Professional Doctorate in Education

About the course

A central feature of the work of professionals in education and training today is the evaluation and development of practice and the ability to bring about change within their institutions. The EdD is a research-based programme focused on the improvement of professional practice. You will work at doctorate level on issues or problems that are of direct relevance to your professional interests and institutional concerns, bringing significant benefit to the organisation in which you work.

You will undertake a programme of studies in the areas of professional development and impact on practice. You will investigate research approaches and methods appropriate to practice-based research; and leadership issues in promoting the learning of others. In consultation with tutors you will develop a programme of work which leads to the presentation of a thesis.

The programme is intended for professionals with an education or training function from public sector or commercial/business organisations. These include: people working in education settings such as schools, further education, higher education, and local education authorities; trainers and consultants; staff working in inter-agency settings; youth and social workers.

Study themes for Phase 1 (Years 1 and 2) are: issues in professional learning and development; approaches to research.

Study Themes for Phases 2 and 3 (Years 3 to 5) are: professional learning and development of practice-based research, with supervisory support leading to the production of a substantial thesis.

There is a programme of sessions relating to the themes provides opportunities for you to present and evaluate your own work.

How to apply

Before making your formal application, we recommend that you discuss your proposed research with Dr Karen Smith, to establish that it is appropriate for this award. 

Download our information pack on studying for a Doctorate in Education.

Teaching methods

A series of bi-monthly study days are organised in two-day blocks and single days (including weekend days), supervision meetings, e-learning support and University Researcher Development Programme sessions. This research course has a strong cohort experience and attendance to the bi-monthly study days is compulsory. During the study days, which are led by the EdD team, students develop research skills and discuss their ongoing projects. Students are supervised by a principal and up to two second supervisors. The EdD core team includes professionals with a wide range of expertise at the forefront of education and social inquiry:

Karen Smith, PhD. Professional Doctorate in Education (EdD) Programme Director. Areas of expertise: the development of scholarly practitioners; enquiry into work-based practice and practitioner research; qualitative research methodologies (particularly in-depth interviewing and critical discourse analysis). Research interests focus on the language of higher education policy and practice; transnational education and internationalisation; partnership and collaborative working; and the role of research in policymaking. Representative publication: Using multi-dimensional methods to understand the development, interpretation and enactment of quality assurance policy within the educational development community (Higher Education Research and Development, 2017).

Jon Berry, PhD. Areas of expertise: teachers’ professional autonomy, education policy, the politics of education. Representative publication: Putting the test in its place. UCL/Trentham. 2017

Joy Jarvis, PhD, Professor of Educational Practice. Areas of expertise: professional learning and development including pedagogy in schools and HE, professional identity, professional development and leadership in learning and teaching. Research interests focus on narrative and arts-based forms of enquiry. Representative publication: Staff–student collaboration: student learning from working together to enhance educational practice in higher education (with Stockwell and Dickerson Teaching in Higher Education 2016).

Roger Levy, PhD, Associate Dean, Research and Enterprise. Areas of expertise: professional learning and development, including mentoring, enquiry into work-based practice and the capacity of organisations to manage change; conceptions of teaching and learning; teacher development, professionalism; curriculum, programme evaluation; qualitative methodology. An active member and past Chair of the International Professional Development Association. Representative publication is Changing practice in Malaysian primary schools: Learning from student teachers’ reports of using action, reflection and modelling (ARM), with Dickerson, Thomas, and Jarvis, Journal of Education for Teaching, 2018.

Philip Woods, PhD FRSA, Professor of Educational Policy, Democracy and Leadership. Areas of expertise: policy, leadership, democracy and education, enterprise and entrepreneurialism, alternative education, sociology, research and evaluation. Representative publication: Collaborative School Leadership: A critical guide, P. A. Woods & A. Roberts (Sage, 2018). He has active links with networks in the UK (e.g. through the British Educational Leadership Management and Administration Society), Europe and the US (e.g. through the University Council for Educational Administration and the New DEEL (Democratic Ethical Educational Leadership) network).

Contact Dr Karen Smith for further details.

What’s next for my career?

The Doctorate in Education (EdD) offers the opportunity for those with an enthusiasm for learning to gain the highest level of professional qualification available in the field.



Start DateEnd DateLink
01/10/202331/07/2024Apply online (Part Time)


Start DateEnd DateLink
01/10/202431/07/2025Apply online (Part Time)

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