A PhD is the most advanced form of postgraduate study. It is awarded on the successful completion of supervised research, verbal examination and final thesis. While an MPhil has less scope and complexity, it requires similar training and research, and is assessed by the submission of a thesis.
In the school, we have a broad commitment to improving and investigating social justice and equality in education. We provide a dynamic research environment, with a community of more than 300 students from 40 different countries. Some study and live here in the UK, while others are based countries around the world and make periodic visits to the UK to see their supervisor(s).
You will study alongside academic experts and will be assigned two supervisors appropriate to your field. Full-time students meet with their supervisors at least 10 times each year, while part-time students meet with them at least six times in the same period.
Entry to our postgraduate research programme is competitive and having a strong research proposal is therefore very important.
Education research areas include:
- changing literacy practices
- education for human flourishing
- education and international development
- higher, adult and vocational education
- learning sciences
- learning through the arts, creative pedagogies and science
- mathematics education
- school leadership and improvement
- teachers' work, professionalism and education policy
PhD students must present a thesis, a maximum of 100,000 words, demonstrating originality and innovation on the subject of their advanced study and research. The thesis must satisfy examiners regarding knowledge of the general field of scholarship to which the subject belongs.
You must take a verbal examination on the subject of your thesis and its general field of scholarship.
MPhil students must present a thesis, a maximum of 60,000 words, embodying the results of their advanced study and research. The thesis must satisfy the examiners regarding knowledge of the general field of scholarship to which the subject belongs.
A verbal examination occurs at the discretion of the examiners.
Confirmation of status review
All doctoral students are required to successfully undertake a Confirmation of Status Review within one year of full-time study, or 24 months of part-time study. You will produce a paper of around 12,000 words which is assessed and which must be defended verbally to an internal assessor.
We offer a substantial research training programme, consisting of training courses offered by the Graduate School and research methods modules. The courses are free to students.
All full-time research students are required to attend the following four research training modules. Part-time students are welcome to attend if they wish:
- Introduction to Educational Research: Designing, Conducting and Evaluating Research
- The Contexts of Educational Research: Philosophy, Theory, Methodology and Policy
- Generating Educational Research Data
- Analysing Educational Research Data: Interpreting, Disseminating and Communicating Research
It may be possible for you to gain exemption for some of these modules if you have previously studied research training courses at the appropriate level.
The academic staff within the School of Education are active in teaching and research, keeping in close touch with the many major developments now affecting educational practitioners. The school has numerous links with educational institutions and organisations locally, nationally and internationally, ensuring that we are a dynamic place in which to work and study.
The school has Mode A status for ESRC full-time studentships. This means that all research students are able to access high-quality training courses. These cover a wide range of approaches to educational research including qualitative, quantitative and action research.
You will have access to excellent facilities including an ICT and learning resource centre. Full-time students are given personal workstations, and part-time students have a dedicated drop-in work centre. You will have access to the full Microsoft Office suite and a range of education-specific software. All computers have internet access and are networked to a printer/photocopier.
Situated within the Djanogly Learning Resource Centre (DLRC) on Jubilee Campus, the education library provides group study rooms, computer facilities and an extensive collection of books, journals and manuscripts.
The Graduate School supports all postgraduates and early career researchers at the University, with dedicated study spaces, training courses and placement opportunities.
Tutorial support and feedback
Tutors will support and guide you in preparing, processing and writing-up your work. They will provide you with written comments on each assignment, including un-moderated grades (subject to amendments by the Examinations Board), and can discuss any future action that is required with you.
As you will be working at an advanced level, much of your time will be spent planning and carrying out systematic inquiries and preparation for assignments and dissertation. Tutors are crucial in providing intellectual and moral support and challenge for these processes, regarding their role in supporting you as a high professional priority.
The University provides a range of support and information to enhance your student experience.
You will have access to:
- academic and disability support
- childcare services
- counselling service
- financial support
- visa and immigration advice
- welfare support
English language courses
Our Centre for English Language Education offers presessional English courses to help develop your English and study skills.
The centre is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK, so you can be sure that the teaching and facilities are high-quality. You can also access free English language support alongside your academic course.
University of Nottingham Students’ Union represents all students. You can join the Postgraduate Students’ Network or speak to the dedicated Postgraduate Officer.
There are also a range of support networks, including groups for:
- international students
- black and minority ethnic students
- students with disabilities
- LGBT+ students
SU Advice provides free, independent and confidential advice on issues such as accommodation, financial and academic difficulties.
Researcher training and development
The Graduate School training and development programme empowers postgraduate students and early career research staff to develop the skills required in their research and future careers.
You will be assigned two supervisors appropriate to your field. Please make sure that we have a supervisor who shares an interest in your proposed area of research before applying.
Careers and professional development
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.
Average starting salary and career progression
99.5% of postgraduates from the School of Education secured work or further study within six months of graduation. £22,500 was the average starting salary, with the highest being £38,000.*
* Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates who were available for employment, 2016/17. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.
Careers support and advice
Whether you are considering a career within or outside academia, we’re here to support you every step of the way.
You can access our Careers and Employability Service during your studies and after you graduate.
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.
Fees and funding
As a student on this course, you should factor some additional costs into your budget, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses. You should be able to access most of the books and papers you'll need through our libraries.
If your research work includes UK based field work the school covers the cost of a DBS check, where necessary. The school will support research expenses to a maximum of £250 per annum for PhD students subject to application, and conference attendance up to £400 for a paper and up to £150 for attending per annum depending on application.
Please note that these figures are approximate and subject to change.
See information on how to fund your studies, including our step-by-step guide. Further information is available on the school website.
Midlands Graduate School
Nottingham is part of the Midlands Graduate School ESRC Doctoral Training Partnership, which offers funding opportunities for postgraduate students each year.
Government loans for masters courses
Masters student loans of up to £10,906 are available for taught and research masters courses. Applicants must ordinarily live in the UK or EU.
International and EU students
Masters scholarships are available for international and EU students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study. You must already have an offer to study at Nottingham to apply. Please note closing dates to ensure you apply for your course with enough time.
We provide guidance on funding your degree, living costs and working while you study. You can also access specific funding opportunities, entry requirements and other resources for students from specific countries.