Browser does not support script.

Research degrees

Applying for a professional doctorate

Guidance on how to complete the application form and the interview process.

We accept new professional doctorate students on 1 January each year. To meet the January start deadline, you should apply as early as you can and by 1 November at the latest.

On our professional doctorate courses you will study 4 taught modules. You will then work on an extended research thesis. These courses give you a chance to expand your knowledge and professional practice.

How to complete your application form

In this section you will fill in basic details about yourself.

In the preferred start date field, you should write January. This is because this is when our professional doctorate courses start each year.

You can include up to 20 different qualifications in this section. We prefer you to only include those from degree level onwards. This is because these are the only ones we need to make our decision.

We will need to review and authenticate your certificates. It is useful to scan and upload copies of these in your application.

You will also need to bring your certificates with you if you're invited to an interview.

To apply for a professional doctorate you need to:

  • Be working in a relevant field
  • Have at least 2 years of relevant professional experience

You do not need to give your whole professional history in this section. We only need to know about experience which is relevant to the course.

We use the same application form for many of the courses we offer. This means you will see a request for a research proposal in this section. However, for a professional doctorate we want you to submit a personal statement instead.

This is because you may not have a doctoral proposal in mind at this stage. We encourage you to use the first 2 years of your course to experiment with ideas. You will then be able to commit to a final research project.

Your personal statement should be between 1500 and 3000 words.

It should tell us about:

Why you want to study

Why have you chosen to study for a professional doctorate? Why have you chosen a professional doctorate instead of a PhD? Tell us why you think this course suits your circumstances.

Your previous experience

How does your previous or current experience make you suitable for this course? You may want to tell us about ways you have already developed practice in your profession. This may be through helping colleagues, new initiatives, or as a member of a professional body.

Your current work

How will your study fit in with your current work? Tell us how you will fit in enough time to study, and attend residential dates. We try to time these to fall in school half terms to help those who teach. However, the dates may not always coincide with your local half term. You need to show us how you'll be able to set aside the time you need for the course.

How the course will benefit you

How will the course benefit you, your employers or clients? How will it benefit the wider profession to which you belong?

Your areas of interest

While you do not need a detailed proposal, we want to know about what subject areas are of interest to you. What do you want to explore in detail, and why? Is there a question, incident or problem you want to investigate in depth?

Remember, your final research topic will need approval. This will partly depend on what expertise is available to supervise your project.

We recommend that you get in touch with your referees before you submit your application. This will help us to make sure we can process your application quickly.

You should provide a reference from your place of work if you need your employer's permission to join the course and take part in residentials.

Your referees' statements do not need to be long. They should show the interview panel your ability and potential for study at doctoral level. It is useful to have at least 1 academic referee, if possible.

Interview process

Interviews may take place either in person or online. The Programme Lead will interview you. This will usually be with another member of the doctoral teaching team.

Interviews are intended to be supportive and exploratory. They are as much a chance for you to find out about the course as for us to understand more about you.

Things we may talk to you about include:

  • How your professional setting will support you in undertaking your doctoral studies.
  • How you will balance up to 6 years of part time work alongside other commitments.
  • How confident you feel about academic writing, and if there are any areas where we may be able to support you. This is especially relevant if it is a long time since you last studied.
  • Your potential areas of research interest.

Contact us

We hope that this guidance has been helpful and we look forward to reading your application soon.

If you have any other questions about the course, please contact us at:

Cookie Settings