From professional to PhD student: challenges of status transition

Watts, Jacqueline H. (2009). From professional to PhD student: challenges of status transition. Teaching in Higher Education, 14(6) pp. 687–691.



Being a professional stems not only from external regulatory and eligibility guidelines, but also from an individual’s willingness to internalise and apply the values and insight gained during their training. Increasingly, professionals are expected to undertake ongoing education and training that is now seen as an integral component of professional practice that can respond effectively to changed requirements in the practice environment. In some arenas the enhancement of professional practice skills and knowledge has become associated with higher level academic study and so in recent years we have seen an increase in the numbers of experienced and highly skilled professionals, already with postgraduate qualifications, return to education to follow doctoral study, in some cases sponsored by their employer. This article debates the challenges for both students and their supervisors presented by the transition in status from highly respected authoritative professional to new, and often uncertain, research student in the world of academia.

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