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DCLD Professional Doctorate in Community Learning & Development

Course Description

Our Professional Doctorates programmes are aimed at busy full-time practitioners from a broad range of professions, both nationally and internationally, including education, educational psychology, social work, community learning and development, psychology, healthcare and policing whether in public, voluntary or private sector agencies.

What is a Professional Doctorate about?

This type of doctorate will allow you to reflect on different elements of your professional practice and will contribute to developing evidence, practice and policy in your professional field. Whilst the Professional Doctorates does not certify competence to practice, it does provide you with an opportunity to enhance your own and others' practice.

A professionally based doctoral aims to:
•critically appraise the current evidential basis of professional theory, policy and practice;
•develop relevant advanced specialist research, development & dissemination skills;
•make a valuable and original contribution to knowledge, methodology, practice and policy;
•meets accepted standards of rigour and excellence; and,
•widely disseminate that contribution to knowledge.

What is the structure of the Professional Doctorate programme?

There are 5 modules and students normally take 5 years to complete part-time or 3 years full-time.
•Module 1 - Research Methods
•Module 2 - Literature Review
•Modules 3-5 - Research project(s) consisting of approximately 15,000 words each. It can be 3 small interconnected projects, a double project plus 1, or a single large project.

Up to two modules (one, if granted direct entry to module 2) may be overtaken by Recognition of Prior Learning.

How are Professional Doctorate programmes delivered?

The taught component of module 1 is normally delivered online, so you can complete it in your own time at a distance. If you already have a Masters degree, with an assessed element of research methods, you may not need to complete this module.

These modules are presented as a thesis and assessed by oral examination (viva voce) at the end of the programme.

How will my progress be monitored?

Your progress will be monitored in a variety of ways:

Students meet with their supervisors at least every month to support and guide students through their Professional Doctorates.

Presentations and fora
From time to time students are expected to make presentations about their work to other students and staff. This aims to help support students with their work and to build on their work so far. There are also online fora for students to discuss issues relating to their research.

Thesis Monitoring Committee
A Doctoral student’s progress is monitored by an independent Thesis Monitoring Committee within the School. This Committee consists of at least two members of staff not concerned with a student’s supervision and it meets twice per year for full time students, and one per year for part-time students.
After 12 months of study, Doctoral students are expected to present their work to their Thesis Monitoring Committee who will determine the level the student is working at – either Masters of Doctoral level. This process is called Transfer of Ordinance and it confirms whether a student will continue to the next stage of their Professional Doctorates or whether they should transfer to the MPhil programme. Part-time students will normally present before the end of their second year of study.

At the end of study, students undertake an examining process called Viva Voce to present their thesis to an Examination Board who will determine whether a student’s work is of a high enough standard to be awarded a Professional Doctorate.

What academic skills support will I receive?

We provide Research Methods and Generic Skills Training and students are assigned two supervisors (relevant to the area of a students’ doctorate) who meet with them regularly. Supervision can take place by telephone, email and video conferencing. Guidance can also be drawn from other relevant members of staff with specific expertise.

How will I be guided through the Professional Doctorate?

The University Code of Practice for Supervised Postgraduate Research provides clear guidance on your responsibilities as a student and how you will be supported. Students also receive a School Student Handbook which provides further detail.

What facilities will I have access to?

Professional Doctorates students have access to doctoral student office accommodation, high quality IT facilities, telephones, printing/photocopying and access to financial support to attend research conferences.

Visit the DCLD Professional Doctorate in Community Learning & Development page on the University of Dundee website for more details!

Student Profiles

5% discount on advance payment of tuition fees - 20+ Awards

5% discount on tuition fees is applicable for international applicants who pay the full amount (for the year), in advance, by a given deadline.

Value of Scholarship(s)

5% discount on tuition fees


For international applicants who pay the full fee amount (for the year), in advance, by a given deadline.

Application Procedure

You must pay the tuition fees due in advance, the full amount must be in the University of Dundee's bank account by the relevant date:Courses starting in September - full payment by 1st July.
Courses starting in January - full payment by 15th Novmber.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

Entrants should hold a first degree in a relevant subject, and usually a relevant master’s degree. Entrants would normally be expected to have some field experience in education or be currently working in the field. Entrants with different experience may be suitable for our other professional doctorate degrees (in Educational Psychology, Education, Social Work).English Language Requirement: IELTS of 6.5 (or equivalent), if your first language is not English.

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