"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)
In its promotional material for the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
programme the University of Sheffield indicates that the main aim
of the Ed.D. professional doctorate is ‘to offer a structured
programme that will develop high standards of research and will
be relevant to a range of professional and managerial careers’
(University of Sheffield 2003:
Trinity College Dublin (TCD) describes the aims of its Doctor in
Clinical Psychology as follows:(see
The core purpose of the course is to produce professionally qualified
clinical psychologists who are equipped with the skills to respond
flexibly to changing demands of the Irish health services, with
the ability to work at different levels of health care systems and
the ability to adapt those skills to different settings and client
groups. The Doctoral Programme in Clinical Psychology is a three-year
doctoral degree course integrating the practical, academic and research
aspects of the profession of clinical psychology in order to promote
the highest quality of practice.
(Trinity College Dublin 2004)
Professional doctorates are designed to develop ‘research-based
career development for experienced and senior practitioners in the
professions’ (Bourner et
al. 2001: 70).
A core aim of professional doctorates as defined by UKCGE is the
development of the professions and professionalism. The aim appeals
to the aspirations of the individual student and their organisation/professional
body. The University of Sheffield Ed.D. specifies its programme
is suitable for both professional and managerial careers. The TCD
programme also indicates its programme is suitable for diverse roles
within the health service.
The TCD programme emphasises the acquisition of skills and as well
as stating the programme includes ‘practical, academic and
research’ aspects. The University of Sheffield programme offers
a ‘structured’ programme, which could be interpreted
as providing the student with some certainty as to the content,
direction, and duration of the programme.
The aims of both the University of Sheffield and TCD programmes
include reference to standards. The University of Sheffield speaks
of ‘high standards of research’ and TCD is promoting
‘the highest quality of practice’.
It is useful at this stage to introduce a summary table, which
provides a comparison between the Doctor of Business Administration
(DBA) and the traditional Ph.D. Table
1 provides a comparison of career focus and intended learning
outcomes between the two doctoral programmes.