Across the domains of design education the Design PhD is an area of much contemporary discussion and debate internationally. As the field of the discipline of design matures, so does its relationship with this qualification: its form, methods and relevance within and beyond the academy. In this paper, the authors critically reflect on their respective observations of differing models of undertaking design PhDs and subsequent models of submission and examination. Founded in their observations of the diversity of design PhDs pedagogically and structurally, the authors have begun a global mapping of current PhDs in design and are exploring how the various forms of design PhDs 1. Reflect socio-cultural and economic contexts of the study, and 2. Evidence a design research mode of inquiry and contribution. Through this discussion they question how we design Design PhDs that have relevance to the field, respect design’s particular contributions, and maintain the critical and scholarly contribution that is the basis of the PhD qualification.