Business School

DCU Business School - Postgraduate Research

DCU Business School

Research at DCUBS

Professional Doctoral Programme (PDP)

The PDP Programme affords senior managers the opportunity to undertake research on issues and problems of direct relevance to their own professional interests and organisational requirements.  This research is transformational.  Participants will be challenged to change managerial practice, including their own, as well as to understand it.  The programme prepares participants for advanced professional leadership by enhancing reflective practice skills, by extending the breadth and depth of their specialist knowledge and by developing their research skills.

The Programme is divided into two phases, taken in parallel: the taught phase and the research phase.  In the taught phase, participants undertake coursework, which will aid them in the process of refining and developing their research.  In the research phase, participants complete their doctoral theses guided by an academic supervisor.

The Taught Phase
The taught phase is of two years’ duration, during which participants take five modules.  These modules aim to develop advanced specialist academic knowledge, to refine intellectual enquiry, to explore professional practice and to develop a range of practical research skills. 

The Research Phase
In this phase, the participants engage further on the development of their research into a completed body of work, the thesis.  All participants will be assigned an academic supervisor at the beginning of the programme.  Supervisors will assess progress and give guidance to help the participant fulfil the requirements for successful completion of the thesis.  Participants will present their research to date, every six months, to a Review Board.

Application Procedure
To apply for the Professional Doctoral Programme, the applicant must complete the (PGR1) application form.  This form can be found on the registry website at:

In addition to the completed application form, applicants should also submit a research proposal of at least 3,000 words in length.  This research proposal should include the following information.

  • A broad outline of the nature of the intended research
  • A rationale for choosing this area
  • A review of the academic literature(s) pertinent to the proposed research
  • A discussion of the applicant's professional experience relevant to the proposed research
  • Demonstration of access to one or more organisations as a context for the proposed research, such as letters from key players within these organisations.
  • A discussion of how the proposed research might benefit both the applicant and the participating organisation.

Guidelines for Writing a Research Proposal for Doctoral Applications (pdf - 23kb)

Completed applications should be marked Professional Doctoral Programme and should be posted to the following address: Catherine Gallagher, The Registry, Dublin City University, Dublin 9.

Your application should include the following:

  • A completed application form
  • A research proposal of no less than 3,000 words in length
  • Evidence of support from organisation(s) participating in proposed research
  • A passport-sized photograph

Short-listed applicants will be called for an interview. Interviews will take place in the first three weeks of September.

Entry Requirements
Minimum entry requirement is a second class Masters degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline. In addition, applicants must hold or have held a position involving managerial responsibility for at least four years. They must also have the full support of their organisation for the research they propose to undertake.

Professional Doctoral Programme Scholarship Fund (pdf - 25kb)

Further information on this programme