The OU does not offer research degrees by distance learning or correspondence. The Professional doctorates are blended learning part-time research degrees (rather than a distance learning degree or a taught course).
Professional doctorates have a dedicated website for interaction and access to resources.
Minimum 4 years and maximum of 8 years.
Participation and supervision
You will study together with students enrolled in other Professional Doctorates.
You will be required to maintain regular email contact with your UK-based supervisors and travel to the UK at your own expense to attend residential weekends and for your viva examination.
You will be allocated two supervisors – your main one in year 1 and a co-supervisor in year 2 – and will have sessions with them via a variety of options including telephone, online conferencing or face-to-face.
Pattern of study
These are structured four-year part-time programmes of study in two stages: Stage 1 (2 years taught) and Stage 2 (2–6 years research component).
The first stage of the doctorate focuses on skills development specifically to support your engagement with the research and the practice field your project is located in. This will include literature reviewing, identifying research questions and exploring different research designs and techniques. A commitment to ethical practice is embedded throughout the programme. Support for your learning is through a blended distance learning approach and includes online materials, guided discussion led by subject experts and an annual residential weekend in Milton Keynes. Stage 2 comprises of supported and supervised research.
There are four residential weekends, one in each of the first four years, which are compulsory for all students to attend. You are expected to attend an initial induction at the first residential school in year 1, where you will meet your peers and main supervisor. Residential weekends will take place:
- year 1 in October
- year 2 in November
- year 3 in February
- year 4 in March.
You will complete two formative assessments in both years 1 and year 2 of the programme and will receive feedback from your main supervisor. In addition, there is a summative assessment at the end of year 1 and year 2. The year 2 summative assignment will be the end of the first stage of your studies. You must pass each summative assessment before you can progress to the next stage of your studies.
Once you have completed your research you must complete a 60,000-word thesis which you then defend to the satisfaction of the examiners via an oral examination. Your thesis must meet the expectations specified in the QAA Framework for Higher Education Qualifications.
The thesis must demonstrate the relationship between theory and practice in education (EdD) or health and social care (DHSC), and the ability to select and apply appropriate research methods.