General characteristics of the doctorate – stabilizing elements
Assuming that obtaining a doctorate is associated with the production and dissemination of human knowledge about him and his environment, it is possible to treat increasing the number of people with doctorates as a certain indicator of the scale and dynamics of scientific research. The scope of the research undertaken, the level of doctorates as well as the possibilities of using the results remain an issue. In this respect, in the first and second case, there is a distinct specificity of disciplines, countries and centers granting doctorates. The possibility of using the knowledge related to obtaining a doctorate, as well as the importance of the PhD degree itself, is also culturally conditioned to a large extent.
European law on degrees and academic titles emphasizes fact. that obtaining a doctorate is to prepare a dissertation under the supervision of the promoter. This is the last study prepared independently, but for which compliance with the rules prevailing in a given environment is the responsibility of the manager. Public defense against a group of specialists is designed to demonstrate that the candidate for the PhD degree knows not only thematically and methodically related to the topic of the doctoral dissertation. The Act treats these skills and related methodological and theoretical knowledge as something permanent. No need to continue research after obtaining a doctorate will give rise to increasing doubts as to the value of the degree obtained – the reason for this is and will be the growing scale of changes in the methods of conducting and interpretation of research results. On the other hand, obtaining a doctorate is also a specific commitment to putting and solving cognitive and practical problems not only in a given discipline, in a way that allows them to be verified – this feature can speak for a permanent linking of a doctorate with a given person.
Obtaining a doctorate was almost always connected not only with research, but also with the transfer of knowledge, and was associated with a kind of trust in the opinions expressed in the field of knowledge.
The importance of the PhD is nowadays due to the growing demand for knowledge. It is connected with the constant increase of tasks in the field of cognition and didactics. In the case of didactics, this was reflected in the inclusion of doctoral studies in the education system – in the educational model introduced in UK in 1998, they became an official extension of the Master’s program. On the other hand, in the case of cognition, it connects with the development of scientific research and their increasing importance in shaping reality.
Number of doctorates – state policy towards science or spontaneous process?
Assuming that the number of people obtaining a doctoral degree, as well as people applying for it, is a determinant of a given interest in science and the application of its principles, it is possible to follow changes in this area in UK. The official data published in the Statistical Yearbooks may serve as the basis for the assessments.
Significant impact on the number of people obtaining doctoral degrees has had and have institutional solutions related mainly to the number of people directly interested in obtaining the doctoral degree. This applies to both assistants and participants of doctoral studies, as well as people seeking a doctorate through non-institutional contacts with a potential supervisor.
The range of doctoral studies funded by the state is particularly significant in the number of doctoral theses’ defense. The changes in the number and structure of doctoral students in UK underwent transformations.
In 2000, there were 25,604 PhD students in UK, including 18 878 full-time studies, that is 73.7%. It is also worth noting that (as far as doctoral studies are concerned) academic universities prevailed, in which doctorates prepared 24,804 people.
Due to the different criteria for counting doctoral students (they are attributed to their universities, not to scientific disciplines), it must be pointed out that 1829 people took part in doctoral studies at universities, 7.1% of the total. What is more important, however, is another observation, namely that in full-time studies, 494 people are trying to obtain a doctorate, that is 27.0% of the total. So this is a complete reversal of the proportion. There are 8.0% of all doctoral students in state universities in economic academies. PhD students at the economic academies make up 3% of the group and 20.9% of their group. In the case of economic universities, doctoral students who work and pay for their education are dominant. This fact can be interpreted differently. However, he undoubtedly indicates the high interest of people working in obtaining a doctoral degree in the field of economic sciences or management. The issue of motivations leading to starting doctoral studies in the conditions of a sharp increase in the number of graduates completing these fields of study remains an issue.
A more or less detailed analysis of statistical data may point to a certain policy of the Ministry of Education regarding the granting of scholarships for students of full-time doctoral studies, its connection with the number of human resources) of independent employees in universities or institutes with the right to conduct doctorates or with didactic needs or scientific. The number of PhD students funded by the workplace is relatively small so far – in the case of practitioners, prevailing persons undertaking doctoral studies on their own initiative and at their own cost.