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HEFCE closed at the end of March 2018. The information on this website is historical and is no longer maintained.

Many of HEFCE's functions will be continued by the Office for Students, the new regulator of higher education in England, and Research England, the new council within UK Research and Innovation.

The HEFCE domain - - will continue to function until September 2018. At this point we will close the site entirely and all its information will only be available from the National Web Archive.


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A review of professional doctorates was commissioned by HEFCE and carried out by the Careers Research & Advisory Centre Ltd and the University of Brighton. The report provides an overview of the current landscape of professional doctorates across higher education institutions in England.

Over the last five years, the number of institutions providing professional doctorates has grown, as has the number of professional doctorate programmes. Provision is in four main subject areas: education, business, psychology, and health and social care. Although traditionally perceived as an employer-driven qualification, employer demand for professional doctorate qualified staff seems relatively weak in many areas, and results in high proportions of candidates being self-funded. Professional doctorate programme structures vary in detail, although a two-stage approach, with a taught stage followed by formal transition to a research stage, is common. The taught aspects of professional doctorate programmes contain doctoral and research focused content, including research-specific skills and professional development.

The report recommends that sector bodies and institutions develop a more strategic basis for provision of professional doctorates. Furthermore, it reaffirms equivalence between professional doctorate and PhD qualifications, highlighting the importance of the research context and the impact requirements on professional practice.