"What light do professional doctorates
throw on the question of what counts as knowledge in the academy
at the start of the twenty-first century?" (Bourner et
al. 2001: 81)
The growth of professional
Bourner et al. (2001) conducted
two surveys plotting the growth of professional doctorates in the
United Kingdom. The first survey undertaken in 1998 found 109 professional
doctorates. The second survey in 1999 showed an increase of 16 per
cent, with 128 professional doctorates in existence. The surveys
indicated increasing diversity in the disciplines offering professional
doctorates ranging from education, medicine, business administration,
psychology, architecture, fine art, social work and work-based learning.
They also uncovered the development of ‘subspecies’
among professional doctoral programmes. For example, a new designation
being applied to the Doctor of Finance (D.Fin.) that differentiates
it from the older Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) (Bourner
et al. 2001: 68–69).
When developing professional doctorates academics are concerned
whether their proposed doctorate will stand up to the ‘inevitable’
comparison between it and the traditional Ph.D. (Portwood
and Thorne 2000: 109). In Middlesex University it took three
years to obtain approval for the professional doctorate in work-based
learning (D.Prof.). The academic team involved in developing the
D.Prof. were able to argue that the traditional Ph.D. was for the
development and socialisation of academics and researchers. They
demonstrated that there was demand from a wide range of professionals
for a D.Prof. Opposition to their proposal emanated mainly from
the social sciences and engineering (Portwood
and Thorne 2000: 109).
In Ireland I have so far only found two(see
note 1) professional doctorates currently being offered, namely,
the Doctor in Clinical Psychology (D.Clin.Psych.) provided by Trinity
College Dublin (TCD) and University College Dublin’s Doctoral
Degree in Clinical Psychology (D.Psych.Sc.). Dublin Institute of
Technology (DIT), which is the largest higher educational institution
in the state, does not offer a professional doctorate. DIT is an
amalgamation of a number of established vocational educational colleges.
It was statutorily established as an autonomous institution in 1993
with its own degree-awarding powers. To date DIT has only awarded
doctorates by research.
In 2003, DIT arranged to host the University of Sheffield’s
professional doctorate in education on-site in Dublin and provides
facilities and local support for the provision of the programme
by the Sheffield based academics. This programme is aimed at staff
of DIT and also is open to staff from other institutions. A similar
such education doctorate is now being advertised by the National
University of Ireland, Maynooth.
While the main impetus for the initial development of professional
doctorates in the United Kingdom originated with the ‘old’
institutions, the ‘new’ universities accounted for three
quarters of the growth rate between the 1998 and 1999 surveys (Bourner
et al. 2001: 69).
Maxwell (2003) outlines the
development of ‘second generation’ professional doctorates
in Australia. First generation professional doctorates tended to
follow a ‘coursework plus thesis model’ and ‘appeared
to be dominated by academe’ (Maxwell
2003: 279). However by 2000 the emergence of ‘second generation’
professional doctorates indicated:
that there are some programmes in Australia that have the features
of what have been termed second generation professional doctorates.
In these the realities of the workplace, the knowledge and the improvement
of the profession and the rigour of the university are being brought
together in new relationships.
(Maxwell 2003: 290)
The development of professional doctorates designed to appeal to
professionals employed outside the academy is gaining momentum.
The University of Western Sydney (UWS) Ed.D. programme is based
on partnership between UWS and educational employers (Maxwell
2003: 280). I can only speculate as to whether this sort of
initiative represents co-operative education between higher educational
institutions for the development of their academic staff or whether
the training of academics like other professions has become marketised.