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Professional Doctorate in Education

Course Description

This course has been designed to provide those who work in the broad area of the public and human service professions an opportunity to study part-time for a doctorate in one of three fields of professional activity – education, law, or social sciences.

Within the context of research, students will be expected to develop their understanding of particular subjects pertinent to their own research projects as an integral element of the enquiry process rather than being taught particular subjects within the course. Students are expected to gain further knowledge of subjects pertinent to their research through guided reading and discussion.

What will I study?

Students will undertake the following modules comprising six stages of their research project for the award of a professional doctorate in their chosen field. There are no optional modules.

Module one: Introduction: Research questions, aims and initial review of the literature (20 credits at D level).
Module two: Identity and Epistemology: Towards an understanding of literatures and conceptual frameworks (100 credits at D level).
Module three: Designing and using mixed methods in research concerning one of the three areas of professional activity (education, law and social professions) (60 credits at D level).
Module four: Designing and using mixed methods to complement the research in the preceding module concerning one of the three areas of professional activity (education, law and social professions) (60 credits at D level).
Module five: Thesis: Critical Reflection and Reflexivity (120 credits at D level).

Students who successfully complete the first four modules and who wish to terminate their studies will normally be eligible for an MPhil award. The final module, comprising a thesis and critical reflections on reflexive changes in knowledge derived from the student’s own study will be examined by viva voce examination.

The professional doctorate in Education involves students in two formal elements of activity: workshops and supervision of their own research projects.


You will attend three to four two-day workshops, in Nottingham (Clifton campus and City site), in each of the first three years of your study. These are co-taught with the Legal Practice and Social Practice courses, and deal with topics that are generically relevant to research at doctorate level. Each workshop or group of workshops is linked to a specific stage in the project.

How will I be assessed?

Six formal documents that are presented as logical stages of the whole research project. Discussions concerning the development of research and group presentations with individual evaluation of the group.

We use diagnostic and formative feedback to support students in their ability to recognise strengths and weaknesses in their own research, and to negotiate targets for developing their study. All summative assessment is used to establish the level of achievement at the end of each module.

To obtain a doctorate in Education (Ed. D.) students must pass each stage of the course (360 credits at D level). The research is concluded with a viva voce examination based on their thesis and critical reflections and reflexivity regarding changes in knowledge and/or methodology and/or the self, mediated by the process of research.

To obtain an M.Phil. students must pass all four modules normally presented in the first two years of the course (240 credits at D level).

Teaching and learning

The Graduate School is committed to enhancing the quality of experience by providing a learning and teaching framework that supports independent and lifelong learners. Learning and Teaching approaches are diverse and continually monitored and developed to take account of new research, external reports and through staff development.

Visit the Professional Doctorate in Education page on the Nottingham Trent University website for more details!

Entry Requirements

A Masters level qualification awarded by an approved university in an appropriate subject, or equivalent; An alternative qualification or qualifications and / or evidence judged by the School as satisfactory indication of potential to conduct research at higher degree level. International applicants require IELTS 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in all elements.

Course Fees

Please see our website for the current course fees

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Recipient: Nottingham Trent University

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