DEP: 2.3 QAA Masters and Doctoral Level Descriptors

The transition from Masters to doctoral level at the end of Year 1 as outlined by the QAA qualification descriptors in the framework for higher education includes:

Masters degree

Trainees should be able to demonstrate:

  • A systematic understanding of knowledge, including a critical awareness at the forefront of a discipline
  • An understanding of techniques applicable to research
  • Originality in the application of knowledge and an understanding of how research can create and allow an interpretation or evaluation of new knowledge

Trainees should be able to:

  • Systematically deal with complex issues (sometimes without complete data)
  • Show problem solving skills that reflect self-direction and originality
  • Continue to develop further skills linked to the continuous advancement of knowledge

Trainees will be able to show transferable skills necessary for employment related to:

  • Taking initiative and personal responsibility to make decisions in complex environments
  • A learning ethos to allow for CPD

Doctoral Degree

Trainees should be able to demonstrate:

  • A systematic understanding of a substantial body of knowledge, including a critical awareness at the forefront of a discipline
  • A detailed understanding of research techniques and academic inquiry
  • An ability to think through, design and implement a project for the generation of new knowledge
  • The creation and interpretation of new knowledge (via original research) that extends the discipline and merits publication

Trainees should be able to:

  • Make informed judgements on complex issues in specialist fields (sometimes without complete data) and communicate ideas effectively to specialist and non-specialist audiences
  • Continue to undertake research at a high level

Trainees will be able to show transferable skills necessary for employment related to:

  • Taking largely autonomous initiative and personal responsibility in complex and unpredictable professional (and equivalent) environments

These are taken from the QAA (2008) and described in full at: http://www.qaa.ac.uk