however, the credibility of the Professional Doctorate has been rising, as graduates contribute to professional practice in very real and meaningful ways through the outcomes of their research. We adopted a qualitative approach to the analysis of secondary data, and the meta-analysis of the Professional Doctorate programs in Australia, between 1990 and 2021. This presentation provides a review of the key factors which differentiate a Professional Doctorate from a PhD and the issues which arise as a consequence. The results indicate that a focus upon ‘real world’ issues, dissemination of research beyond the academy and providing research training for highly skilled knowledge brokers are points of major difference. We begin with a short historical review on the evolution of the Professional Doctorate as an alternative to the PhD, examine issues of equivalence and divergence, and then consider how quality assurance is understood by those who administer and supervise Professional Doctorate programs. In particular, we examine how postgraduate supervisors are influenced by their own PhD trajectory and may unwittingly impose the same expectations upon their Professional Doctorate students, causing student confusion over dissertation structure and expected focus of the literature review, among other things. In addition, academics who view the Professional Doctorate as a ‘light’ PhD may bring conflicting expectations to the Professional Doctorate dissertations they agree to examine. These findings inform the identification of specific and distinguishing criteria to inform the development of existing and future Professional Doctorate programs.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 04 Mar 2022
Event8th Postgraduate Supervision Conference 2022: Transitions, trajectories and transformations in postgraduate supervision: The times they are a-changing - Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
Duration: 15 Mar 202218 Mar 2022
Conference number: 8


Conference8th Postgraduate Supervision Conference 2022
Abbreviated titlePostgraduate Supervision
Country/TerritorySouth Africa
CityCape Town
OtherPresented by the Centre for Higher and Adult Education, Stellenbosch University
Internet address


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