Introducing the Doctorate in Professional Studies Programme
The programme is about recognising and developing individual professionalism at the highest level. It is especially designed
for senior professionals wishing to work at the cutting edge of the areas of their expertise. So if you are a prospective
candidate we hope you’ll find the programme inviting and invigorating, and right for your professional and educational
At Doctorate level the programme also provides a framework for extending the knowledge base of your professional
sphere of activity and making a significant impact within it. For example by formulating and implementing a major improvement
or strategic policy shift within your organisation and / or professional sphere.
Middlesex University is a dynamic, diverse and innovative Government funded University based in North London. Our
history in higher education dates from 1878. In 1992 we were granted the royal charter making us a university. We have
over 35,000 students studying on Middlesex courses worldwide, in which more than 22,000 are on-campus students
including 5,500 international students from over 130 countries. The rest are studying Middlesex courses overseas, making
us one of the largest providers of British University education to international students.
• We are one of the six biggest modern universities in the UK and the biggest in London.
• First university to be awarded three consecutive Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for Higher Education in
1996, 1998 and 2000.
• 2002 — was named one of the top 50 European business schools (European Press, McGraw-Hill
Press, which issued a "Best Business School Guide to Europe”.
• 2005 — was named the British National Centre for Excellence in Teaching and received £6.3 million
earmarked from the government incentives.
• The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) Assessment — Business, management, education, art, multimedia
and other professional subject areas got almost full marks for the excellent level of this assessment.
• According to the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), analysis of rankings produced by publications,
Middlesex was ranked at 10 among post-1992 universities. Over 77% of all Middlesex's research
submitted was rated as 'internationally recognised', with a substantial proportion rated as 'internationally
excellent' or better.
• 2011 — was given the Queen's Award for Enterprise, for International Trade, in 2001, following the
same awards received in 2003.
The Hong Kong Management Association
The Hong Kong Management Association (HKMA) is a non-profit making organisation established since 1960 for the purpose
of improving the effectiveness and efficiency of management in Hong Kong.
Since its establishment, HKMA has played a major role in contributing to the economic success of Hong Kong by providing
a wide variety of high quality management training and various services.
As a membership organisation, HKMA currently has a collective membership of over 14,000 from different business sectors.
Members of the Council and Committees comprise eminent persons in industry, commerce and education who constantly
advise on the directions and activities of the Association.
As part of HKMA’s commitment to providing opportunities of continuing development for local executives, a full-spectrum
of management education programmes are offered, ranging from short courses and workshops through to Certificate, Diplomas,
Bachelor, Master and Doctoral Degree programmes. Annually, some 2,000 integrated and well-balanced courses
are offered to some 54,000 participants from different business sectors.
Starting in 2007, the Association has been working with Middlesex University in offering a variety of education programmes
to the Hong Kong community.
The Doctorate in Professional Studies (DProf ) is for advanced practitioners
and is designed to focus on their organisational/professional development
within their organisational/professional context. The DProf led by the
Institute for Work Based Learning is open to all professional areas as the
focus is defined by the candidate’s particular work context and area of
activity and their own unique area of interest. This may be located within a
profession or sector, or may be more individual in nature. The approach is
inter-professional and cuts across disciplines (transdisciplinary) even where
candidates have strong roots in a particular profession or occupation. It is
primarily concerned with knowledge that is generated and used in practice.
As a candidate for this award you would undertake a critical reflection upon
your practice and then design and undertake a doctoral level practice–
based research project in your own work within your own organisation or
community of practice. At the end of the programme candidates submit a
research report and take part in an oral examination or viva on their research.
With the successful completion of the oral examination the candidate
achieves a doctorate and can be addressed as Doctor.
How is it studied
You can enrol throughout the year at a time appropriate for you
and your organisation but induction days occur in early October
and February and May. You will then undertake a programme
of study for 3-6 years within your professional role. Your work
becomes the focus of your study and as such your project
enhances and develops your professional practice. An academic
advisor is assigned to you at the start of your programme and will
be available to you throughout your period of study. As the focus
of your work develops one or two subject specialists will be assigned to you in the role of consultant(s) to your project
allowing you to draw upon their expertise in your area of enquiry or methodology. You will also have resources such as
handbooks and online materials to enhance your learning journey as well as access to seminars, workshops and lectures.
What is distinctive about the DProf
• Candidates are mentored to develop a research project which
is unique to them at the current stage of their career and
enable them to make an impact at an organisational or
profession wide basis.
• The DProf allows the previous learning (both formal courses
and informal learning from experience) to be recognised for
its contribution to the development of practice and ascribed
academic credit to be used within the programme.
• It is the professional equivalent to the PhD. It has the same
rigorous assessment methods and criteria but has a focus on
research within the work place and practice. The focus of DProf research is situated within the working environment
and places the candidates themselves at the centre of their enquiry.
Duration and Study Mode
This is a three-year doctorate programme that may be completed within six years in a part time mode. Candidates are
expected to attend tutorial classes and work closely with the assigned advisor and consultant to complete the research and
project. Three intakes a year in January, May and October.
The programme focuses on advanced learning that enables candidates to attain excellence in professional practices and/or
achieve significant organisational impacts.
Factors to consider When Selecting a Programme
Relevancy to area of expertise and/or interest
Resources available to students
The Doctorate in Professional Studies (DProf) programme is about
recognising and developing individual professionalism at the highest
The DProf qualification is an ‘applied’ alternative to traditional PhD
research degree and is specifically designed for senior professionals
wishing to work at the cutting-edge of the areas of their expertise,
focusing on advanced learning that enables candidates to
attain excellence in professional practice and achieving significant
There are three stages of the DProf programme structure:
1: Review of Professional Learning and Research & Development Capability
1.1 DPS 4520 Review of Learning (20 Credits at Level 7)
The rationale underpinning this module is that a candidate must show that they are equipped, in terms of professional
experience, for the high-level work required on the rest of the DProf programme. Consequently, the aim
of this module is to enable the candidate to produce a piece of sustained and persuasive written argumentation,
which lays out their credentials for work at doctorate level. The module focuses on the candidate’s professional capabilities
and the writing of a critical review of own learning. This forms the basis for any recognition and accreditation
of learning (RAL) claims, which are included as appendices to the review.
1.2A DPS 4040 Claim for Professional Learning (40 Credit RAL Claim at Level 7)
The ‘Review of Learning’ module helps to identify the domains and major areas of professional learning that can
be explored further with in the Recognition and Accreditation of Learning (RAL) Claims. By making a claim for RAL
you are identifying your specific areas of expertise and asking these to be recognised by the University. This will
be in general by certificated learning through a master degree you already have or it can be through experiential
For some candidates with significant depth of professional learning, after consulting with your Programme Adviser,
there is opportunity to make an additional claim at doctorate level (Level 8)
1.2B DPS 5120 Claim for Advanced Developments in Professional Practice (120 Credit RAL Claim at Level 8)
The advanced RAL Claim would need to identify learning of substantial depth and breath to be equivalent to a
120-credit level 8 project. The claim is likely to be include a substantial body of work and learning including impact
at a whole organizational or professional community level. (If you decided to submit a claim at this level then it will
reduce the size of the required final project to 240 credits).
1.3 DPS 4060 Claim for Research and Development Project Capability (60 Credit RAL Claim at Level 7)
A second RAL Claim can be made which covers your research and development project capability (60 Credit RAL
Claim at Level 7). In this claim you demonstrate that you have the capabilities to undertake a doctorate level project.
If you already have a masters degree that involved research and development, then you need to identify and
explore your use of these capabilities at your doctorate project. If you do not have a master degree then you need
to review your learning and highlight where you have undertaken significant project work or systematic enquiry
within your work role. The claim will then be a reflective account of the capability you have developed in that work
which will bring to the doctorate research undertaking.
2: Planning of Professional Development and Practitioner Research Programme
DPS 4561 Planning a Practitioner Research Programme (60 Credits at Level 7)
The aims of this module are to provide candidates with knowledge of a range of approaches and methodologies relevant
to professional practitioner research work and enable them to design and plan a work based doctoral project(s)
and programme focused on advancing the individual and their organisation/profession; which includes:
- Equips the candidate with a critical awareness of particular research philosophies, approaches and techniques
that emphasise pragmatic and applied outcomes and are relevant to the practitioner researcher within inter-disciplinary
- Prepares the candidate to have the practical competence ion research methods
- Develop a coherent learning agreement that is contextualized with the accredited experiences of the candidate
and is agreed by its three stakeholders. A proposal for a detailed work based project which is focused on achieving
major organizational change, change in a community of practice and/or excellence in professional practice.
3: Implementation of Work Based Learning Project
DPS 5360 WBL Project or DPS 5240 WBL Project (360 Credits at Level 8 or 240 Credits at Level 8)
The rationale underpinning the project is that it should advance the interests of both the candidate and the candidate’s
organisation or professional area. It follows that each project will have unique specific aims. However, each
project will also have the following general aims:
- To confirm that the candidate meets the learning outcomes
- To demonstrate this through the production of work at the leading-edge of the candidate’s organisation and/or
The project module is based on the candidate’s professional work. The specific content of this module will have been
negotiated by the candidate through the programme proposal drawn up as part of the learning agreement in module
DPS 4561. This module will involve the candidate in the research and development which will advance the interests
of an organisation, profession or community and a critical commentary of the processes involved.
Mode of Study and Learning Support
The DProf is a part-time study programme, which can be completed in 3 - 6 years.
The EAWBLC provides the following range of learning support to enhance the learners’ quality learning experience:
- Workshops led by UK professor on a periodical basis
- Specially-designed DPS module handbook and guides for individual module study
- Direct access to the University’s e-learning resource and e-library in London
- Contacts with designated UK Programme Adviser and Project Consultant, who provide advice and feedback to the
learners’ course assignment and DPS project respectively throughout the programme and at the project stage
- Face-to-face tutorials with UK professor on a periodical basis
- Access to EAWBLC Library and study facilities
The DProf programme will be assessed on the basis of coursework, which includes:
- Review of Learning
- Claim for Professional Learning/Practice at Level 7 (or at Level 7 and Level 8)
- Claim for Research and Development Capability
- Learning Agreement, Preliminary Literature Reviews and Research Proposal
- Doctorate Work Based Learning Project Report plus Oral Examination
The DProf programme is open to senior professionals who meet the following requirements:
- A master degree or professional qualification of a recognised institution
- Substantial working experience (e.g. at least 8 years relevant managerial experience)
- English language proficiency (e.g. IELTS 6.5, pass in HKAL, or equivalent)
- Demonstrated professional learning and capability to undertake a doctorate research project that impacts and improves
the applicant’s organisation and professions at the application interview with UK faculty members
- A completed application form,
- A copy of an updated and full CV,
- Copies of academic qualification attained, and
- A short statement of 750-1,000 English words outlining:
o Your reasons for pursuing the DProf programme,
o Your professional scope for doctoral level project,
o An indication of possible project work, and
o An indication of the research and development methods you may use.
Admission interview will be arranged. Enrolment information and time table can be referred to on appendix pages.
For general information, please call the HKMA Customer Service Department on 2774 8500 during normal office hours. For
course details, please contact Ms Jane Ma on 2774 8552 or Mr S H So on 2774 8550.
Despite the fact that Jim graduated from a local university with major in Journalism studies, he possessed a dual
professional role not in such a field, but in music and librarianship. Shortly after his graduation in the early 1980s, Jim
joined the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra and served as a professional musician for about three years. Then he moved on
to work as an Assistant Librarian in a big public library system, and stayed there for more than a quarter century. Due to
his strong music background, his appointment in most positions in the library was music related. Consequently, that most
practical work experience made Jim develop insights on how music libraries could be operated and developed according
to the socio-cultural context of the local readers’ group.
A few years ago, when Jim was serving in a senior rank of the public library system as well as the president of the Hong Kong
Library Association, he started to become aware that the education and training of music librarianship for library practitioners
had never been provided in Hong Kong, although there was a number of local libraries in Hong Kong offering music related
services to their patrons. However, the motive to critically look into this gap was prompted through a casual dialogue in early
2009 with a local music scholar, who was exploring training opportunities from the library side to help whoever might be in
need of managing their music materials. Holding this unique dual professional background, Jim was invited to design a training
programme for the academy. It suddenly came to Jim’s mind that probably the design of such a course could be extended to
target all library practitioners who were in need of such knowledge and skills in managing their music materials in the library.
If successfully drawn up and implemented, the course might possibly become a foundation for the development of music
librarianship education and training in a local context. Without a second word, Jim accepted to the invitation.
Shortly afterward, Jim was informed of a Middlesex University DProf programme, which was highly related to the project
itself --- pragmatic and work based in nature. On top of the on-going course design work with the academy, Jim thought
that this was a good opportunity to undertake a more in-depth study into the working situation of the local music library
practitioners in relation to their education and training backgrounds, to identify the possible problems they encountered
daily, and to see what he could do to serve their job needs. By putting forth the proposal titled “Music Librarianship in
Hong Kong: A Professional Development Programme for Music Library Practitioners” and aiming to deliver a new training
programme, Jim successfully enrolled onto the DProf Programme in September 2009.
A series of well designed research into the local music libraries were conducted from mid 2010 onward. From the findings, a tailormade
music librarianship course in foundation certificate level was finally launched and delivered for the first time in early 2011 to
target at the genuine needs of music library practitioners in the real world setting. Significantly marked by its first existence in Hong
Kong, the course also put into practice the underlying principle of an action research to bring changes into a real world setting as
a means of problem solving. Jim also realized that this had brought an observable paradigm shift on the education and training
module for music library practitioners from its traditional apprenticeship or in-service training module, which was long in practices
in the local music libraries, to a systematic and well designed education course module originated in an academy. Far more, this
could even serve as an innovative guideline to the creation of similar music librarianship courses in other Chinese communities out
of Hong Kong, where there was still not such a training course, but with identifiable demands.
Jim successfully completed his doctoral study in just slightly less than 3 years’ time, and he received his DProf degree in
Music Librarianship in July 2012. “The doctoral study programme widened my vision on my own subject field. It not only
elevated my analytical power and critical thinking, but also greatly enhanced my ability in doing research work and writing
up reports. Most of all, it was significant in bringing a change, a pragmatic change to the training culture in this specialized
stream and finally achieved a betterment to the music library profession.”
“Music Librarianship! Well, the degree title is a perfect combination concluding my past efforts in the only 2 careers in
which I had engaged --- music and librarianship,” Jim said.
Dr. Jim Hok-yan CHANG, DProf Graduate
“ I am privileged and delighted to have been a D.Prof candidate at Middlesex University”. The program is truly supported by
enthusiastic, caring and gifted faculty and staff both in London and Hong Kong. The quality of the program has proven
to be inspiring, filled with academic rigor, all supported by thoughtful processes and scheduled and insightful learning
Dr Brian To, DProf Graduate
“I chose to study for a Professional Doctorate in Coaching because I felt it would allow me to develop my professional
practice as a coach through work based research, while continuing to develop my professional role as a coach. The
opportunity to study with a professional coach educator together with the Institute for Work Based Learning at Middlesex
University made this a powerful programme.”
Director at Eaconsult, who successfully completed the programme in 2008
“The research itself as part of the
final project was an eye opener
to the University of Social Welfare
a n d R e h a b i l i t a t i o n ( U S W R )
who funded this research. The
development of the curriculum
w a s a n i n n o v a t i v e p r o c e s s
i n h a v i n g t o d e v e l o p a n e w
programme. The benefit to my
own organisation is my greater
understanding of the student’s
needs that I would be supervising
in the future.
“Work based learning was the
channel for me to consolidate
all my previous experience and
knowledge in one project; this
particular course of studies helped
me to bring together what I felt needed concluding. It also gave me the understanding as how and what will be the need
for the students that I supervise. It was a very important step to understanding and to improve my own professional
knowledge and reflective processes.”
Fery Ghazi, who completed her Dprof on the Internationalisation of Education in 2008
“As an experienced consultant in the arts and cultural sector, I had carried out a lot of research over several years and
wanted to find a way to find time for reflection on this body of work and my working practices. The D Prof programme
at Middlesex was ideal as I was able to continue with my work whilst studying. The process was an amazing learning
experience and gave me the chance to validate my work which would not have been possible with a conventional
Dr Susanne Burns, DProf
Institute for Work based Learning
The Burroughs, Hendon
London NW4 4BT
Phone: (44) 20 8411 6118
Middlesex University East Asia Regional Office
28/F EIB Centre
40-44 Bonham Strand East
Phone: 2861 3660
Fax: 2503 0525
The Hong Kong Management Association
16/F Tower B, Southmark
11 Yip Hing Street
Wong Chuk Hang
Phone: 2774 8500 / 2774 8552
Fax: 2365 1000
Registration Number: 251512
This is a registered course under the non-local Higher and Professional
Education (Regulation) Ordinance. It is a matter of discretion
for individual employers to recognise any qualification to
which this course may lead.