Fast track your doctoral journey by getting recognition for your previous Master’s level achievements
Target strategic workplace issues and challenges for organisational and even sectorial change and benefit.
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