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Growth and diversity in doctoral education: assessing the Australian experience

Abstract

The major growth of doctoral education in recent decades has attracted attention from policy makers and researchers. In this article we explore the growth of doctoral education in Australia, its impact on diversity in respect of the doctoral population, shifts in disciplinary strengths, institutional concentration and award programs. We conclude that there has been both change and continuity in the provision of doctoral education with extensive variation at the level of practice in what is a reasonably stable system featuring continuing hierarchical institutional diversification. The limitations of available data and issues for further research, policy and practice are discussed.

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Notes

  1. In the following order 2004 (1996) the SBOFS are: Education (Education); Natural & Physical Sciences (Science); Health (Health/Veterinary Science); Management & Commerce (Business, Administration & Economics); Society & Culture/Creative Arts (Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences/Law).

  2. Multi-modal refers to candidates based in industry.

  3. Full-time proportions were calculated in 1996 out of the total of full- and part-time excluding the external category for which data on ‘type of attendance’ was not available, totalling 737 or 3%.

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Acknowledgements

This article draws on research being funded by two Australian Research Council grants: an ARC Linkage grant project 2004–2006, entitled ‘Working students: Reconceptualising the doctoral experience’; and an ARC Discovery Grant, 2006–2008 ‘Research capacity-building: the development of Australian Ph.D. programs in national and emerging global contexts’.

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Correspondence to Margot Pearson.

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Pearson, M., Evans, T. & Macauley, P. Growth and diversity in doctoral education: assessing the Australian experience. High Educ 55, 357–372 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-007-9059-3

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Keywords

  • Doctoral education
  • Research training
  • Ph.D.s
  • Growth and diversity
  • Professional doctorates
  • Innovation