Profession Doctorates: EdD Education - Special Needs and Inclusive Education (SNIE) pathway


Only available as a part-time study option

The EdD Special Needs and Inclusive Education focuses on professional and theoretical knowledge and understanding in the area of special and inclusive education. You join a research community of professional and academic scholars and peers with varied but complementary interests in exploring theories, policies and practices associated with special and inclusive education at different stages in the life course and in different contexts. Past and current doctoral students include teachers, school leaders, university lecturers, speech and language therapists, other health professionals and medical educators.

Our international community of researchers has an excellent record of winning external funding, and our research centres provide structure and support, promoting collaboration and impact. The Centre for Special Educational Needs and Disability is interested in educational aspects (in widest sense) of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (in various senses of these terms).

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 programme recognises the particular needs, interests and policy contexts of students who are also professionals in their own right, and is flexibly organised to enable doctoral level study alongside existing work commitments.  It can be studied on a part-time basis.

The EdD SNIE 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:

EEDD046 Perspectives in Education Policy for Disability 30
EEDD047 Issues in Special and Inclusive Education 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.

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.

Queen Onalaja, EdD Special Needs and Inclusive Education

The modules within the programme have increased my knowledge and understanding of the many issues within my specialist field. Together with feedback from tutors, I have become more confident in applying the new skills that I am acquiring daily.

I am looking forward to the thesis stage, becoming a good researcher and effecting positive change through my work.

Queen Onalaja, EdD Special Needs and Inclusive Education

Professional Doctorates: EdD pathways