Professional Doctorates: EdD Education

Part time 6-7 years
  • Education
LocationExeter (St Luke‘s)
Start date July or September


One of the first EdD programmes to be established in the UK and offering a range of pathways, the EdD at Exeter is offered by modular study and is specifically directed to professional development through research. The programme is of particular relevance to experienced practitioners in education from the UK, EU or overseas and the academic tutors recognise the particular needs, interests and policy contexts of students who are also professionals in their own right.

The EdD is a ‘Professional Doctorate’ which is equivalent in level to a PhD, but includes a modular phase as well as the thesis. It is particularly suited to professionals who aim to link research closely with their existing professional practice. The PhD is more suited to those planning to become professional researchers.

The taught element of the EdD programme introduces different understandings of, and approaches to, educational research, including distinctive methodologies and methods. You can explore, in depth, a particular field of study, together with its implications for your own professional practice.

The EdD will enable you to:

  • reflect on, and experiment with, new concepts and ideas, professional understandings of practice, and research skills - all within a safe but challenging environment amongst a supportive community of peers;
  • review and evaluate research, theory, policy and practice; examine and challenge your own professional practice and its relationship with theory and policy;
  • integrate recent and applicable theory with the latest developments in professional practice;
  • make strong links between your assignments/research thesis and professional practice and service needs;
  • design and carry out your own ethically-informed research;
  • network and share experiences with a worldwide community of professionals and policy-makers practising in a broad range of educational contexts and fields related to education;
  • increase your knowledge about other professionals and their organisations and thereby gain a wider perspective on the environment in which you work;
  • potentially enhance your opportunities for career progression.
I am studying at the University of Exeter as I wanted to be part of a diverse international research community. I have also benefited from the academic advice and guidance of my supervisors who have actively encouraged me and helped to tailor support to meet my needs.

Sharon, EdD Education .

Programme structure

The programme is divided into two ‘phases’. The first ‘pre-thesis phase’ (equivalent to 1 year of full-time study or 2 years of part-time study) offers specialist research-led modules which provide access to current thinking about key issues pertaining to research in your professional field and provide the opportunity to reflect on and experiment with new concepts and ideas, professional understandings of practice, and research skills within a challenging research environment amidst a supportive community of peers. This is followed by a ‘thesis phase’ (equivalent to 2 years of full-time study or 4 years of part-time study) in which you complete a thesis that makes a substantial contribution to knowledge and/or practice within a professional field.

The Doctor of Education programme offers specialisms in the following fields:

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’.

Phase 1 (pre-thesis) is normally equivalent to one full-time academic year (12 months) and has a credit rating of 180. This phase is divided into six 30-credit modules. Each module is assessed by means of written assignments (each equivalent to 6,000 words).

To progress to Phase 2 you are required, as a minimum, to complete four ‘core’ modules and two modules in any one of the ‘special fields.’

Phase 2 (thesis) is normally equivalent to two full-time academic years (24 months)and has a credit rating of 360 (the equivalent of 180 credits per year). This phase consists of a single module which entails the completion of a 50,000 word research thesis within the special field chosen in Phase 1.


The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.

Learning and teaching

In addition to the face-to-face lecture and seminar sessions, you’ll have regular tutorial support from academic staff in person and/or by telephone, email and internet protocols; and receive detailed written feedback on assignments.

At the thesis stage, you are allocated two supervisors and a mentor. The role of your mentor is to provide you with pastoral support (including providing advice in cases when difficulties arise between you and your supervisor); the mentor may be either a member of the College’s academic or support staff. Further details about the role of the mentor can be found in the University’s Code of Good Practice for Supervision of Post Graduate Research Students.

You will be assigned a mentor for the duration of your registration on the programme.


By opting to study for an EdD at Exeter, you are outlining your commitment to continuing professional development and personal growth. The programme aims to improve your confidence in your values and actions as a professional, and also raise your credibility in the workplace. It can also enhance your prospects of promotion.

Studying for an EdD should be seen as the next step in your career progression, by helping you to develop a critical approach to your work and increasing your ability to think and act more systematically. It carries the same status as a PhD and is designed for ambitious, mid-career education and training professionals whose work requires them to have a high level of research capability.

Research areas

Research in the School of Education is structured around six distinct but interdisciplinary research centres.

Broadly, these centres cover:

  • Special educational needs
  • Higher education
  • Science, mathematics and technology education
  • Language and literacy, including teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL)
  • Educational futures

We also nurture a number of smaller and less formal research networks, which augment and compliment our larger centres.

Further information

More comprehensive details is available about current research projects.

Details on individual staff research and publications can be found on the Education staff profiles pages.

Entry requirements

All applications are considered individually on merit. The University is committed to an equal opportunities policy with respect to gender, age, race, sexual orientation and/or disability when dealing with applications. It is also committed to widening access to higher education to students from a diverse range of backgrounds and experience.

All applicants for the degree of Doctor of Education should normally:

  • possess three years’ relevant professional experience
  • be holders of a postgraduate Master’s degree such as Master of Philosophy (MPhil), Master of Education, (MEd) or a cognate discipline (for information on the equivalence of international qualifications, please see the International Students website) or be able to prove that you have the research skills, vision and motivation to make your research project a success. 

Applicants whose first language is not English must, additionally, submit evidence that they have met the University’s requirements of proficiency in English.

If you already have doctoral-level credits or prior professional experience that can be accredited at doctoral level, you may be eligible for Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL), which allows you to be exempt from some modules. You may not begin the thesis phase, or submit a thesis for examination, unless you have the necessary credits required for entry to the thesis phase. The maximum number of credits you may APL is 180.

Please include the following with your application:

  • A brief (1000 word) research proposal stating your research interest. It is advisable to include a initial research plan, with reference to appropriate literature and methodology.
  • A brief personal statement explaining your reasons for undertaking the EdD and how it will link with your professional practice
  • At least one reference clarifying your suitability for undertaking doctoral study, eg from a tutor on your Masters degree course, or from a senior professional colleague if the Masters was completed some years ago

Requirements for international students

If you are an international student, please visit our international equivalency pages to enable you to see if your existing academic qualifications meet our entry requirements.

English language requirements

IELTS (Academic)

Overall score 7.0 with a minimum score of 6.5 in the writing component and all other sections no less than 6.0.


Overall score 100 with minimum scores of 25 for writing, 21 for listening, 22 for reading and 23 for speaking.

Pearson Test of English (Academic)

65 with no less than 58 in all communicative skills.

Other accepted tests

Information about other acceptable tests of linguistic ability can be found on our English language requirements page.

Pre-sessional English

Applicants with lower English language test scores may be able to take pre-sessional English at INTO University of Exeter prior to commencing their programme. See our English language requirements page for more information.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees per year 2020/21

Part-time only

  • UK/EU: £2,700 part-time
  • International: £8,500 part-time

Tuition fees per year 2019/20

Part-time only

  • UK/EU: £2,650 part-time
  • International: £8,300 part-time


Our Postgraduate Funding webpage provides links to further information. If you are considering a PhD in the future, in addition to University of Exeter funding, we have been successful at securing postgraduate funding for PhD research through our Funded centres.

Funding opportunities

Find out about current funding opportunities for our research programmes.

Fee information

Fees can normally be paid by two termly instalments and may be paid online. You will also be required to pay a tuition fee deposit to secure your offer of a place, unless you qualify for exemption. For further information about paying fees see our Student Fees pages.

UK government postgraduate loan scheme

Postgraduate loans of up to £10,609 are now available for Masters degrees. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply.

Global Excellence Scholarship

We are delighted to offer Global Excellence Scholarships for students of outstanding academic quality applying to postgraduate Taught programmes starting in autumn 2020.
Please note that this scholarship isn't offered for all our masters programmes.

Contact us

Please contact us if you would like more information about any of our programmes or activities, or if you would like to arrange to come and see us.

Postgraduate Research Admissions

Web: Enquire online

EdD Programme Director

Dr Phil Durrant

Postal address

Graduate School of Education 
University of Exeter 
Heavitree Road 
Exeter EX1 2LU 

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