Abstract

The purpose of this article is to examine the nature of doctoral degrees in different countries and subjects, and to consider the extent to which there is a common understanding of the nature of doctoral degrees.
The article will first consider the framework for higher education in Europe then describe a personal history to show how this framework may be considered to be simplistic in terms of reflecting the reality of current practice.
The article will progress to consider the nature of doctorates themselves by considering first the entry requirements, then the characteristics that define doctorates, and finally the assessment of doctorates.
There are currently significant variations in doctorates across Europe. The Bologna process offers a path to harmonisation across Europe, but needs to recognise different perspectives and priorities arising from stakeholder, national and subject variations.

Keywords

Doctoral degree, Harmonization, Perspective.