Skip to navigation | Skip to main content | Skip to footer

Applied Theatre Professional Doctorate (PT)

View tabs | View full page

Programme description

Professional doctorates take explicit account of the professional practice-base of the candidate and integrate this as a central knowledge base for an advanced research project. Professional doctorates reflect the need for structured forms of professional development and reflective practice across the arts sector. The programme aims to develop dynamic and interactive knowledge practices and outcomes that will have an impact across academic and non-academic contexts. It will support the development of reflective practice that can respond to and influence the complex, unpredictable and shifting social and cultural contexts within which practitioners operate.

The programme introduces practitioners to a range of dynamic and challenging concepts and methods with which to reflect critically and constructively on their professional practice. The programme will be taught within a learning environment and methodology informed by the principles of reflective practice, action or practice-based research and enquiry based learning. This pedagogical approach enables students' professional context to become a primary research resource.


Students will receive individual supervision from an academic supervisor with a specialism related to their field of research as well as opportunities to develop reflective enquiry into practice via group-based learning exercises with other practitioners at two long residential weekends per year. All teaching and supervision will be led by applied theatre staff. This approach to teaching and learning supports interdisciplinary research and high levels of engagement and interaction between academic knowledge, policy imperatives and practical applications.

Teaching and learning

Students will receive six individual supervisions a year. Taught units will be facilitated via two long residential weekends annually (Thursday 9am - Sunday midday, to take place each September and April). Each residential will be planned and delivered by at least two applied theatre staff, with invited guest input when and where appropriate.

After completion of the first 12 months of study each student will be assigned a `professional mentor'. The professional mentor will be a reputable, competent and experienced professional in a field related to the candidate's practice-based research. The professional mentor will be selected by programme staff in liaison with the student.

Coursework and assessment

Progress will be monitored primarily via individual supervisions. The key milestones are represented by the assessment for each stage of the process. These are:

Year 1: literature review and research essay (12,000 words in total)

Year 2: conference paper and publishable article (6-8000 words)

Year 3: research proposal and portfolio of reflective practice (12,000 words in total)

Year 4-6: individual targets appropriate to the completion of the thesis research

Year 6: thesis of 40-45,000 words or practical outcome accompanied by 20-45,000 word dissertation.  

The programme is structured on the basis that the most suitable pathway is the part-time route. However, there is a negotiable full-time route in special cases (which may be more desirable, for example, for students who have accessed funding to support an extended break from the profession, or for retired professionals). Full-time students will have 12 individual supervisions per year, twice-yearly `research panels¿ and access to additional support at residential long weekends to ensure that they can meet key milestones.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Support Office. Email: