Professional Doctorate (DProf) in International Relations

The new Professional Doctorate (DProf) in International Relations offers a more flexible and attractive programme of research study to those students working in a professional capacity.

Undertaken on a part-time basis, professional practice is at the heart of the DProf, which is open to experienced professionals who are employed in any area of work, including those in emerging professions and disciplines.

Key features include:

  • the degree has a practice based rather than an exclusively institutional focus
  • candidates are normally working while completing the doctorate and already possess significant professional experience
  • successful completion of the degree normally leads to professional and/or organisational change that is often direct, rather than achieved through the implementation of subsequent research findings

Programme Structure

Part-time with distance learning taught elements (6 years part-time plus 1 continuation year)

Professional Projects are the core of the programme of study. Within the broad outline of approximately 3600 hours of work, the student, in consultation with the supervisor, will propose an appropriate set of projects. This component of the portfolio will normally include 3-4 Journal Articles and one Policy Paper. One journal article must be accepted for publication within the 7 years with other papers at least in a completed format having gone through internal review by the First and Second Supervisors. Examples of peer-reviewed quality journals are Terrorism and Political Violence or Journal of Strategic Studies, professional journals might include RUSI journals but it will be very much dependent on the research being undertaken as to where submissions are made.

Supplementary Studies are taught courses, to a total of 120 credits, the purpose of which is to broaden and deepen the candidate’s academic practice. In the detailed proposal for the programme of study, the candidate will propose a programme of taught study that will support the development of her or his PhD which will include the compulsory online research methods module (IR5601) – 30 credits.

Credits gained from an accredited recognised body e.g. other University within five years of commencement of the programme will be taken at face value. Credits gained between more than five years and within ten years before the commencement of the degree programme may be accepted for up to 50% of their face value. Credits gained more than ten years before the commencement of degree programme are not acceptable. Similar decay principles will be applied to any professional or voluntary experience (suitably evidenced) for which credit is sought.

Credit will be given for prior learning capped at 60 credits in a relevant subject so it is anticipated that students will take at least 1 of the available online modules in the MLitt in Terrorism and Political Violence Programme if they have not already been awarded this degree. If candidates have been awarded the MLitt in TPV and awarded an overall 15.5 or above on the 20-point scale, there will only be the requirement to undertake IR5601 by distance learning.

The aim of the written component is to provide a reflective synthesis of the Professional Projects and Supplementary Studies, drawing them together into a coherent whole and contextualising the contribution made by the candidate to their chosen field. In particular, the written component should set out the academic and intellectual context for the Professional Projects, reflect self-critically on the process of professional development (including the role of the Supplementary Studies undertaken), and articulate the professional insights achieved through the programme of study. The written component will be 12,500 – 15,000 words (excluding bibliography and appendices).


Examination for the award of the DProf is by viva voce.

Online applications will open in October 2018.