Professional Doctorate by Research

Entrance level

Candidates for the Professional Doctorate will normally have completed a Master's degree or Bachelor's degree with Honours (H1 or H2A) at La Trobe University or another recognised university and have at least three years of relevant professional experience. Candidates may also be required to provide evidence of research expertise.


A professional doctorate is a research degree normally of three to four years duration full time or the equivalent part time in which the candidate conducts a supervised research project and undertakes one year (or the equivalent part time) of coursework.

Learning outcomes (AQF)

Characteristics of learning outcomes at this level include a substantial original contribution to knowledge in the form of new knowledge or significant and original adaptation, application and interpretation of existing knowledge.

This substantial and original contribution to knowledge may take the form of:

  • a comprehensive and searching review of the literature;
  • experimentation;
  • other systematic approaches; or
  • advanced, searching and expansive critical reflection on professional theory and practice.

A graduate of a Doctoral degree is also able to:

  • carry out an original research project, or a project(s) addressing a matter of substance concerning practice in a professional field at a high level of originality and quality; and
  • present a substantial and well-ordered dissertation for submission to external examination against international standards.

The research for the Doctoral degree must be carried out during the candidature, although the thesis may refer to work published by the candidate prior to commencing.

Exit standard

Candidates for a Professional Doctorate by Research submit a major thesis (not more than 60,000 words) which is a substantial and original contribution to knowledge of direct relevance to the profession, in addition to completing coursework subjects.


The Award is entitled Doctor of (specialisation/discipline)