APUS professional practice doctorates are multidisciplinary degrees that address intellectual, cultural, and organizational challenges in the respective profession of study. These programs educate and prepare the next generation of global leaders to advance academic and professional practice in their fields embracing a scholar-practitioner model of education in which practice, research, and multidisciplinary approaches are integrated components. This transformational approach concurrently integrates and develops knowledge, skills, findings, and insights applied to solve or provide greater understanding of complex problems. Likewise, we aim to advance theory and practice to enhance the related disciplines, areas of professional practice, and communities wherein our students, faculty, and University serve.

A Professional Practice Doctorate is an applied degree that focuses on the scholar-practitioner model. In this model, you will conduct research related to your professional experience to bridge theory and practice, advance knowledge in the field, and contribute to organizational change. While maintaining the rigor of a doctoral program, the emphasis on application of theory to practice differentiates the applied doctorate from the traditional PhD program.

Cohort Model

Students in a cohort will progress through the coursework together with options for three elective courses. In addition to coursework, students will complete three residencies, an ePortfolio with oral defense of the portfolio, a dissertation proposal with oral defense of it, and a dissertation with oral defense.

Residencies: Doctoral programs contain three residencies at crucial program points.

  1. The first, Doctoral Program Foundations (year 1), establishes expectations for the program, develops rapport within the cohort, and introduces students to doctoral faculty. During this residency, students develop their degree plan, sign the degree expectations form (see Appendix C), and consider initial focus areas for dissertation research. Introduction to the Portfolio of Doctoral Studies.

  2. The second residency (year 2) depends on the specific degree program and may include presentations at professional conferences or international experience.

  3. The third residency (year 3) focuses on practicum and dissertation requirements. In this residency, students develop a practicum project that stretches professional skills toward the students’ career goals. More importantly, this residency serves as a time to narrow the dissertation focus and select a potential dissertation advisor and committee members.

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