Professional Doctorate in a Nutshell

Professional Doctorate at UCD

A Professional Doctorate Degree will be awarded where:

  • The outcome of the research makes a significant contribution to knowledge and is deemed publishable in a peer-reviewed journal(s)
  • The candidate has demonstrated the capacity to apply knowledge within a professional practice setting

 The Professional Doctorate Degrees in the University are:

Doctor of Veterinary Medical Specialisation degree (DVMS)
Doctor of Educational Psychology degree (DEdPsych)
Doctor of Clinical Psychology degree (DPsychSc)
Doctor of Governance degree (DGov)

Registration Period

  • A Professional Doctorate Degree is a research degree carried for 9-12 Trimesters (3-4 years) full time and 18 trimesters (6 years) part time as detailed in the table below. Students who do not complete the requirements for the professional doctorate degree within these timelines must apply for permission to continue with written support from the School. 

    Professional Doctorate Degree Registration period
    Doctor of Veterinary Medical Specialisation Degree (DVMS) 9-12 Trimesters
    (full time)
    Doctor of Educational Psychology Degree (DEdPsych)

    9 Trimesters
    (full time)
    15 Trimesters
    (part time)

    Doctor of Clinical Psychology degree (DPsychSc) 9 Trimesters
    (full time)

    Doctor of Governance degree (DGov) 

    12-18 trimesters
    (part time)

Supervision & Support

Professional Doctorate Programme Boards will assign each professional doctorate student:

  • A Principal Supervisor, who has primary responsibility for your academic supervision There may also be a Co-Supervisor, if appropriate, who supports the Principal Supervisor 
  • A Research Studies Panel (RSP) which provides advice, monitors your progress and supports the Student-supervisor relationship. The RSP should be assigned to you within the first trimester of your registration and meet at least twice in the first year and at least once a year thereafter. 

Programme Requirements:

Each Professional Doctorate Programme will have very specific programme requirements which every student should make themselves aware of. However, every Professional Doctorate student must:

  1. Carry out doctoral level research which is written up in a thesis which contain materials of a standard and form appropriate for peer-reviewed publication. This thesis forms the basis for the examination for the award of the doctoral degree is examined through a viva voce examination by a Professional Doctorate Examination Committee
  2. Demonstrate that you have extended knowledge and skills within your professional environment. Credit for supervised professional practice is awarded after satisfactory completion of the practice element. Assessment of the practice element may include a review of activities such as placement in a professional setting, development of a portfolio, generation of case log, community outreach activities, presentation to peers and a submitted professional practice report in acceptable form and a satisfactory standard
  3. Progress from Stage 1 to Stage 2 of the Professional Doctorate Programme by successfully undergoing a formal Stage Transfer Assessment within 5 trimesters  of date of registration for a full time student and 7 trimesters  for a part time student.
  4. Complete a prescribed number of taught credits over the course of the Professional Doctorate programme. See table below
    Professional Doctorate Degree MinimumTaught Credits
    Doctor of Veterinary Medical Specialisation Degree (DVMS 20
    Doctor of Educational Psychology Degree (DEdPsych) 60
    Doctor of Clinical Psychology degree (DPsychSc) 60
    Doctor of Governance degree (DGov) 90
  5. Document your educational, training and personal and professional development needs, in collaboration with your the Research Studies Panel, which, along with the proposed programme of research, will inform the development of a Research and Professional Development Plan (RPDP). The completed RPDP forms part of the Stage 1 to Stage 2 assessment
  6. Successfully complete Research Integrity training while registered to the programme
    1. There is an online course that you can take which will meet this requirement
    2. Students of STEM subjects can take a 5 credit module that also meets the requirement

Final Examination

  • The final examination is based on:
    1. Successful completion of the required taught and professional practice elements 
    2. A description of your research in a thesis describing the context, nature, methodology and outcomes of the research
  • Theses can only be submitted if fees are paid in full, student registration is current and the candidate is compliant with the programme requirements, see 1-6 above.

  • All professional doctorate theses are submitted to the University for examination as a pdf file via the eThesis Exam System. This system is accessed via the student’s SISWeb account. The thesis for examination is submitted as a PDF document. Students will be sent an email at every decision point, allowing tracking of the progress of the thesis through the examination process

View Other Research Programmes