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Friday, 08 August 2014 09:56

Demand for PhD's increasing world-wide

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To put PhD behind ones name brings status, standing and respect, but requires many hours of high-level research and especially the competency to do it. This might nevertheless be worthwhile, as the demand for professionals with a business-related PhD is increasing world-wide.  

According to University World News a 2014 global survey conducted by the Germany-based company DBA Compass indicates that there is a growing global trend towards professional doctorates in business management.  

A substantial 64% of professional doctorates in management had been launched in the past decade and a quarter of them in the past three years, with 58% of the new degrees in Europe and 35% in North America. Most universities saw the strongest increase in student demand from Asia and the Middle East (89%) and Africa (81%).  

This is against the background of South Africa’s National Planning Commission’s (NPC’s) target of producing 100 000 PhDs by 2030. According to Science and Technology Minister, Naledi Pandor, South Africa currently turns out just over 1 800 PhDs a year. In order to reach this target the country need to train 6 000 PhDs per annum.  

It is with this in mind that USB Executive Development (USB-ED), the public executive development and training company of the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB), has designed the Doctoral Research Training Programme (DRTP) to assist candidates to follow through with their PhD studies.  

A doctorate, being the highest academic qualification that can be awarded, puts enormous emphasis on producing new knowledge and therefor the crux of the matter is research and the ability to do it well.  

The programme will be presented in Cape Town from 8 to 12 September 2014. The DRTP is targeted at PhD students in all fields of study and from all higher education institutions  and business schools. It is ideal for prospective PhD candidates and those who have already started with a PhD.  

Head of open programmes at USB-ED, Willemien Law, says that at the end of the programme participants will have a clear understanding of the requirements for undertaking a doctoral study.  

“It equips participants with the ability to begin to write a comprehensive research proposal, have the capacity todevelop a suitable methodology for their research study and have an appreciation for the philosophical and theoretical underpinnings of research.  

“Furthermore, the programme provides exposure to the issues and learning philosophy surrounding qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods approaches. It also equips participants with the necessary knowledge to analyse both qualitative and quantitative data,” Law says.  

The book The Unwritten Rules of PhD Research, written by Marian Petre and Gordon Rugg and published Open University Press, states that: ”Entering students often think of a PhD as a 'magnum opus', a brilliant research project culminating in a great work. This is rather a demanding model and few students win Nobel Prizes as a result of their doctoral studies.  

“More realistically, a PhD is a demonstration of research competence. There are certain things that you are demonstrating through your dissertation:

  • Mastery of your subject         
  • Research insight        
  • Respect for the discipline        
  • Capacity for independent research        
  • Ability to communicate results and relate them to the broader discourse  

“These reflect competence and professionalism, rather than greatness. Importantly­, they are as much about comprehending others' work as about doing one’s own.”  

According to Law this gives good insight into what the DRTP programme is about and what it offers participants.

More information on the programme can be found on USB-ED's website.

Published in Science and Education

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