Professional Doctorates are doctoral level qualifications, equivalent to traditional PhDs.
The Professional Doctorate in Education (EdD) is suitable for those working in:
- education from early years to higher education
- local government/civil service
- educational organisation bodies
- education in museums and prisons
- other educational settings
- is linked to practice so you will draw on your own educational experiences
- is designed for busy professionals, offering weekend/summer attendance to fit in study alongside a full-time job
- allows you be part of a strong cohesive cohort of education practitioners
This is an exciting opportunity for experienced education professionals to develop the critical knowledge and skills necessary to undertake their own research and thereby improve their educational practices and contexts.
This programme brings people together from across education sectors to work as a cohort in a series of weekend study schools and then on an extended piece of original research. At all times students will be expected to develop their own arguments and critical standpoint in relation to education research.
It is taught by an established team of nationally and internationally recognised education scholars who boast a wide range of expertise and experience in research, teaching and policy work.
Written piece to support your application
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.
- 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.
You must study for a minimum of four years part-time to complete the degree, with most students expecting to spend around six years, and an upper limit of eight years of study.
The programme is divided into two parts as described below and candidates will be awarded the Professional Doctorate if they successfully complete Part II by submitting a thesis or portfolio of 50-60,000 words and undergo a viva voce examination. Progression to Part II is predicated upon successful completion of Part I.
The structuring of the programme in this way is designed to support busy professionals undergoing part-time study and allows exit routes, where appropriate, for students who, for whatever reason, are not able to complete the full programme.
Part I - taught element
Attendance at eight weekend schools
The first part of the programme is taught in a series of eight weekend schools (Friday/Saturday; two weekend schools per module). The timing of these weekends has been provisionally planned and has avoided major holiday periods for the UK.
Module 1: Understanding Education Knowledge
- Friday 11 - Saturday 12 October 2019
- Friday 22 - Saturday 23 November 2019
Module 2: Methodology and Methods for Researching Education
- Friday 20 – Saturday 21 March 2020
- Friday 22 – Saturday 23 May 2020
There is an EdD summer school each year in July. This is compulsory for students in the second year of their studies and optional for other students. This will help you to develop your research and writing skills. The dates for this are:
- Monday 27 – Tuesday 28 July 2020
Please note all dates are provisional and subject to change.
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.
The development of the cohort is central to ensuring maximum benefit from the support within the group, particularly during the later stages of the programme.
During Part I the cohort will follow the same programme. However, as we assume that participants' education context will be the site for application of the principles learned in modules, there will be regular opportunity to focus assessed work on your own particular area of interest.
Module 1: Understanding Education Knowledge
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.
Module 2: Methodology and Methods for Researching Education and Module 3: The Literature Review for Researching Education Practice
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.
Module 4: Key Debates and Issues for Researching Education
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.
Part II - thesis stage
In Part II of the programme participants undertake a sustained programme of research in their own education sub-field, focused on their own 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. This can, where appropriate, include educational products (for example, film, design research outputs, software) as part of the submission, but this would be in addition to the requisite 50,000 words.
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.
The above is a sample of the typical modules that we offer at the date of publication 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. This prospectus may be updated over the duration of the course, as modules may change due to developments in the curriculum or in the research interests of staff.
Tutorial support and feedback
Tutors will provide you with appropriate support and guidance on request to assist you in the preparation, process, 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 the tutors 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.
Because you will be 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. The role of 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.