Postgraduate study
Education, Early Childhood & Youth

Doctorate Education

The Doctorate in Education offers you the opportunity to combine advanced academic study with professional experience in a manner decided largely by you, with the support of a Director of Studies and the programme team.

Course information


  • 3-4 years

More full-time details


  • 4-6 years

More part-time details

  • Tuesday evenings and additional negotiated tutorials with Director of Studies
  • Enrolment date: September
  • Admission enquiries: 01642 384491

Contact details

  • Facilities

    Education, Early Childhood & Youth facilities

    The facilities available to Education, Early Childhood and Youth students at Teesside University are ideal preparation for a career in educational. Students have access to many of the kind of resources that you would expect to find in an educational setting.


The programme provides you with the chance to consider the foundations of your conception of research in the experience of educational practice and your stance as an educator-researcher before embarking on your thesis.

Initial modules focus on the philosophical and conceptual underpinnings of practice and research. You are encouraged to develop your reflexivity, positioning yourself as a critically informed practitioner within a field understood as inevitably problematic but open to exploration and possible change through research.

Whilst some educational doctorate provision provides a programme of modules covering aspects of sociology, psychology, education, research methods and health studies, this programme focuses on a core of reflection on the combination of research and educational praxis, remaining flexible in its assessment strategy so as to enable you to focus on your own area of interest. It will position you as a creative agent able to use academic study and practice to inform each other and synthesise the two to develop responses to challenges and opportunities in practice.

The structure of the programme is partly shared with our MA Education and you can progress on to the Doctorate of Education with the successful completion of 90 M-level credits.

You are expected to study modules on the social and political context of curricula and pedagogy, working in educational communities and inclusion, as well as two research modules, one on secondary and one on primary research to prepare you for the research thesis, an advanced independent study of approximately 48,000 words.

Studying part-time, the thesis is expected to take a minimum of two years. The order of these modules will vary according to the enrolment date although the primary research methods module is completed last so as to provide a coherent transition to the thesis.


Core modules

Advanced Independent Study

This module involves the completion of a doctoral level thesis through a self-initiated research project that significantly contributes to the development of new knowledge within the context of education.

This research project will be based on a proposal and literature review developed in previous modules on the programme, subject to these being agreed by the progression panel including the supervisory team and external examiner.

Assessment will be via two stages: a submission and preliminary assessment of a thesis of, normally, a word length of around 55,000 words and a viva where the you are expected to defend the thesis by oral examination. You are required to successfully complete this in order to be eligible for the Doctorate in Education.

Communities of Practice: Educational Perspectives

This module seeks to cover three main themes: the key principles of communities of practice theory; key critiques of the theory; and critical applications of the theory in order to investigate and account for diverse educational practices and contexts.

Assessment consists of a 1,000 word abstract for an academic paper and a 5,000 word academic paper, centring on a community of practice – informed analysis of an educational setting/context/practice of your choice.

Curriculum, Pedagogy and Politics

This module explores social theory to demonstrate an understanding of how educational practice is situated and structured by wider social differences and divisions.

Informed by critical theory and up-to-date research you demonstrate an understanding of the impact of wider national and international policy and social changes on education provision and the possible pedagogical responses available.

Assessment is via a peer-assessed student seminar and a 5,000 word reflective report.

Educational Research: Practice and Planning

This module equips you with the knowledge and skills you require to undertake systematic primary research in the field of education as part of your Advanced Independent Study module.
To this end the module explores and questions the uses and applications of research methodologies, data collection methods, data analysis methods and issues of ‘good practice’ including reliability, validity and ethics.

There will be 32 hours of tutor support available through workshops, project supervision etc. but the module will emphasise your autonomy in determining, in a reflexive manner, appropriate decision making and independent learning.

Educational Research: Theory, Methodology and Practice

This module aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of research traditions and approaches in education.

You explore research paradigms and philosophical assumptions pervading different approaches to undertaking educational research. There is also a focus on research methodologies, data collection methods, data analysis methods and issues of ‘good practice’ including reliability, validity and ethics.

Tutor support is available but the module emphasises the autonomy of the student in appropriate decision making and challenges your capacities for independent learning.

There is an in-course assessment of a 3,000-word research proposal, and a 3,000-word critical reflection at the end of the course on the development and design of research instruments to be used in completing the proposed research.


In this module you engage with key debates in inclusion, both national and international, and critically evaluate your personal practice, and that of your organisation.

You examine contemporary media representations of inclusion and lead a seminar, based on an artefact, in your chosen area of inclusion in order to critique dominant discourses around inclusive practice embodied in the artefact.

Assessment is by a 5,500-word report that examines current debates and thinking within a chosen area of inclusion.

Synthesising Educational Research and Theory

This module is designed to equip you with the knowledge and understanding necessary to develop a literature review for level 8 studies.

You carry out a negotiated secondary research project in order to create the conceptual framework for your future thesis. You conduct an enquiry into relevant theory and contemporary research and relate both of these to your own or your organisation’s practice and the main focus of your study.

Assessment is a 6,000-word report detailing the major theorists and research that will inform your thesis.


Modules offered may vary.

How you learn

This programme places the student as a researcher-practitioner at the centre of their own learning process. Student's research based learning and their identity as an academic-professional educator is the focus of a journey facilitated by a consistent lead tutor/Director of Studies, from the onset of the programme.

This takes place alongside a cohort based approach to ensure the peer learning and support that is highly valued by students undertaking professional doctorates and which is enhanced further by the shared delivery with the MA programme.

How you are assessed

The initial modules all provide 60 D level credits and focus on the practice of researching education practice and theory in a creative and critical way. Each requires a 6,000 word essay and is based around:
• successful creation and interpretation of new knowledge through original research and advanced scholarship;
• the ability to continue to undertake pure and/or applied research and development at an advanced level.

All the modules enable you to engage with issues of importance to educational practice and research in a manner that gives you responsibility for the focus of study and assessment, as is appropriate at this advanced level of study.

Module assessment strategies make use of your choice of study area to ensure that the subject of assessment is relevant to your own and/or your institution’s professional practice. This ensures an appropriate combination of academic study and professional focus as well as the understanding of a substantial body of knowledge at the forefront of educational theory and practice.

The programme culminates in production of a thesis of around 55,000 words assessed by a viva voce.

Career opportunities

The programme is designed to enable you to consolidate and build upon previous learning and experience in your working role. It is a key to new opportunities in education, whichever setting or sector you currently operate within.

It is intended to create close links between the programme activities and content in relation to on-going professional practice. You are likely to have already undergone considerable training and professional development but it is expected that this qualification will enhance your development even further.

Entry requirements

You are expected to be engaged as a professional in education and as such the preferred route for study is part-time. However, if you can make a compelling case for your likely success at completing the programme in a shorter, more intensive fashion, and are engaged in full-time employment then you may be considered for full-time study.

The programme equates to 540 credits, of which up to 60 may be M Level credits. To be accepted onto the programme you will normally have achieved a relevant and appropriate Master's level qualification within the last 5 years and have at least 2 years professional experience in a relevant field. If you have yet to achieve this amount of M level credits then you could complete the required amount by studying two modules on our Master's in Education programme.

If you have completed 60 credits in a relevant and appropriate level 7 programme of study within the last 5 years, for example, you have achieved a Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate in an education or research methods based programme, or have been awarded 60 credits on the Teesside University Master's in Education, you have advanced standing of 60 M level credits towards the EdD. In some circumstances you may be accepted with other experience or qualifications or involvement in educational research activity.

All applications will be subject to interview, which will normally involve two members of the programme team and take place at Teesside University, (although this can be arranged to take place via Skype if necessary), and the furnishing of two suitable references concerning the candidate's academic attainment and fitness for research in the area of education.

The interview will be informal but applicants will be expected to give considered answers to questions concerning their:
• past educational experience
• views on the relationship of research to practice
• potential ideas for original research
• reflections on their own ontological and epistemological stance

The team will reach a decision on the application based on a judgement as to our ability to satisfactorily support the area of study or approach to research you seek to pursue.

For additional information please see the entry requirements in our admissions section

International applicants can find out what qualifications they need by visiting Your Country

Course information


  • 3-4 years

More full-time details


  • 4-6 years

More part-time details

  • Tuesday evenings and additional negotiated tutorials with Director of Studies
  • Enrolment date: September
  • Admission enquiries: 01642 384491

Contact details

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