UK Degree Explanation

UK Postgraduate - Doctoral degree (QCF Level 8)

17 Jul 2019 by Admin

Description of a UK higher education qualification at level 8: Doctoral degree

The description provided for this level of the FHEQ (The framework for higher education qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland) is here below;


Doctoral degrees are awarded to students who have demonstrated:

  • The creation and interpretation of new knowledge, through original researchor other advanced scholarship, of a quality to satisfy peer review, extend the forefront of the discipline, and merit publication
  • A systematic acquisition and understanding of a substantial body of knowledge which is at the forefront of an academic discipline or area of professional practice
  • The general ability to conceptualise, design and implement a project for the generation of new knowledge, applications or understanding at the forefront of the discipline, and to adjust the project design in the light of unforeseen problems
  • A detailed understanding of applicable techniques for research and advanced academic enquiry.


Typically, holders of the qualification will be able to:

  • Make informed judgements on complex issues in specialist fields, often in the absence of complete data, and be able to communicate their ideas and conclusions clearly and effectively to specialist and non-specialist audiences

  • Continue to undertake pure and/or applied research and development at an advanced level, contributing substantially to the development of new techniques, ideas or approaches.


And holders will have:

  • The qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring the exercise of personal responsibility and largely autonomous initiative in complex and unpredictable situations, in professional or equivalent environments.

Doctoral degrees are awarded for the creation and interpretation, construction and/ or exposition of knowledge which extends the forefront of a discipline, usually through original research.

Holders of doctoral degrees will be able to conceptualise, design and implement projects for the generation of significant new knowledge and/or understanding. Holders of doctoral degrees will have the qualities needed for employment that require both the ability to make informed judgements on complex issues in specialist fields and an innovative approach to tackling and solving problems. Doctoral programmes that may include a research component but which have a substantial taught element (for example, professional doctorates), lead usually to awards which include the name of the discipline in their title (for example, EdD for Doctor of Education or DClinPsy for Doctor of Clinical Psychology). Professional doctorates aim to develop an individual's professional practice and to support them in producing a contribution to (professional) knowledge.

The titles PhD and DPhil are commonly used for doctoral degrees awarded on the basis of original research. Achievement of outcomes consistent with the qualification descriptor for the doctoral degree normally requires study equivalent to three full-time calendar years.

Higher doctorates may be awarded in recognition of a substantial body of original research undertaken over the course of many years. Typically a portfolio of work which has been previously published in a peer-refereed context is submitted for assessment.

Here are the titles of UK Doctoral Degrees : PhD/DPhil, EdD,DBA,DClinPsy

Source: QAA (UK Quality Code for Higher Education)


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