Professional Doctorate in Education

About the course

The Doctorate in Education (EdD) is designed to support the professional learning and development of practitioners in the fields of education and training and to bring benefits to the organisations and professions in which they work. The EdD is a research-based programme, focusing on the development of professional practice. The cohort-based programme seeks to empower professionals to research and innovate at doctoral level to address issues or problems of policy or practice directly relevant to their own professional interests and institutional concerns.

The EdD programme aims to meet the needs of practitioners who wish to keep abreast of a range of educational topics related to their practice, refine their research skills and work at doctoral level on issues or problems that are of direct relevance to their own professional practice. Key themes are professional learning and how this is facilitated in different contexts, and how leadership promotes professional learning of high quality. The programme aims to provide an understanding of the nature of education research in relation to the development of practice and an enhanced understanding of the nature of professionalism.  In consultation with supervisors, participants develop a programme of work which leads to the presentation of a doctoral submission.

The programme enables professionals to extend their own, and support others’, learning, development, and practice in work contexts. EdD research students (and alumni) work within a wide range of contexts, spanning public and commercial sector organisations which include early years settings, schools and further education and higher education provisions, health education contexts and community and voluntary services. 

The programme comprises 3 Phases. Phase 1 includes the two inter-related themes of issues in professional learning and development, and approaches to research. In Phase 2, key areas are revisited, building upon the participants’ increased engagement in and experience of research. In Phase 3, participants complete their submission through the support of supervision sessions and further study days. 

How to apply

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

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

A virtual Open Evening will be offered for all interested applicants on Wednesday 17 April, 17.30. We are also hosting a Proposal Writing Session on Thursday 18 April, 17.30 and another one on Friday 10 May, 17.30. To receive a link to any of these sessions, please contact Dr Jed Hopkins:

Teaching methods

The EdD seeks to support a strong cohort culture, with cohorts seen as a means of ongoing peer support and challenge for the duration of the programme. These support networks are fostered through a series of bi-monthly study days, organised in two-day blocks and single days (including weekend days), which participants are expected to attend. Participants also have access to the University Researcher Development Programme sessions, and to online materials and activities through the virtual learning environment, Canvas. 

EdD research students are supervised by a principal and up to two second supervisors. The EdD core team includes professionals with a wide range of expertise in education and social inquiry:

Jed Hopkins, PhD, Professional Doctorate in Education (EdD) Interim Programme Director. Areas of expertise: sociolinguistic approaches to language (especially as applied to teaching and academic literacies); sociological methodologies (especially code theories and discourse analysis); philosophy of education (especially philosophies influenced by phenomenological existentialism and applied to aesthetic, environmental and ecological approaches to education). Representative publication Effective or Wise? Teaching and the Meaning of Professional Dispositions in Education (2014, Peter Lang).

Karen Smith, PhD. Reader and Professor in Education. 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 Jed Hopkins 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 DateYearLocationLink
01/10/202431/07/20251UH Hatfield CampusApply online (Part Time)
Start DateEnd DateYearLocationLink
01/10/202531/07/20261UH Hatfield CampusApply online (Part Time)

Course fees

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