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    Professional Doctorate in EdD - The Sheffield EdD


    About This Professional Doctorate

    Course Description

    Course description

    This course will help you develop your own high standards of research that can be applied to a range of professional and managerial careers. You can study from anywhere at any time and share experiences with fellow students during the study weekends in Sheffield.

    The Sheffield EdD is a vibrant and successful distance learning programme which attracts students from all over the world. The programme is based on a structure of study weekends, so you can study from anywhere at any time and also share experiences with fellow students at the weekend study schools in Sheffield.

    The main aim of the programme is that students develop their own high standards of research that will be relevant to a range of professional and managerial careers.

    The EdD is divided into two Parts; Part 1 is the taught element of the course and runs over two years while Part 2 is the research component. In Part 1 students undertake modules which focus on research training in preparation for Part 2. In Part 2 students undertake an independent study in an area of their choice, under the supervision of their own personal supervisor.

    Part 1

    Being and Becoming a Researcher

    This module provides an introduction to the programme, to educational research and to developing a professional identity as a researcher. Areas considered will include: how educational research has been conceptualised; its nature and character; its relationship to politics, policy, culture and society; its past, present and future aims and purposes; how educational research articulates with research in other disciplines; and what it feels like to do research through conducting a small-scale study. The focus will be on research as a philosophical, moral, and ethical endeavour, requiring students to reflect critically on their positioning in their own context and area of interest.

    Curriculum and Pedagogy

    Curriculum and pedagogy form discursive mechanisms by which knowledge is selected and communicated through schooling and other educational institutions. This module interrogates these mechanisms by posing questions about what they are, how they are related, the selection of knowledge they communicate, the practices used for communication and the groups of people they benefit and disadvantage. Students will apply analytic frameworks to interrogate current curricula and pedagogical practices in their own professional settings and wider international contexts. The module asks: are ‘critical’ curricula and pedagogical developments possible in education as a field of practice in the context of globalisation and neoliberalism?

    Critical Issues in Contemporary Education

    This module will introduce students to a range of critical issues in contemporary education including the aims and purpose of education, social inequality, questions of class, race and gender as well as new technologies. In addition, we will examine a number of key theoretical and methodological frameworks including critical race theory, historical analysis and constructivism as ways to approach and think about these issues.

    Education Research: Theory and Practice

    This module will enable students to critically engage with interdisciplinary education research theory and practice; methods and methodologies. Students will have the opportunity to develop and apply knowledge and understanding of their own researcher positionality by conducting individual, paired and group research activities which they will present and reflect on in an assessed portfolio. The portfolio will include reflective accounts of processes of data collection and analysis, ethical consent and dissemination activity. Students will also be supported in drawing on these broader experiences in devising their own research proposal for progression to Part Two of the programme.

    Part 2

    In part two, following induction, students undertake their own independent research and this is facilitated through collaborative, collegial relationships, including both cohort and individual supervision.

    Students will be invited to become members of at least one Research Cluster or network in the School of Education and encouraged to take an active role in their related activities such as conferences, seminar series and readings groups, in order to develop expertise in their chosen field of study and raise or establish their own national and international research profiles.

    Study weekends

    The weekend study schools are held in Sheffield and are a rewarding feature of the programme. You'll have the chance to take part in lectures, workshops, seminars and group and individual tutorials. You will also benefit from networking opportunities with fellow students.

    Please see our University website for the most up-to-date course information: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/postgraduate/taught/courses


    Visit the EdD - The Sheffield EdD page on the University of Sheffield website for more details!



    All Available Videos:


    (Student Profile)

    Sapna Thapa, Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin-Stout

    I had always wanted to obtain a higher education degree, and early childhood was my passion; even before I completed my MA degree, I was certain that I wanted to continue with the EdD. Dr. Rachael Levy was an amazing mentor who guided my doctoral studies. Her continuous support helped to raise the standards of my assignment papers to a very high level. My doctoral thesis explored the elusiveness of equity and quality in Early Childhood Education policies, and compared polices of two diverse countries (Nepal and USA). The excellent support and encouragement I received from my thesis supervisor, Professor Elizabeth Wood, helped me overcome many constraints and barriers and led me to complete my thesis within four years, despite the devastation that followed after the massive earthquakes in my home country, Nepal.

    The thesis was recently selected as the “Rhedding-Jones Outstanding Dissertation 2016” by the Re-conceptualizing Early Childhood Education (RECE) organization. The award was presented during the RECE conference in New Zealand. The EdD degree has opened many doors and I am currently working as a full-time tenure track faculty member at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. I am grateful to have had such an amazing group of people as my mentors. They continue to inspire me to question the status quo, to reflect, and to be passionate about research and teaching.

    (Student Profile)

    Kathryn Hobbs, Head Teacher, David Nieper Academy, Derbyshire

    I embarked on the Education Doctorate with Sheffield University as I was very keen to pursue my professional and academic interest in curriculum studies. Whilst I looked at a number of possible institutions I had a colleague who had recently completed the Sheffield EdD and spoke very highly of the course and the support provided.

    From the date of application I have been very impressed with the individual contact and support provided by the tutors within the School of Education. The Educational Studies named route director contacted me to discuss my application, to explain the course and to explore my initial thoughts for my research. I felt very confident embarking on the course that it would be well planned, organised and delivered allowing me to concentrate on my full time job as well as my research. The structure of the two year taught component was an excellent foundation for my research and allowed me to develop doctoral level skills of literature review, analysis, synthesis and academic writing. Part Two (dissertation phase) allowed me to put into practice these skills whilst pursing my research into social justice issues surrounding the English Baccalaureate in English secondary schools.

    I cannot praise highly enough the tutor support provided throughout the whole course. My tutor was always available via email, phone or Skype but allowed me the freedom and space to find my own working style and pace to develop as a researcher. I was also encouraged to present my research at the EdD weekends and also at academic conferences, all of which enhanced my skills and confidence as both a researcher and a practitioner. My goals when embarking on the EdD were to contribute as a practitioner to the body of educational research, whilst ensuring that my school leadership decisions were informed by academic research. My career ambitions also continued, as at the point I was ready to submit my thesis I was also appointed to Headship of the David Nieper Academy, an 11-18 sponsored academy in Derbyshire. My participation in the EdD programme was commented on very favourably at my headship interview and allowed me to demonstrate ably my awareness and engagement in educational debate and research.

    I thoroughly enjoyed my time on the Sheffield University EdD and recommend this course to all school leaders wishing to develop their academic and research knowledge, understanding and practice alongside their practitioner role.

    (Student Profile)

    Melvyn Tatters

    I started on the Education Doctorate at Sheffield University because I was eager to follow my interest in professional development and teacher’ professional learning.

    As a headteacher and leader of learning being able to use my doctoral research to enhance my job role and develop my own knowledge was important for me. I chose the Sheffield EdD because of its established track record for offering high quality support to its students.

    Throughout my studies I have been impressed by the support, encouragement and level of supervision provided on the course. The structure of the EdD allowed me to explore different themes in education and develop my thinking and ideas for my research. It also gave me the essential skills needed to undertake my research, such as critical thinking, analysis and academic writing.

    The support I received from my tutors throughout my research journey was invaluable. It enabled me to build up the confidence and skills I needed to present my research to a variety of audiences including fellow students, colleagues and other educational leaders.

    I have absolutely enjoyed my experience on the University of Sheffield EdD programme and would recommend it to other leaders and colleagues who are wishing to deepen and extend their interests, knowledge and practice.

    (Student Profile)

    Jonty Clark

    I engaged in distance learning with the University of Sheffield School of Education from 1998 – 2004 where I completed an MEd in Special and Inclusive Education and an EdD. I’m glad I moved from one degree to the other without taking a break as I’m not sure I would have managed to get studying again if I’d taken a ‘gap year’ aged 38! The Masters degree was exceptionally challenging as my career then, as now, was working in special schools.

    I’d drive to Sheffield for a weekend every term and do battle (nearly literally) with a group of exceptional academics who kept telling me that all children should be educated in a mainstream setting irrespective of any additional needs they might have.

    Having to articulate and contextualise in spoken and written language my views on difference, disadvantage and education (whilst keeping calm) was a formative experience. I remember sitting in the bar one evening with Professor Wilfred Carr talking about his amazing book ‘Becoming Critical’ and thinking… ‘this is what’s happening to me’. In spite of our differing views on special education, the inclusive education team helped me develop a much broader and reflective view about the children and families I work with and the other stakeholders I engage with through my work.

    Derick Armstrong’s book, ‘Power and Partnership in Education’ and the sessions he taught around this publication has always informed the way I think about family engagement work carried out by the organisations I lead.

    Since studying at Sheffield I have led two inner London schools designated for pupils identified as having Social, Emotional and Mental Health Issues (SEMH) from being judged to be failing to securing Ofsted judgements of ‘Outstanding’.

    Six years ago I moved to work in Croydon and became Headteacher of a small, dispirited, failing SEMH school, the Beckmead Family of Schools is now the largest special school in the country. On May 5th this year I was invited to Buckingham Palace and was awarded an OBE for my ‘Services to Disabled Children and Children with Special Educational Needs’.

    For me the honour represented the amazing efforts and achievements of the wonderful children and exceptional colleagues I have worked with over the years.


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    Entry Requirements

    You should hold both a Bachelor’s degree (normally first or second class Honours or equivalent) and an appropriate Masters degree, or equivalent.

    You should also have a minimum of two years’ professional experience within a relevant field.

    English language requirements: Overall IELTS score of 7.0, with a minimum of 6.5 in each section.


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