Clinical Connections  –  Summer 2016

The RVC has developed two professional doctorate programmes, in Veterinary Science (VetD) and Agriculture and Food (DAgriFood).

The courses offer professionals in the veterinary or agricultural and food sectors the opportunity to acquire advanced research skills and relevant knowledge, based around the central concept of ‘critical professionalism’.

The programmes are designed to enable students to develop their professional roles and implement an independent programme of research within the workplace.

They will be encouraged to find novel approaches for integrating academic and professional knowledge and ultimately make a contribution to both theory and practice in their field.

Both courses are part-time distance learning programmes and can be taken over a period of between four and eight years. Courses are primarily delivered online but there is the potential for up to 20% face-to-face delivery via seminars and workshops, which would provide networking opportunities.

As members of the RVC’s postgraduate population, students will be able to attend transferable skills training workshops.

The professional doctorates include a taught component, assessed through assignments and examinations, in addition to the completion of an original piece of research. The taught components will increase the breadth or depth of students’ knowledge, including in research methodology and professional skills.

Research projects will be concerned with workplace issues or professional practice directly. The research will normally relate to the candidates’ sponsoring organisation.

VetD candidates are generally expected to have a veterinary degree registrable with the RCVS, although applicants with other degrees or relevant experience may be considered. They must have at least two year’s work experience and currently work in the veterinary sector. Candidates with a European, American or RCVS Diploma or an RVC MVetMed degree may transfer in 90 credits at Level 7.

As well as having a relevant degree of at least an upper second-class standard or an MSc, the DAgriFood candidates must have at least two year’s work experience and should currently work in the agriculture and food sector.

Commenting on the new courses, RVC Lecturer in Business Dr Liz Jackson, said: “The Doctorate of Veterinary Science and Professional Doctorate in Agriculture and Food are equivalent to a PhD.

However, unlike a PhD, which tends to address a theoretical problem, students address problems related to their workplace or industry.

“With the online taught component of the degrees, students are guided through the academic processes of developing and refining achievable research questions, so the outcome is a graduate who is a scholar practitioner – a person who is equipped to tackle complex workplace problems with the rigours of academic enquiry. The types of problems that are solved for professional doctorates typically are of high-impact to industry and academia, so students are encouraged to showcase their important work in the workplace and in academic forums.”

To find out more about the programmes visit

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