ERIC Number: EJ865707
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Nov
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 45
Alternative and Professional Doctoral Programs: What Is Driving the Demand?
Studies in Higher Education, v34 n7 p765-779 Nov 2009
As part of an overall massification of higher education, enrollments in doctoral programs are expanding. At the same time, doctoral studies are subject to much scrutiny and reform in Australia, the UK and the United States. This work examines policy documents related to doctoral reform from these countries in order to offer a critique of their functionalist underpinnings. Central to doctoral reforms is the growth of the professional doctorate, which is proposed as an alternative to conventional PhDs that better prepares graduates to participate in non-academic careers. In this work, the professional doctorate is examined from the dominant perspective of human capital theory. Alternative theories emphasizing conflict and competition in higher education are offered. Credentialism and the corporatization of higher education may provide more nuanced explanations of the growth of the professional doctorate. The article concludes with some thoughts on the impacts of policy on those whose lives are ultimately shaped by it: students and graduates who may be disappointed to find that human capital theory does not deliver on its promise of status and prosperity for society's most highly educated workers.
Descriptors: Higher Education, Doctoral Programs, Professional Education, Educational Demand, Educational Change, Educational Policy, Human Capital, Education Work Relationship, Conflict, Competition, Foreign Countries
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia; United Kingdom; United States