Professional Doctorates: EdD Education - Generic pathway


Only available as a part-time study option

The generic EdD route brings together professionals and policy-makers from across sectors that have traditionally been, and mostly remain, separated.

These include:

  • early childhood education and care
  • schools and further education colleges
  • adult and community education
  • higher education
  • health professions education
  • law education
  • engineering education
  • business education 

It encourages the growth of a community of professional scholars with varied but complementary interests in exploring theories, policies and practices associated with education, training, teaching and learning at different stages in the life course, together with the complex, overlapping roles of professionals engaged in these processes.

The programme is divided into units of study called ‘modules’ which are assigned a number of ‘credits’. The credit rating of a module is proportional to the total workload, with 1 credit being nominally equivalent to 10 hours of work.

The programme carries a total of 540 credits and is completed in two ‘Phases’.

The EdD Generic programme is divided into two phases:

Phase 1 (pre-thesis)

Part 1 of the programme consists of six modules, delivered through a combination of lectures, personal study, and reflective discussion amongst peers. It is equivalent to 1 year of full-time study or 2 years of part-time study.

All students will complete the following shared core modules:

EEDD041 Educational Research: Theory and Practice-Part 1 30
EEDD042 Educational Research: Theory and Practice-Part 2 30
EEDD043 Perspectives on Professionalism 30
EEDD040 Research Networking 30

In addition shared core modules, you will also take the following 'special field' modules:

EEDD037 Learning Through Life: Personal, Political and Economic 30
EEDD038 Critical Perspectives in Education, Training and Development 30

In this phase you are guided through various readings and assessed assignments which allow for professional networking and collaborative learning, and which give you the opportunity to:

  • explore the theoretical, historical and policy contexts in which your professional work is set, as well as the ways in which these contexts impact upon current practices in your professional field
  • explore research methodologies that may inform your research in phase 2
  • reflect critically upon your own professional practice, before embarking on the research phase

Stage 2 (thesis)

This is the research phase of the degree. In this phase you will undertake properly informed and ethical research within educational settings (which may include your own workplace) and produce a doctoral dissertation.

EEDD039 Thesis for the Doctor of Education 360

The thesis of approximately 50,000 words is expected to demonstrate a deep knowledge of the research process at doctoral level, including ethical dimensions and the selection and defence of an appropriate methodological approach; and to make an original contribution to (professional) knowledge. Two supervisors are nominated for research supervision and a mentor is also allocated to each student.

The College of Social Sciences & International Studies has a dedicated Graduate Research School which is committed to supporting its vibrant postgraduate research student community. It helps to support both intellectual and social contact between graduates of different disciplines and from different backgrounds and countries.

Interim awards

You may exit the programme at the end of Phase 1, with a Masters in Practice-Based Educational Research, if you have gained 180 credits in Phase 1. If you exit with this award you may apply to re-enter the programme to complete Phase 2, provided your re-entry is within two years of exiting the programme and provided you have fulfilled the minimum requirements for entry to Phase 2. If you re-enter the programme, you must relinquish the exit award before graduating from Phase 2.

You are required to attend two intensive residentials at Exeter each year. 

  • 1 week in July
  • 1 weekend in March

During the research phase attendance at residential periods becomes optional but is still strongly advised as they allow for professional networking and collaborative learning through pre-arranged workshops and lectures that will assist you with your dissertation work.

Mark Leather is a senior lecturer in outdoor adventure education at University College Plymouth St Mark & St John.

I chose to study at Exeter because I did my undergraduate degree here, and since graduating I have become more aware of the prestige and high quality programmes that Exeter has available, especially within the Graduate School of Education. I also appreciate the aesthetic of St Lukes Campus.

As I am a full time lecturer, the Doctorate in Education seemed to be a perfect blend of research, theory and practice. It is definitely designed for the ‘researching professional’ and the assessments, reading, writing and final thesis were all directly related to my professional practice. The structure of the teaching over three residential weekends a year, and the community of practice that develops, has been fantastic — it provides for a wonderful network of support and professional contacts. The experience of the professors who came and talked and worked with us on those residential weekends was inspirational, engaging and hugely motivational.

The programme has directly informed my teaching and research at all levels and I would recommend it without hesitation. The community of students and staff that built up over my five years has been a tremendous support and motivational factor in completing my thesis and graduating. This is ideal for professionals working in education who wish to develop their understanding of education and their place within it.

Mark Leather is a senior lecturer in outdoor adventure education at University College Plymouth St Mark & St John.

Professional Doctorates: EdD pathways