Professional doctorates enhance careers and personal development, research shows, as new Doctorate in Education is launched by top university
New study demonstrates professional and personal benefits
Higher degrees have proven professional and personal benefits, and can enhance career prospects, according to a new study.
Research into the impact of professional doctorates, carried out by Hilary Burgess of the University of Leicester and Jerry Wellington, of Sheffield University, shows for the first time how higher degrees impact positively on presentation and language skills, and provide a deeper understanding of the student’s occupation and relationship with colleagues.
The findings were revealed as the University of Leicester launched a new Doctorate in Education this month. The qualification is expected to attract students from a range of backgrounds from those working in education, to people whose job it is to train professionals such as nurses and dentists.
Participants will study for the EdD part-time for a period of up to five years. The course will consist of assignments and e-learning activities, as well as a thesis, and students will be expected to work independently as researchers. By the end of the first year they will have completed three assignments and drawn up a framework for their thesis.
Students will be required to attend an initial residential session at the university, where they will meet other students and their tutors. However, most of the course will be accessed through an electronic environment, where they will follow seminars and lecturers via pod-casts, have access to the university’s library and communicate with staff and colleagues through an on-line community.
Professor Burgess, who revised the EdD programme at the University of Leicester, said the qualification would be structured around the study and investigation of contemporary issues. She said: "A professional doctorate is valuable to people across a range of careers and is important for professional practice.
"People find it has an impact on their jobs and career prospects. It may also make them more sensitive about the way they handle workplace issues and gives them new perspectives in the way they think about their work.”
Her research found that people with professional doctorates were overwhelmingly positive about the qualification. Some had achieved rapid promotion as a result of successfully completing a higher degree, while others received increased remuneration after impressing their bosses with their new knowledge and approach to the job.
Nearly all reported that their critical and analytical skills, and use of language in the workplace, had been enhanced as their knowledge deepened. They also listened more closely to the views of colleagues, and found themselves better able to emphathise with fellow professionals.
Previous studies into the take-up of doctorates have tended to focus on people’s motivation to undertake a higher degree, rather than the impact of completing such as course.
In June, Ministers expressed a commitment to the professional development of teachers with the announcement of a £2 million Scholarship Scheme, which will provide bursaries of up to £3,500 for teachers wishing to undertake a post-graduate qualification. The criteria states that the scheme will encourage "serving teachers to pursue knowledge independently to Masters level and beyond”.
Students wishing to apply to the EdD at the University of Leicester should have a Master’s degree in a relevant field.