Advances in Health Sciences Education

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 601–608 | Cite as

Exploring emerging issues in research higher degree supervision of professional doctorate students in the health sciences

  • Peter A. LeggatEmail author
  • Kay Martinez


Over the past 20 years, there has been an increase in the number of students undertaking traditional research masters and doctor of philosophy courses in the health sciences. This paper reviews and summarizes several aspects of the literature related to supervision of students in these traditional research higher degree (RHD) programs in Australasia: elements of RHD supervision; use of information and communication technologies in RHD supervision; warning signs for non-completion of RHD candidature; and evaluation of RHD supervision. The growth in traditional RHD enrolments has been paralleled by similar expansion in professional doctorate programs, and this paper draws attention to issues relating to supervision of these professional doctorate students, especially those studying at a distance. It draws on earlier research which compared structures of such programs across Australia and grounded professional doctorate supervision firmly in the workplace. Further, the emerging small body of literature associated with professional doctorate supervision is used to highlight features shared with and those distinct from traditional RHD supervision, and to identify fertile topics for further research into this burgeoning area.


Professional doctorates Research higher degrees Supervision Health sciences Evaluation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Public Health, Tropical Medicine and Rehabilitation SciencesJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia
  2. 2.Faculty of Arts, Education and Social SciencesJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia

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