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Professional Doctorates, Industrial Doctorates & International Programmes


The Doctoral College and Centre for Research Capability Development supports all researchers at Coventry. This includes research students on a variety of doctoral programmes as well as research staff from early-career researcher all the way through to professor. 

Coventry University offers a suite of programmes for research students. We run a broad portfolio of doctoral training centres which are located within our research centres and provide a high-quality research culture and environment to support a vibrant community of PhD students. We also offer a range of business and industry-focused and located research degrees. These are termed professional doctorates. 

We currently offer professional doctorates in Engineering and Business. A professional doctorate in the field of Education is currently under development.

Professional doctorates are designed for business and industry professionals and are mainly targeted at those with the experience and roles to facilitate impactful change within their organisations as a result of their research. 

Questions can arise about the differences between professional doctoral degrees and traditional degrees such as Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).

To clarify: a doctorate is an umbrella term for the highest degree awarded by a university. All UK doctoral students have to carry out original research or the application of existing knowledge in a new context. All doctoral graduates are considered experts in their field and can use the title ‘doctor’. In professional and practice-based doctorates the research might also have a direct effect on organisational policy and change, as well as improving personal practice.  

The main difference between a PhD and a professional doctorate in a nutshell is that the research in a professional doctorate “directly relates to and is rooted in the researcher’s professional practice” (Mellors-Bourne et al: 2016)   

You can find out more specific information of types of doctoral degree in the Doctoral degree characteristics (QAA, 2013)

Coventry University professional doctorates combine taught elements which are designed to enhance research skills and capabilities, with original research which forms the basis of a doctoral portfolio.  This is presented in a thesis at the end of the degree and is examined through an interview by subject experts (who can be from a university and from a relevant business/industry/third sector organisation.)  

We also offer a growing number of doctoral programmes using a distance-learning model.   

These are termed Transnational Research Degree Programmes. They are often developed with one of our existing international academic partnerships. These programmes are designed specifically for academic staff, working in overseas universities who wish to develop their research skills part-time and at distance by undertaking a rigorous but well-supported programme of research and training and development within a virtual global community of practice. 

The College and Centre provide enhanced training and support, using the latest online technologies to ensure transnational research students can balance their doctorate with their on-going academic responsibilities in-country, whilst feeling part of the wider Coventry University research community.