Professional Doctorate Education

    About This Professional Doctorate

    Course Description

    Enhance your career in education with our Professional Doctorate.

    • Aimed at experienced professionals in all areas of education, with opportunities to learn from innovative local research projects.
    • Taught by teams of practitioners, scholars, and researchers who are experts in their fields.
    • Particular areas of expertise include teacher education, professionalism, leadership, social justice, and education policy.

    This six-year part-time Professional Doctorate in Education combines a three-year taught programme with a three-year piece of independent research and a thesis of 50,000 words. You'll have the opportunity to conduct an original piece of empirical research based on your own practice in an educational field of your choice, which will make a new contribution to knowledge.

    The course will offer you the opportunity to engage with the latest research in professionalism, early childhood studies, social justice and inequalities in education, education policy, leadership in education, pedagogies, and education philosophy. All of this will be underpinned by a rigorous study of research methods and theories in education.

    This course is aimed at professionals working in education or education-related fields. You'll be encouraged to think, write, and research critically, innovatively, and rigorously. You'll learn how to analyse, critique and innovate in education practice, policy and research. You'll be encouraged to challenge established ideas and concepts and develop your professional and academic skills to the highest level.

    Course structure

    The EdD is a part-time course in two parts. The first, taught element, will take three years to complete, the second, independent research element will take two to three years.

    The taught element contains six modules. Two modules will run per academic year, one per semester. This will also involve planning a piece of original research. You must pass the taught element of the course to move on to thesis stage.

    Once the taught part of the course is complete, you'll conduct an independent piece of empirical research which will make an original contribution to knowledge. This element will take two to three years. You'll work with two supervisors who'll guide your work, and you'll produce a 50,000 word thesis.

    Course modules

    This course includes or offers the following modules. Please check the programme document (below the main image on this page) for more details on which modules are core, required or optional.

    • Understanding educational research
    • Advanced educational research methods
    • Educational research proposal
    • Policy and professionalism in education
    • Leadership and pedagogy
    • Critical studies in early childhood
    • Education and society
    • Education and globalisation
    • Dissertation

    Attendance and timetables

    The programme is designed to be completed over six years.

    The taught element of the course will last three years. There will be one module taught each semester over two teaching blocks, which you'll need to attend. These will normally take place on a Friday and Saturday.

    In the independent research element of the course, you'll work with your supervisors to conduct a piece of research and write a thesis. You'll need to negotiate meetings with your supervisors, which will take place once every six to eight weeks.

    There are also research training events throughout the year which you'are welcome to attend to top up the taught element of your EdD course, such as specific sessions on writing for publication or research time-management, and research seminars and open lectures across the University.

    Once you enter the independent research element of your course, you'll be expected to present your work at a suitable academic conference.

    You’ll be subject to the same processes and quality check-points of enrolment, registration, annual monitoring, progression assessment, and viva (the oral examination for a doctorate) as all of the University’s doctoral students.

    Independent study time: 280 hours per semester.

    Individualised, subject-specific research training

    Each of the taught modules has an assignment equivalent to 5,000 words. You'll also be required to undertake an independent research study of 50,000 words on an approved topic. 


    Each module is assessed via formative exercises and tasks, to include class discussions and group presentations. There will also be a summative assessment in the form of an assignment (5,000 words) which critically discusses the module content.

    Part-time study and employment

    The EdD is a part-time programme and there are no restrictions on employment during the course. In fact, it is expected that students will also be senior professionals in education.

    However, you'll need to find ways to negotiate the balance between study and employment, as you're likely to run into difficulty if you don't give your research and study the time it requires.

    Visit the Professional Doctorate Education page on the Bath Spa University website for more details!

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    Entry Requirements

    Our Professional Doctorate in Education students come from a variety of academic backgrounds.

    We would usually expect applicants to hold a first or upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) from a recognised university, as well as an MA, MEd, or MPhil in a relevant field.

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