National University begins professional doctoral programme amid controversy

  • 09:55 - 2018/10/05

HCM City National University’s plan to run a professional doctorate training program, the first of its kind in Vietnam, has raised controversy about its feasibility and necessity.


Vietnam now only has PhDs

The university, one of the most prestigious schools in Vietnam, listed in the QS’s top 1,000 universities, is considering training professional doctorate (PD) in two majors - Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) and Doctor of Education (EdD).

Vu Phan Tu, head of the Postgraduate Education Division, said there are five types of doctoral training and two kinds of titles written on degrees – PhD (Doctor of Philosophy), i.e doctoral degree with an academic focus, and PD, intended to create knowledge that advances professional practice, rather than academic pursuits. Vietnam now only has PhDs.

The demand for learning is very high. However, since the MOET’s new regulation on doctoral training in 2017 with stricter requirements, the number of candidates registering to follow doctoral programs has decreased. 

Tran Van Nghia from the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) said professional doctorate has been most commonly applied in America and Europe. Germany, which did not recognize the training program, changed its mind.


He said that the demand for learning is very high. However, since the MOET’s new regulation on doctoral training in 2017 with stricter requirements, the number of candidates registering to follow doctoral programs has decreased. 

Many candidates were refused because they could not meet the requirements for research-oriented academic training. A professional doctorate training program could be their new target.

Dong Van Huong, vice rector of the HCMC Transport University, lauding the launch of the training program, said the program is necessary in the current conditions of Vietnam.

“Vietnam not only needs theoretical researchers, but also ones who can create solutions to be used to solve problems in reality,” he said.

Meanwhile, some other experts expressed concern about the quality of the PD program.

Nguyen Thien Tong from the HCMC University of Science & Technology warned that in a society which attaches importance to degrees and qualifications, PD programs may attract people with limited research capability.

“The current quality of PhDs is now low. And it would be even lower for PD,” he warned.

However, Nguyen Minh Kieu from the HCM City Open University, who followed a PD training course in 1998 in Australia, said that one must not consider PD holders as incapable people. He has been working for 30 years in the education sector, during which he has instructed 300 masters and five PhDs.

“It would be better not to set barriers or cite unreasonable excuses to prevent training in accordance with the world trend,” he said.

Source: Vietnamnet

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