Doctor of Education (EdD) in Bristol


Tailor-made for ambitious, mid-career education and training professionals whose work requires them to have a high level of research capability


Our Doctorate in Education (EdD) programme stimulates and transforms students' professional thinking and practice, whilst developing a deep understanding of real-life professional issues. The EdD carries the same status as a PhD, and is a careful balance of taught units and a research dissertation. Excellent doctoral-level research is the main aim of the programme and the taught units are key to supporting candidates in developing subject knowledge and research skills.

The EdD programme recruited its first students in Bristol in 1991, and was the first taught doctorate outside of North America. Following the success of this programme, the Hong Kong EdD was launched and is now offered in partnership with the School of Continuing and Professional Education at the City University of Hong Kong.

The Bristol EdD continues to take the lead in innovative and world-class research, teaching and learning.  Taught units are designed and taught by world class academics with excellent research records. The taught stage supports students by broadening their theoretical and methodological knowledge base in preparation for their own research. The programme’s success in recruiting and retaining high-achieving senior professionals with demanding jobs lies in the top quality of its teaching and in its fully developed support structures for participants. Our priority has been always to support candidates to complete the programme and succeed in their professions at the same time.

The EdD is structured to provide candidates with the support which enables them to achieve this success whilst retaining the flexibility required for mid-career professionals. Candidates study at their own pace with intensive two and a half day units; most units will be taken in Bristol, although students are also offered the opportunity to study some units at our partner institution, City University of Hong Kong. 



The Bristol EdD is Britain’s first taught doctorate, and offers the following benefits to students:

• Designed specifically to meet the development needs of mid-career professionals

• Study at your own pace - full or part-time - with our modular programme

• Intensive two and a half day units taught in Bristol, with the option to study in Hong Kong

• Teaching conducted by the distinguished faculty of the Bristol Graduate School of Education, who are experienced at teaching at doctoral level

• One-to-one support is offered to all students throughout the programme – you will have a dedicated Academic Adviser during the taught stage, before a Dissertation Supervisor is appointed to work with you during the thesis stage

• Group sizes of fewer than 20 students provide for constructive interaction with the teaching staff

• Structured to provide you with the support which enables you to succeed

• More than 29 countries on five continents are currently represented

The Doctorate in Education provides experienced professionals with an opportunity to pursue doctoral level studies via a programme which is relevant to their personal professional interests and needs. 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.



The award of Doctor of Education requires completing a programme of 540 credit points, accumulated as follows:

• Most students will have obtained a good Masters qualification and will therefore be eligible to import 100 credit points.

• Students are normally expected to obtain 140 credit points by successfully completing seven 20-credit units. (Students without a suitable Masters qualification will normally be required to complete a further four taught units.)

• Following successful completion of the taught stage, students proceed to the dissertation stage. The dissertation has a value of 300 credit points and is expected to be 45,000 words in length.

Taught Units

Each taught unit carries 20 credit points, unless otherwise specified in the tables below.  The dissertation carries 300 credit points (45,000 words).

You can find further information about each unit by clicking on the links in the table.

Each taught unit has four components:

  1. A preparatory package, provided approximately four weeks before tuition for the unit takes place
  2. Two and a half days intensive tuition with other participants (including individual tutorials with tutors)
  3. Formative feedback on a draft assignment
  4. Three months in which to write the 4,000 word assignment, related (where appropriate) to individual work concerns


All students must take EDUCD0011 Understanding Educational Research and EDUCD0090 Research Methods in Learning, Leadership & Policy

You will then choose two from the following three units:

EDUCD0094 Learning

EDUCD0093 Leading for Educational Change in Organisational Settings

EDUCM0068 Education Policy

You will then select two units from the list below:

EDUCD0092 Comparative Research

EDUCD0088 Leading, Managing and Governing the 21st Century University

EDUCD0102 Learning and Teaching in the Global University

EDUCD0091 Evaluating Educational Quality and Improvement in Organisational Settings

EDUCD0001 Second Language Pronunciation and Fluency

EDUCD0100 Language and Communications

EDUCD0064 Researching Language Classrooms

EDUCD0099 Testing and Assessment in Language Learning

EDUCD0096 Narrative Inquiry

EDUCD0071 Autoethnography

EDUCD0097 Writing as Inquiry

EDUCD0073 Narrative Interviewing

EDUCD0085 Collective Biography

EDUCD0101 Visual Inquiry


You may also opt to obtain credit via a Supervised Individual Study or from published work.

All EdD students are required to take EDUCD0089 Preparation for Dissertation. Students are normally expected to have completed at least five taught units before being permitted to register for this unit.

The Dissertation of 45,000 words is a major opportunity for you to apply what you have learned during the taught element of the degree. It involves carrying out a small-scale piece of research concerning education or learning which is normally related to the participant's professional practice. Work on the dissertation can officially commence normally once five units have been successfully completed.

Undertaking the dissertation for your EdD is an exciting and rewarding experience. By the time you start it, the taught units will have already helped you gain extensive understanding in a number of areas of professional relevance and a familiarity with the key concepts and debates within educational research. However, nothing heightens your awareness of the complexity of issues and deepens your understanding as much as pursuing your own piece of research.

You should bear in mind that in many respects the dissertation is the most important element of the EdD. It represents the culmination of your work on the taught units, combined with your own personal interests and commitments. It requires independence, organisation and dedication. At times when you are under pressure and things may not be going well, you will wonder whether it is worth it. It is. Completion and successful examination of your own piece of research is intensely satisfying. It indicates that you have, through your own study and commitment, finally attained doctoral status.


Non-taught Units

Students may also opt to replace up to 40 credits from the taught stage by completing a Supervised Individual Study  unit with a tutor, or by obtaining credit for published work. We encourage participants to publish articles and books from their written assignments and many have done so. It is possible to use these publications as the basis for assignments and enable participants to earn credits for suitable publications or pilot projects in preparation for the dissertation.  The maximum number of credits available from non-taught units is restricted to 40 credits.

Exit Qualifications

Participants who are unable to complete the full EdD programme may be awarded one of the following qualifications:

Exit Awards Credit points required for award
Postgraduate Certificate in Research and Professional Studies in Education 60
Postgraduate Diploma in Research and Professional Studies in Education 120
Master in Research and Professional Studies in Education 180

It is not possible to register directly for any of the exit awards listed above. Students register for the EdD programme in the first instance, and are offered these exit awards only in the event that they are unable to proceed further with the programme. If, after being awarded an exit qualification as listed above, a student successfully reapplies to the EdD programme, they will be required to surrender their exit award in favour of the higher qualification.



Full-time fees are payable for each academic year of study.  There will be an increase in fees at the start of each academic year for all fee structures.  Students who commenced the Doctor of Education prior to 2009-10 are subject to a different fee structure although the overall cost for comparison is the same.

Students who take the EdD on a part-time basis will be invoiced on a modular basis. The programme consists of seven taught units, plus the dissertation.

EdD 2013-14 Fee Structure

Full-time fee - home student


Full-time fee - international student


Modular fee for taught units - home student


Modular fee for dissertation unit - home student


Modular fee for taught units - international student


Modular fee for dissertation unit - international  student


Fees for the academic year 2014/15 will be set by the end of December 2013, and will be published here once confirmed.

Note: Continuing students can find their fee structure on the Blackboard site in the student information section.

The University of Bristol does not currently offer any funding or scholarships for study on the EdD programme. Fees & Funding offers guidance for prospective and current students, and may help you to locate alternative external sources of funding.


We ask former students to tell us about how their experience of the University of Bristol’s Graduate School of Education has made an impact on their lives, and how they have used their studies to make an impact on education in their schools, universities, workplaces and societies.

Find out what they said on our 100 stories site, produced to celebrate a century of education studies at the University.

100 Stories - Mauricio Nurcellas

100 Stories - Sughra Choudhry Khan

100 Stories - Christine Irvine-Niakaris




Applications for this programme should be submitted via the online application system, which you can find through the Postgraduate Prospectus.

The Doctorate in Education Postgraduate Prospectus entry outlines the entry requirements.

Additional Information for Applicants

Candidates are normally expected to hold a Masters degree in Education (at Merit level or above) or equivalent. You should also have at least three years’ relevant professional experience.

When applying, you must submit:

• Two recent academic references

• A transcript showing units undertaken, level of study and resulting marks from your Masters programme

• The certificate of completion for your Masters degree

You may also submit a research proposal if you wish; this is not compulsory.

If your first language is not English, you will also be required to provide official documentation confirming that they meet the entry requirements as set out in Profile E of the University's English anguage requirements.