Burton, Rob and Kirshbaum, Marilyn (2013) Supporting international students on professional doctorate programmes: A perspective from the United Kingdom. Work Based Learning e-Journal International, 3 (1). pp. 109-121. ISSN 2044-7868

This paper explores academic, personal and professional challenges associated with the increasing recruitment of international students to university programmes, particularly professional doctorate programmes.
The discussion notes the ‘culture shock’, ‘adaptation’ and a ‘change in self-­‐perception’ that international students face highlighted by
Scherto (2007) and suggests how these should be
considered. The three broad priority areas of
pre-­‐course information, pedagological issues and
academic supervision are addressed.
It is argued that this structured input should
begin with the provision of clear information
about what a professional doctorate is and the
requirements of undertaking such a programme.
The importance of finding ways of conveying this
message to candidates from overseas requires
careful consideration.
Students need to understand their roles and
responsibilities, and the instructional/assessment
approaches to which they will be exposed, which may differ from their previous educational
Therefore it is imperative for professional
doctorate programme teams to gain a meta-­‐awareness of cultural differences relevant to
education and research.
In an attempt to maximise the experiences of
international students, programmes involving
working and supporting each other in groups
can be beneficial.
Peer coaching is a recommended method for assisting students in developing academic and
practical ways of progressing through the
Research supervision functions best when it is
responsive and flexible to each student’s
character, approach to study, confidence and
By gaining intercultural awareness students can
be supported in designing, conducting and reporting upon the research

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