The continuing evolution of the research doctorate Chapter uri icon

Book Title

  • Globalization and its impacts on the quality of PhD education: Forces and forms in doctoral education worldwide


  • In this chapter, we offer a synthesis of international perspectives on the nature of the PhD, its contribution to original research, and the competencies and outcomes now expected of those completing a PhD.1 As a resource for all doctoral programs, this synthesis can provide a basis for (1) improving the quality of outcomes for all PhD students, (2) explicitly differentiating doctoral programs to promote understanding and diversity within a broadly accepted framework, (3) facilitating discussion among universities and governmental agencies about quality assurance and funding, and (4) promoting mobility among PhD holders by clarifying commonalities in the degree across countries and educational systems. We begin with a discussion of what constitutes a PhD, with particular emphasis on the international nature and aims of today’s research doctoral programs. Our emphasis throughout the chapter is on the emerging articulation of the desired outcomes for research doctoral education, including the increasing agreement that PhD training should include the development of particular skills that can be transferred from academic to other professional settings, and from one professional setting to another—skills that enhance graduates’ employability, their ability to manage their own careers, and their sense of responsibility for making contributions to society. We also consider current forces and pressures affecting doctoral education, and we conclude with a discussion of issues and directions that merit additional attention and further research.


  • Bernstein, BL
  • Evans, BK
  • Fyffe, JM
  • Halai, N
  • Hall, FL
  • Siggard Jensen, H
  • Marsh, H
  • Ortega, S

publication date

  • 2014