Professional Doctorate Framework

An exciting alternative to the traditional PhD, the Professional Doctorate supports middle to senior managers who want to return to higher education. We work with you as you develop strategically-focused research capable of demonstrating innovative, evidence-based solutions – outwith academia.

By addressing operational and strategic challenges within your own industry and organisation you create relevant and applied research. Published works and research skills are recognised by the most demanding leadership roles and organisations that are true leaders in the sector.

This is the ideal qualification to enhance your career projection while contributing to the evidence and knowledge base surrounding your profession.

Glasgow Caledonian University offers Professional Doctorate study for research into the following areas:

  • Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA)
  • Doctorate of Management (DMan)
  • Professional Doctorate (Built Environment)
  • Professional Doctorate (Clinical Health)
  • Professional Doctorate (Engineering)
  • Professional Doctorate (Health, Social Care and Nursing)
  • Professional Doctorate (Justice Welfare and Policy)
  • Professional Doctorate (Public Policy and Management)

Professional Doctorate study takes the form of five one-week, campus based teaching blocks in January, April and September of your first year and January and May of your second year. The remainder of the course is built around independent, applied research undertaken in your own work environment.

By addressing operational and strategic challenges within your own industry or organisation through relevant, applied research, you will equip yourself for demanding leadership roles and position your organisation as a true leader in the sector.

The course consists of:

  • Professional Development module (M level 45 credits)
  • Group Negotiated Study module (M level 15 credits)
  • Research Methods module (M level 60 credits)
  • Project Design, Development and Management module (D level, 60 credits)

Download the Programme Specification for a detailed breakdown of its structure, what you will learn and other useful information.

Study Options

  • 2020/21


Mode of study


Start date



Professional Doctorate
Part Time
4 - 6 Years
18 Jan 2021
GCU Glasgow
Award Mode of study Duration Start date Location  
Professional Doctorate Part Time 4 - 6 Years 18 Jan 2021 GCU Glasgow Enquire

All entry requirements listed here should be used as a guide and represent the minimum required to be considered for entry. Applicants who are made a conditional offer of a place may be asked to achieve more than is stated.

Minimum requirements

  • 1st class or 2:1 honours degree or a Masters degree in a relevant field and
  • normally a minimum five years’ work experience in a relevant field.

Additional information

Other academic and vocational qualifications

Each application to GCU is considered on an individual basis. If you do not have the typical academic entry qualifications, but can demonstrate relevant work experience and/or credits from recognised professional bodies, you may be eligible to enter this course via the University's Recognition of Prior Learning scheme.

English language

IELTS 6.5 (or equivalent) with no element less than 6.0

International Pathways

If you do not meet the English language requirements, you may be eligible for our pre-sessional English programme which is taught at our Glasgow campus.

Join GCU in September 2020

We are looking forward to welcoming you to what will be a great new academic year at GCU and we hope you choose this as your study destination. Your experience as an applicant and new student remains our priority. We will be doing everything we can to make sure you enjoy learning through our blended approach of online and face-to-face teaching and to give you as many opportunities to create new friendships and experience everything the GCU community has to offer you!

The health, safety and wellbeing of our students and staff will continue to be our highest priority as rules around social distancing are eased. For more information on the things what you can expect from your first term at GCU, visit our Frequently Asked Questions pages or make an enquiry today.

  • Strengthen your strategic thinking skills, develop a robust theoretical underpinning in your sector, enhance your skills in presentation and analysis
  • Create a focused portfolio of academic work which can establish your organisation as being at the 'cutting edge'
  • Advance your professional standing and recognition in the field
  • Flexible study – 5 taught weeks over 21 months, combined with independent study
  • Research projects are undertaken in the students’ work environment and complements current employment
  • An innovative emerging qualification designed to meet the increasing demands of applied business environments equivalent to a traditional PhD

Professional Development module: This module focuses on three different key aspects of modern business - managing strategy, managing and measuring people to deliver that strategy and managing innovation to ensure that the business is sustainable. The module is split into three units which cover innovation, strategy and HR and whilst they are taught separately, there are links and overlaps between them.

A common thread through all the units will be the importance of responsible and ethical leadership with respect to both organisational and societal good. The syllabus and learning and teaching strategy are underpinned by the United Nation's Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRIME) values and Glasgow Caledonian University's commitment to acting 'for the common good'.

Group Negotiated Study module: This module requires students to work as a team to collectively develop and implement a project that has an outcome that reflects and implements the university's mission of The Common Good. Students will negotiate between themselves, the tutor and a third party a set of objectives that meet the needs of these various stakeholders. This will require the students to fuse knowledge gained from their programme and the workplace with employability skills such as team working, communication, etc to fulfil these objectives.

Group Negotiated Study is offered as a means of enabling students to achieve their particular needs/learning objectives, whilst exploring areas of interest by identification and progression through an appropriate real world problem. Negotiated study topics will normally address a problem widely described as being for the Common Good. Therefore, the areas of study would normally be expected to be issues identified from local community issues, charities and third sector organisations and /or a student's work place.

Research Methods module: This module aims to provide students with a critical insight into the philosophy and practice of research methods. This will enable the student to explore key theoretical issues surrounding research thinking. This knowledge will allow the student to formulate and apply a range of research skills through various activities, most notably their doctoral thesis.  The module employs a range of teaching and learning techniques to broaden and deepen the student’s understanding and use of research within the academic and professional environments.

Project Design, Development and Management module: The student will explore aspects of project management including initial idea, through to project design and testing, implementation, controlling risk, monitoring, and evaluation. There will be a strong focus on working effectively with their research supervisor. Each student will identify a work based issue/problem and set it in a policy/strategic context. A research question will be developed and supported by a comprehensive literature review and selection of appropriate methodology/ies which will form part of a project proposal.

The tuition fees you pay are mostly determined by your fee status. What is my student fee status?

View PhD, MPhil, MRes and Professional Doctorate fees.

Fees are subject to change and published here for guidance only. Fees and refund policy.

Additional costs

As a student at the University, there are additional fees and costs which may or may not apply to you, but that you should be aware of.

View additional costs


We provide high-quality education for a fair price; as the University for the Common Good, we are committed to offering accessible higher education for talented students by keeping our tuition fees low and providing a generous scholarship package of over £2 million per year.

View our Postgraduate scholarships.