Building a more formal doctoral education program

Scenario

In light of recent developments in the sector, your University has proposed the introduction of more formalised doctoral education programs. Some people talk of enrolled coursework in the first year of candidature leading to a Graduate Certificate in Research whereas others talk of a suite of required courses throughout candidature.

Within your Faculty there are varying views of the aims and content of these courses, let alone their structure. Some people are keen to include specialised high-level disciplinary knowledge, others focus more on research methodologies, and others on employability skills. Others feel strongly that it is the supervisor’s role to work with individual candidates on the development of knowledge and skills.

Questions for consideration

  • Who is responsible for leading the design and development of a more formal doctoral education program?
  • Is there an assumption that coursework will be introduced and embedded in the current doctoral programs?
  • Why do you think coursework is being introduced into doctoral programs?
  • What sorts of courses (disciplinary, research or employability) and what structures (formal, informal, year 1 only, throughout candidature) would you suggest? Why?
  • Who would you enlist to help design, teach (and assess) doctoral programs?
  • How will you know if the program you introduced is meeting the students’ needs?

Some suggestions about how these issues could be addressed can be found here.

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