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1. Purpose and Objectives

These procedures are intended to give effect to the uniform implementation of PPL 4.70.03a Professional Doctorates – Policy.

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

Academic programs – sequence of study leading to the award of a qualification such as an undergraduate degree or diploma, and/or postgraduate coursework qualification.

Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) – a single comprehensive national qualifications framework that represents the national policy for regulated qualifications in Australian education and training.

Discipline expertise – a faculty may be recognised as having discipline expertise through:

  • its leadership in teaching and research in the discipline; and
  • acknowledgement by the University.

Relevant Faculty – means the faculty with the recognised discipline expertise of the doctorate program.

Research Training Program – Commonwealth block grant provided, on a calendar year basis, to higher education providers to support domestic and overseas students undertaking a research higher degree.

Volume of Learning – identifies the notional duration of all activities required for the achievement of the learning outcomes specified for a particular AQF qualification type. It is expressed in equivalent full time years.

Learning Outcomes – the knowledge, skills, and application of knowledge and skills required to be met by graduates of a particular AQF qualification type.

3. Procedures Scope/Coverage

These procedures apply to the design and structure of all Professional Doctorate programs offered at The University of Queensland.

4. Procedure Statement

These procedures reflect, and give effect to, the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) for professional doctorates. All professional doctorates offered at The University of Queensland are delivered as level 10 doctoral degree qualifications, in accordance with the AQF.

The AQF defines the professional doctorate as a structured program on learning that typically includes advanced coursework and research and is designed to enhance the student's capacity to make a significant contribution to original knowledge in the discipline and/or research-integrated practice developed in collaboration with a relevant professional, statutory or regulatory body.

5. Program Development Principles

5.1 The skills and knowledge taught within a professional doctorate should have clear relevance to a specific profession (and in some instances more than one profession), with an identifiable career outcome for each program.

5.2 Professional doctorate programs emphasise advanced professional practice and are considered a substantial advance in terms of depth and breadth of knowledge and skills, over and above masters coursework programs, with content that is clearly distinct from the doctorate (research PhD), masters (research) and masters (coursework) programs. Where relevant, professional doctorates may build on strong and focused masters coursework programs in the same discipline(s).

5.3 All professional doctorates must have a set of graduate attributes that build on the University’s graduate attributes for postgraduate coursework programs and map onto the four program components:

  1. basic knowledge of the discipline;
  2. advanced knowledge in a focused area;
  3. professional skills and practice; and
  4. research.

5.4 The graduate attributes from the research component should be at least equivalent to those for the MPhil degree (as specified in PPL 4.60.03 Research Higher Degree Graduate Attributes).

6. Structure and Management of Professional Doctorates

6.1 Two models of professional doctorates operate at the University.

Model 1: Programs with a structure that allows domestic students to undertake the program as part of the Research Training Program (RTP funded).

Model 2: Programs with a structure that does not allow domestic students to undertake the program as part of the Research Training Program or where a determination has been made by the relevant faculty that RTP places will not be made available (non-RTP funded).

6.2 All professional doctorates must incorporate a minimum of two years of research that makes an original and significant contribution to knowledge in the context of professional practice.

6.3 The program may include an industry placement where feasible and dependent on accrediting body requirements.

6.4 Professional doctorates must be designed to provide a program of structured learning and independent supervised study that produces significant and original research outcomes, culminating in a thesis, for independent examination by two examiners. The examiners must not be staff members of the University.

6.5 Professional doctorates must incorporate advanced coursework and research-integrated practice that will support the research outcomes. At least 50% of this component must be from courses coded at level 8.

6.6 Professional doctorates that are RTP funded are managed by the Graduate School, with students enrolled as research students from the commencement of their program.

6.7 Professional doctorates that are non-RTP funded are managed by the relevant Faculty.

7. Oversight of Candidature

7.1 In accordance with the TEQSA Provider Course Accreditation Standards, Section 4 Teaching and learning are of high quality (sub-section 4.2), a research advisor must have a qualification one level higher than the program they are teaching. For AQF10 programs, the advisor is required to hold a qualification at level 10 of the AQF or have equivalent professional experience.

7.2 For all candidates in the professional doctorate program, an advisor must be appointed to supervise the research component of the program.

7.3 Advisors for the research component of the professional doctorate must meet the requirements outlined in PPL 4.60.01 Eligibility and the Role of Research Higher Degree Advisors.

8. Program Approval

8.1 Submissions for the introduction of new RTP funded professional doctorate programs, or changes to existing RTP funded professional doctorate programs, must receive approval from the Research Higher Degrees Committee (RHDC) in addition to the process outlined in PPL 3.20.01 Academic Program Approval.

8.2 The approval of proposals for the introduction of new non-RTP funded professional doctorate programs, or changes to existing programs, follows the process identified in PPL 3.20.01 Academic Program Approval.

8.3 Fees for professional doctorates will be proposed by the relevant faculty at the time of submitting the program to University Senior Management Group for endorsement.

Dean, Graduate School Professor Alastair McEwan