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Durham University

School of Education

Doctorate in Education (EdD)

The Doctorate in Education (EdD) is designed to meet the needs of education professionals in teaching, management or administrative roles in all sectors from primary to higher education.

The EdD differs from a PhD in that it is primarily focused on professional rather than theoretical issues and is aimed at those who have already been employed in the education sector for a number of years, either as lecturers, teachers administrators, advisers or inspectors. For some, the established PhD route comprising in-depth study of a single specialised topic does not satisfy their needs. To meet the requirement for a new approach the EdD was instituted and this programme provides students with a broad-based knowledge of a number of areas through a system of taught modules that develop a basis for the thesis and the opportunity to research a specific issue of professional concern in depth.

The EdD is structured to offer maximum flexibility and, as such, we provide three types of study for applicants to choose from:

  • Full-time study
  • Part-time study

Each route offers a different pattern of teaching but all follow the same basic structure:

  • Six taught modules during the taught phase
  • One thesis (60,000 words max.) during the research phase.

The taught phase of the programme enables students to address these broad learning outcomes:

Learning Outcome

Group A

Critical understanding of issues relating to teaching & learning

Group B

Critical understanding of the organisation of education

Group C

Ability to analyse and evaluate educational research

The structure is designed to provide a focus towards the thesis. Students are introduced to the requirements of the thesis early on in their programme, so that they can develop and refine their ideas with support from colleagues. The taught modules provide a wide platform in the obligatory modules that can then be extended in the other modules in order to be responsive to students' needs.

As the thesis requires a high level of independent thinking in order to produce a piece of research that makes a contribution to the field, the Analysis and Evaluation of Educational Research, Engaging with Interpretive Research Design and the Thesis Proposal modules are compulsory.

In the final phase students work as individuals with two supervisors to produce a thesis, which is often but not always related to a specific aspect of their work and position in the education service. It is expected that the research topic should complement the current staff research areas.

Thus, the EdD moves from a broad base to a specific thesis which, though shorter and more focused than a doctoral dissertation, has to reach the same level and is judged by the same criteria. The EdD and PhD have exact parity of degree status.

Students need to successfully complete six modules in order to advance to the thesis phase of the programme.

Students take 3 compulsory modules:

  • Engaging with Interpretive Research Design (30 credits)
  • Analysis and Evaluation of Educational Research (30 credits)
  • Thesis Proposal (30 credits)

They then have a choice from all other PGT modules. So they must chose three modules from the domains of

  • Technology in Education,
  • Mathematics Education,
  • Science Education,
  • Arts Education,
  • Educational Assessment,
  • Curriculum & Policy,
  • Special Educational Needs and Inclusion,
  • Intercultural & International Education, and
  • Management.

(NB. The modules available each academic year do vary depending on staff availability so please check at the time of registration).

A student wishing to progress to the research phase of the EdD must obtain an overall average mark of at least 60% in the assessment of their taught modules. Any student who does not obtain an overall mark of at least 50% will be required to withdraw from the programme.

Students may already have a proposal for a thesis upon starting the programme, but many begin to formulate their proposal while taking modules. For example, an assignment for one of the units may provide the opportunity to explore a theme prior to commitment for the thesis.

Students work individually under the supervision of one or more members of staff on a topic chosen in consultation with their supervisor. This is often related to the work these students have undertaken in their institution and involves an independent investigation demonstrating their ability to test ideas and to understand the relationship between the theme of their investigation and the wider field of knowledge.

The thesis should represent an original contribution and include matter worth of publication. The thesis should be a maximum of 60,000 words.

Applicants will normally be expected to hold a Master's degree or equivalent and should be able to demonstrate proficiency in research methods. The latter is most usually demonstrated by the successful completion of a taught Master's degree that includes substantial research methods training. If you do not possess such a degree, you may be interested in registering for our MA in Research Methods (Education) programme, from which you may be able to progress to the EdD.

Exemption from research training requirements may be granted only on the grounds of very clear evidence that a candidate has completed comparable research training elsewhere or has engaged successfully in extensive, wide-ranging and high quality education research activity, usually reflected in a record of publication.

If English is not your first language, you will need to be able to demonstrate satisfactory English proficiency before the start of your programme of study. Please contact the English Language Centre for language requirements.