Postgraduate Research

The School of Education has a national and international standing as a centre of excellence for research in education which is recognised by consistently scoring high in the national assessment of the research (REF) which takes place across all UK universities approximately every 6 years. The results of the latest 2021 Research Excellent Framework (REF) show that the School of Education is ranked 3rd in the UK for its 4* research. 

The School provides wide and varied opportunities to undertake research programmes on a full or part-time basis that will support the growth of research skills and build on subject knowledge. It also runs an annual Doctoral Research Conference.

Before applying for a research degree, applicants are encouraged to find out more about the current research taking place in the school. You can also find out more on the individual staff profiles or view a summary of staff research interests. You might also be interested in some of our scholarships and studentships.

Details of current doctoral research may be found on the Doctoral Researcher  profile webpages. If you wish to have an informal chat with current doctoral researchers from across the university, you may be interested in our Café PhD events.

If you are interested in taught postgraduate masters programmes, please view our Masters and Professional Development Programmes web page.

Priority areas

We particularly welcome research degree applications in the following areas: 

  • Philosophy of Education 
  • Sociology of Education 
  • History of Education 
  • Character and Values Education 
  • Race and Education 
  • Post-compulsory Education (including Adult, Vocational and Higher Education) 
  • Inclusive Education and Disability
  • Language Education
  • Linguistic Diversity  

Masters level research programme

The MA by Research is a research-based Masters programme. It is assessed by a thesis of 40,000 words maximum. Students are encouraged to participate in a research training programme, but they are not required to complete assignments for research training modules they attend.. This programme is suitable for applicants who are interested in developing their independent research skills and many students who complete this course progress onto PhD study afterwards.

Taught doctoral programmes

To complete a taught doctorate programme you have to gain a total of 540 credits. The programme divides into two parts, a taught element made up of modules totalling 180 credits, and a research thesis which is equivalent to 360 credits. In general, taught elements will be completed during the first half of the course, which then enables postgraduate researchers to focus on main data collection and the writing of their thesis in the second half. 

Research degree by thesis

The Education PhD requires a minimum period of study as a registered student of normally three years full-time or six years part-time. 

The PhD is by thesis only, and is examined by a work of 80,000 words maximum and an oral examination. One to one supervision is provided throughout the length of the formal registration. Postgraduate researchers who are involved in similar areas may also have some group supervision.


Please view the school scholarships and bursaries page for details of scholarship and funding opportunities.

Contact Details

View our postgraduate professional development courses

Information about how to apply may be found on the entry requirements page.