Photo credit: The University of Lincoln. - Photo: 2018

UK University Launches Distance Learning PhD For Diplomats

An affordable Professional Doctorate for G-77 diplomats and personnel of international organizations

By Robert Johnson

LONDON (IDN) – Personnel of United Nations agencies and international organizations as well as accredited diplomats now have an excellent opportunity to pursue a globally recognized postgraduate academic degree DProf (Professional Doctorate) that has the same status as a PhD, while attending to their fulltime professional and personal commitments.

The University of Lincoln, a public research university based in the cathedral city of Lincoln in England, has launched a two-year distance learning Professional Doctorate to empower the next generation of international scholar practitioners. With origins tracing back to 1861, the institution achieved university status in 1992.

The Professional Doctorate offered by the University of Lincoln can create multiple opportunities for rapid professional advancement and may also offer a more public profile for the career expertise and research skills gained by international professionals. Besides, it can contribute to achieving SDG 4.7 by explicitly linking to other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that operationalize the new global development agenda.

The DProf encourages multilateral professionals to expand upon their Master’s degree and their career experience to produce a rigorously researched and cogently argued doctoral thesis of 60,000 words. Candidates are encouraged to build upon their existing academic and professional publications.

The minimum period of registration is 27 months, although it is expected that the academic component of the work – doctoral thesis drafting – will be concluded within two years (24 months), with the remaining three months devoted to submission and examination.

The DProf provides candidates with the opportunity to work on a professional piece of research under the supervision of academics with specialist knowledge in the subject area of a candidate’s choosing.

The University’s research expertise spans a variety of professional subjects including, Business & Finance, Computer Science, Diplomacy, Environment, Energy, Sustainability, Gender Studies; Social and Political Sciences, International Law, International Relations, Organizational studies, Psychology, Management and Procurement, Engineering; Film and Media Studies; English and Journalism (Multimedia Communication); and Fine and Performing Arts.

“The University of Lincoln is committed to research that responds to, predicts, analyses and creates transformational social change, for the betterment of humankind,” says Professor Andrew Hunter, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research).

The University promotes research that aligns with key global challenges, and that includes partnerships across disciplines with the University and with regional, national and global partners, he adds.

Throughout the programme, candidates for the DProf degree can benefit from the support of two supervisors who have the relevant expertise in the subject area. This experienced supervisory team offers support and guidance on the agreed research project and monitors progress throughout the programme. 

Due to the nature of doctoral research degrees, the majority of a candidate’s time will be spent in independent research and writing. Although study is undertaken via distance and blended learning, a candidate can have bimonthly meetings with supervisors who will provide proactive academic support and review progress. These meetings may be held over the phone or via video calls. Candidates will have access to all University of Lincoln academic resources, including online journals. Candidates are ideally expected to produce an average of 500 words of text per week.  

A Doctorate is awarded based on the quality of a written thesis and the candidate’s performance in an oral examination to present and successfully defend her/his chosen research topic. The thesis will be examined in accordance with the University’s rules regarding Professional Doctorate examinations.

The University of Lincoln welcomes applications from eligible personnel of United Nations agencies, other international organizations and accredited diplomats, who wish to pursue a Professional Doctorate in a subject area offered by the University. Applicants will be required to submit an outline of their initial research proposal as part of their application for enrolment.

Prospective applicants are expected to hold a Master’s degree-level qualification in an area relevant to the proposed topic of study and have demonstrable professional experience as well.

The DProf (Professional Doctorate) degree is ideally suited for Consultants, General Services and early career staff of international organizations who wish to rapidly advance into Professional and higher posts in international organizations in general, United Nations agencies in particular.

Candidates will develop or refine the following skills during their pursuit of the DProf: analysis & problem-solving, interpersonal & leadership skills. Project, management & organization, research & information management, time-management and advanced written & oral communication.

The University of Lincoln received a Gold Award for its quality of teaching in 2017. [IDN-InDepthNews – 17 August 2018]

Photo credit: The University of Lincoln.

IDN is flagship agency of the International Press Syndicate. –

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