Assessing Research Doctoral Programmes


Most theological education institutions that now offer a research doctoral degree programme originally began by providing undergraduate or masters level programmes. But while the assessment process for all educational programmes has some similarities, there are some distinctive issues involved in assessing research doctoral programmes.  

In this course we will consider carefully the range of issues that need assessment for these kinds of doctoral programmes and how to review them, equipping school leaders and accrediting agency review teams for this important investment in programme development and accreditation.  Our goal is to strengthen the development of doctoral education programmes in ICETE member and affiliated schools, and well-done assessment is critical for accomplishing that goal. 

Course Outcomes

This course will allow you to explain the four-fold framework for doctoral programme assessment and why each area is important, identify key questions for each of the four areas that are important to answer in the assessment process, describe how to use what is learned from the assessment of research doctoral programmes for their ongoing development and help lead the assessment of research doctoral degree programmes in their own school or in schools within their accreditation group, drawing from the Beirut Benchmarks and other doctoral education resources available through ICETE

Course content
  • Introduction to the Assessment of Research Doctoral Programmes
  • The Four-Fold Framework
  • Purposes and Learning Outcomes
  • Resources
  • Educational Processes
  • Outcomes 
  • Putting it All Together


This course is authored by Dr Kevin Lawson.  Kevin serves as co-chair of the ICETE Doctoral Initiatives Steering Committee (DISC). He has over 25 years of experience in doctoral education at Talbot School of Theology. The course text, “Recommended Guidelines for Research Doctoral Programmes Assessment” (ICETE, 2020) is available through this course at no charge.

Delivery mode

This is a self-paced online course.


10 hours of learning

ICETE Academy points

10 points

Completion requirements

You will need to complete the learning sections, engage in completing all the required tasks in the workbook and write a final essay. 

Course enrolment key


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