Professional Doctorates (PDs) have been added to the curriculum of many universities worldwide, as an alternative to the traditional Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). PDs are more focused on practice-based knowledge that advances professional practice and contributes to society, industry and the economy. The dominance of the PhD as the typical higher degree by research has led universities to develop frameworks for their PDs which are very similar to the PhD framework. This includes the assessment of the PD, which in many cases follows the same process and is based on the same criteria as for the PhD. This similarity in the assessment of the two types of doctorates creates challenges for external examiners (EEs), who are invited to evaluate the contribution of the PD within frameworks which are tailored around the PhD. Here, the authors focus the investigation on the Doctorate in Business Administration and conduct a review and analysis of institutional documents from universities in England in an attempt to understand the similarities and differences between the examination process of the PD and the PhD and the extent to which the examination process of the PD supports the evaluation of the practice-based contribution that is at its heart. Through this review and analysis, the authors identify the challenges that exist for EEs who are called to assess PDs, and make recommendations which will support EEs to evaluate the contribution of the PD.
Tzavara, D. and O’Donnell, V.L. (2021), "External Examining the Professional Doctorate as Distinct from the Traditional PhD: Differentiating and Developing Policy and Practice", Sengupta, E., Blessinger, P., Ssemwanga, A. and Cozza, B. (Ed.) The Role of External Examining in Higher Education: Challenges and Best Practices (Innovations in Higher Education Teaching and Learning, Vol. 38), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 95-121. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2055-364120210000038007
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