Professional Doctorate or PhD?

given that we've both experienced and

run professional doctorates and PhDs we

thought we'd do this video didn't we

because we get so many questions from

from students approaching us about

helping them to make that choice between

the two I think the most common one we

get asked is why would I choose a PhD

versus a professional doctorate it's so

hard isn't it to try and describe and I

suppose one of the things that is really

helpful to think that is the

similarities before you then go into the

differences and I I see from both sides

from UCL students that are doing PhDs

and professional doctors they have a

real thirst of knowledge you have to

really want to learn to progress to

embed yourself in the detail of the

research but also think about the big

picture so I think there's a similarity

in the the motivations that people have

aren't there yeah I think that I think

the real difference between the two in

terms of your choice though is is what

you want to do after with it I think

whether a PhD are much more suited to

people that want their career in

academia and and if that is your

intention you should choose a PhD if

however your intention is to combine an

academic career with it with another

career or if your intention is to to

develop that that knowledge that first

for knowledge into it into your role or

into different career outside of that

then then a professional doctor it might

be a better choice absolutely and I

think professional doctorates are super

for people who have established careers

that are really looking to take them to

the next next level and learn a little

bit more about what works and why it

works so that they can take that into

their practice yeah so given that

professional doctorates are are more

likely for people who are in work and

continuing work what what how does the

experience differ

actually going through this I think with

the a PhD journey you tend to find a

supervisor who has an expertise in your

particular area that you're interested

in don't you and you work towards your

your endgame with your supervisor and

therefore your relationship is it's very

very much with that individual and often

within a department that has a good

community of PhD students but it's very

much self driven I think and that's very

different to the professional doctorate

programs and certainly the ones that we

run where we have groups of students

going through their journey at the same

time and I think they get a lot more

support from developing their ideas at

the same time and moving through their

data collection and and so on do you say

I think that's I think that's right so I

think that the the prevailing difference

in the experiences with a with a

professional doctorate you're much more

likely to have pass that feeling of of

peer support or that feeling that you

have gone through something together

much more like you would get in a

traditional master's program for

instance then you would with a PhD where

you'd say I went through this and what

about the end result how would you

describe the end results being different

or similar so really importantly the end

result for both is a doctorate we get

asked a lot don't we whether we're that

perfect people doing professional

doctorates don't think that they would

end up as a doctor both our doctorates

so both give you the title of doctor in

terms of what you actually deliver at

the end where the PhD we'd be looking at

at a thesis you'd be looking at the

thesis for both to be honest but in a

PhD that this is regardless of what what

topic you're doing or what's what

discipline you're in it would be a

thesis that we'd be made up of a number

of chapters and a number of studies in

there with a professional doctorate

you'd you would have a thesis that

sometimes that thesis is shorter than a

PhD because with a professional

doctorate you're often able to take into

account existing qualifications or

experience and so have a bit shorter

but also that this is isn't isn't just

written at the end with a professional

doctorate you'll often be writing as you

go through and it's a bit more

structured then the new PhD would be so

again it's it's more akin to to how you

would have deliverables on a master's

program for instance the difference

being you then built that all together

in the end and to make one story exactly

and they both have fibers don't they at

the end as well yeah once you've

submitted your thesis you would then

have a session where you sit down and

interviewed and and need to defend your

work whether that is for the

professional doctorate or the PhD so

what would be your one bit of advice for

people whether they're going through PhD

or a professional judgment I think you

would be to think really hard about what

they want at the end so why they're

doing it but also what kind of approach

is going to best meet their needs and

whether they are very very strong on

independent work or whether they might

enjoy a structured program yeah that

that they could draw from yeah and I

think also my advice would be to to be

really realistic at the beginning so to

recognize that it is going to be hard it

is going to involve a lot of work and so

be really clear about whether you can

whether you can manage that and whether

you want to go through that you need to

have a huge level of self motivation and

drive and passion I think to take you

through whatever reading you go