Research overview

This course enables experienced education professionals to develop the critical knowledge to undertake their own research and broaden the horizons of their own professional work.  

Our EdD combines the research elements of a PhD with significant taught components. Allowing you to share and acquire knowledge from your classmates and gain a unique understanding of different educational practices and contexts.   

You will devise your own arguments and critical standpoint in relation to education research.  

You will benefit from: 

  • our links to practice - allowing you to draw on your own educational experiences 
  • weekend and summer classes - our course has been designed for busy professionals who may be studying alongside a full-time job 
  • a strong cohesive cohort of education practitioners 
  • exit routes, where appropriate, for those who, for whatever reason, are not able to complete the full course

Supervision is offered by colleagues across our research centres in the School of Education and if appropriate, we may be able to work with academic colleagues elsewhere in the University to offer joint supervision across schools. 

You will be taught by an established team of nationally and internationally recognised education researchers who boast a wide range of expertise and experience in research, teaching and policy work. 

Read about Dr Jill Berry's experience of the EdD course and how it has helped with her career.

Course content

Our EdD is divided into two parts. Part one - taught element, and Part two - thesis. You will be awarded the Professional Doctorate if you successfully complete Part two by submitting a thesis or portfolio of 50-60,000 words and undergo a viva voce examination. 

Part one is taught in a series of eight weekend schools (typically Friday/Saturday; two weekend sessions per module). These weekends have been provisionally planned and avoid major holiday periods for the UK. 

The dates for 2021/22 are:

Module 1

  • Weekend 1: Friday 8 and Saturday 9 October 2021
  • Weekend 2: Friday 19 and Saturday 20 November 2021

Module 2

  • Weekend 1: Friday 18 and Saturday 19 March 2022
  • Weekend 2: Friday 13 and Saturday 14 May 2022

There is an EdD summer school each year in July. It is compulsory for second year students and optional for other students. It will help you to develop your research and writing skills.  

Your attendance will typically be equal to four full days per module. International students can apply for the short-term study visit visa for this programme. 

Part two will see you undertake a sustained programme of research in your own education sub-field, focused on your context and/or practice. This should take a minimum of two years and the final submission can take two forms: 

  • Thesis of 50-60,000 words based on a single empirical study.
  • Production of a 50-60,000 word portfolio typically consisting of three linked pieces of research (3 x 10,000) and a 20,000 word overview and meta-analysis. Where appropriate, this can include educational products (for example, film, design research outputs, software) as part of the submission. However, this would be in addition to the requisite 50,000 words. 

You must study for a minimum of four years part-time to complete this degree. Most students expect to spend around six years; there is an upper limit of eight years of study. 

This introductory module explores what it means to be a researching professional by developing critical perspectives on knowledge and practice in educational settings. It considers how policy, research, professional, pedagogic and practical knowledge is created, contested and/or consumed by education policymakers, professionals and practitioners.

Drawing upon a range of approaches to, and ideas about, knowledge-work the module allows participants to explore these forms of knowledge within areas of education that are of particular concern to individuals and/or subgroups within the cohort.

Modules 2 and 3 integrate education research philosophy, theory, methodology and techniques. This is done in an iterative way to maintain a dialectical relationship between research theory and practice. Some of the theoretical 'big ideas' in education research are explored as well as how these might be appropriated by researching professionals. 

The modules explore the challenges of designing good education research studies, particularly when researching one's context or practice. This includes consideration of the peculiar ethical and practical difficulties faced by insider researchers.

Some introduction is made to common methodological frameworks and techniques but generally the emphasis is less upon research methods training and more upon developing dispositions (for example, criticality, reflexivity, positionality) towards research design and practice.

Content to be confirmed.

The final taught module builds on Module 1 and allows participants to take a more in depth look at educational practice within their own sector.

Participants will explore relevant and key debates and literatures which will be useful in framing their ideas for developing the research proposal in Part II of the programme. The assessment from this module is likely to act as a springboard for the programme of research for Part II.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules.
  • Thesis

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2021 entry.


Masters degree in a relevant discipline and a 2:1 (or international equivalent); plus at least two years of professional experience in a relevant field or another suitable qualification


Masters degree in a relevant discipline and a 2:1 (or international equivalent); plus at least two years of professional experience in a relevant field or another suitable qualification

International and EU equivalents

We accept a wide range of qualifications from all over the world.

For information on entry requirements from your country, see our country pages.

IELTS7.0 (no less than 6.0 in any element)
English language requirements

As well as IELTS (listed above), we also accept other English language qualifications.

This includes TOEFL iBT, Pearson PTE, GCSE, IB and O level English.

Meeting our English language requirements

If you need support to meet the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional English course. Presessional courses teach you academic skills in addition to English language. Our Centre for English Language Education is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

If you successfully complete your presessional course to the required level, you can then progress to your degree course. This means that you won't need to retake IELTS or equivalent.

For on-campus presessional English courses, you must take IELTS for UKVI to meet visa regulations. For online presessional courses, see our CELE webpages for guidance.

We recognise that applicants have a variety of experiences and follow different pathways to postgraduate study.

We treat all applicants with alternative qualifications on an individual basis. We may also consider relevant work experience.

If you are unsure whether your qualifications or work experience are relevant, contact us.


Find a supervisor

You need to write a short piece of writing (750-1,500 words) on a current problem that concerns you related to your professional practice. The problem could be related to a topic that you are interested in researching on the EdD, but this is not a requirement. We will use this to assess your academic writing.

You should:

  • identify the problem clearly
  • use theory and/or research evidence to illuminate the problem
  • cite 5-10 academic publications appropriately

Potential course members are usually interviewed before any offer of a place is made.

Our step-by-step guide contains everything you need to know about applying for postgraduate research.

How to apply


Home / UK£4,496 per year
International£19,000 per year

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you will pay international tuition fees in most cases. If you are resident in the UK and have 'settled' or 'pre-settled' status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you will be entitled to 'home' fee status.

Irish students will be charged tuition fees at the same rate as UK students. UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will also continue to be eligible for 'home' fee status at UK universities until 31 December 2027.

For further guidance, check our information for applicants from the EU.

These fees are for full-time study. If you are studying part-time, you will be charged a proportion of this fee each year (subject to inflation).

Additional costs

As a student on this course, we do not anticipate any extra significant costs, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses.

You should be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to purchase your own copies which you would need to factor into your budget. You may incur some costs if you have to travel for data collection purposes.


There are many ways to fund your research degree, from scholarships to government loans.

Check our guide to find out more about funding your postgraduate degree.

Postgraduate funding


Tutorial support and feedback

Support and guidance is provided to help you in the preparation, research, and writing-up stages of your work. 

Your tutors will provide you with written comments on each assignment, and you are invited to make contact with them to discuss this feedback. The written comments will include the un-moderated grades (ie subject to amendments by the Examinations Board) and advice for future action where appropriate. 

As you are working at an advanced level, we assume that much of your time will be spent planning and carrying out systematic inquiries and preparation for assignments and dissertation. Your tutor will be crucial in providing intellectual and moral support and challenge for these processes. Tutors regard this support role as a high professional priority. 

Researcher training and development

The Researcher Academy is the network for researchers, and staff who support them. We work together to promote a healthy research culture, to cultivate researcher excellence, and develop creative partnerships that enable researchers to flourish.

Postgraduate researchers at Nottingham have access to our online Members’ area, which includes a wealth of resources, access to training courses and award-winning postgraduate placements.

Student support

You will have access to a range of support services, including:

  • academic and disability support
  • childcare services
  • counselling service
  • faith support
  • financial support
  • mental health and wellbeing support
  • visa and immigration advice
  • welfare support

Students' Union

Our Students' Union represents all students. You can join the Postgraduate Students’ Network or contact the dedicated Postgraduate Officer.

There are also a range of support networks, including groups for:

  • international students
  • black and minority ethnic students
  • students who identify as women
  • students with disabilities
  • LGBT+ students

SU Advice provides free, independent and confidential advice on issues such as accommodation, financial and academic difficulties.

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Where you will learn

Jubilee Campus

Jubilee Campus has eco-friendly buildings, alongside green spaces, wildlife and a lake. 

This campus is home to our business, education and computer science schools, as well as a sports centre and student accommodation.

You can walk to University Park Campus in around 20 minutes or catch a free hopper bus. Nottingham city centre is 20 minutes away by public bus.


Whether you are considering a career in academia, industry or haven't yet decided, we’re here to support you every step of the way.

Expert staff will work with you to explore PhD career options and apply for vacancies, develop your interview skills and meet employers. You can book a one-to-one appointment, take an online course or attend a workshop.

International students who complete an eligible degree programme in the UK on a student visa can apply to stay and work in the UK after their course under the Graduate immigration route. Eligible courses at the University of Nottingham include bachelors, masters and research degrees, and PGCE courses.

Career destinations for our graduates include counsellors, education advisers, language tutors, primary/secondary teachers and vocational/industrial trainers and instructors. A number of our graduates are already in employment while undertaking part-time study for professional development in their chosen career. 

94.3% of postgraduates from the School of Education secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £28,280.*

* HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020, using methodology set by The Guardian. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.

The main driver behind my work as a consult and academic are informed by my experience as a teacher of science over a period of nine years. I am interested in a range of issues of relevance to educational leadership including, but not limited to: educational change; practitioner and institutional development; educational leadership and educational networks.
Andy Townsend, course leader

Related courses

Research Excellence Framework

We are ranked 8th in the UK for research power (2014). The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the system used by UK higher education funding bodies to assess research quality in universities.

  • 3rd in the UK
  • 84% of our research was considered world-leading or internationally excellent with 55% rated at the highest score
  • all of our submission relating to research impact and research environment was considered to be world-leading - our school is the only education submission to achieve this
  • More than 97% of research at Nottingham is recognised internationally
  • More than 80% of our research is ranked in the highest categories as world-leading or internationally excellent
  • 16 of our 29 subject areas feature in the UK top 10 by research power

This content was last updated on 14 May 2021. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.