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Run by Faculty of Social Sciences and Law
Awards available PhD
Programme length Four years full-time;
seven years part-time
Part-time study available Yes
Open to international students Yes
Number of places Not fixed
Start date Most students will start in September 2016, however other dates can be considered. Please contact the Student Services Office to discuss the available options.

Programme overview

PhD work centres on research leading to a dissertation. With the support of academic supervisors to guide you, you undertake research training and carry out personal research on a topic of special interest.

We have an extensive portfolio of funded research projects and internationally recognised researchers. There are over 90 research students working in the Graduate School of Education. The atmosphere is exciting, diverse, creative and welcoming.

The ESRC South West Doctoral Training Centre

The Universities of Bristol, Exeter and Bath have created the South West Doctoral Training Centre (SWDTC) which draws together the established research excellence of more than 750 academic and research staff at the three institutions. A new online journal run by students across the SWDTC and an annual student-led conference are amongst the highlights.

The Graduate School of Education's MSc Educational Research programme is one of the research training pathways that make up the SWDTC. This programme is the basis for the extensive research training programme that all MPhil/PhD candidates undertake. We also offer the opportunity for taking units across the SWDTC.
Other support includes access to a dedicated library on site, flexible study spaces, large number of seminars often featuring national and international visitors, research student seminars, reading groups and access to specialist methodological support.

Fees for 2016/17

Full time fees


Part time fees


Fees quoted are provisional, per annum and subject to annual increase.

Funding for 2016/17

The Faculty of Social Sciences and Law has an allocation of 1+3 and +3 ESRC scholarships. Applicants may also be interested in applying for funding from the University of Bristol Scholarships and Alumni PhD Scholarships. 

Further information on funding for prospective UK, EU and international postgraduate students.

Entry requirements

An upper-second-class honours degree (or equivalent) and normally a merit at MSc/MA level (or equivalent).

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

Application method Online application form
English language requirements Profile E
Further information about English language requirements
Admissions statement Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.

Research groups

The overarching mission of the Graduate School Of Education is to develop learning and leadership for a changing world through research and teaching that promotes achievement, opportunity and social justice. The aim is to build the intellectual and practical leadership amongst policy makers, practitioners, students and the wider research community that is urgently required to enable education to adapt and thrive in a time of rapid local and global change.

Research in the school is concentrated into five main areas of inquiry and expertise within these leading edge research centres:

  • Centre for Assessment and Evaluation Research in Education (CAERe)
  • Centre for Globalisation, Education and Social Futures (GESF)
  • Centre for Comparative International Research in Education (CIRE)
  • Centre for Researching Education Across Boundaries in theory and practice (CREAB)
  • Centre for Multilevel Modelling (CMM)

Please see for further details

As a doctoral student you will join one of the research centres associated with these key areas of GSOE research and work with staff and other doctoral students who have similar research interests.


We aim to offer our students the academic and personal development opportunities that will equip them to respond to the intellectual, social and personal challenges that they will encounter throughout their lives and careers.

Our overarching goal is to enable our graduates to display the following characteristics:

  • Equipped to demonstrate impact, research excellence and distinctiveness in their chosen field
  • Visionary, imaginative, innovative, reflective and creative
  • High ideals and values, including a strong sense of social justice
  • Highly employable, world wide
  • Adaptable with the potential to be leaders in work and in the community

Read more about the journeys of some of our graduates.

How to apply
Application deadline:

Not fixed but early application is advised. The deadline for funded applications will be mid-February 2016 (ESRC and UoB funding application deadline to be confirmed).

International students

Find out more about becoming a student at Bristol, and the support we offer to international students.

I chose Bristol because of its outstanding academic reputation. It's reassuring to be taught by people who truly love their subject - their passion becomes contagious.


REF 2014 results

  • 25% of research is world-leading (4 star)
  • 35% of research is internationally excellent (3 star)
  • 30% of research is recognised internationally (2 star)
  • 10% of research is recognised nationally (1 star)

Results are from the most recent UK-wide assessment of research quality, conducted by HEFCE. More about REF 2014 results.

Bristol Doctoral College

The Bristol Doctoral College facilitates and supports doctoral training and researcher development across the University.

Get in touch

Student Services Office Phone: +44 (0) 117 331 4417 Email:

Graduate School of Education
University of Bristol
35 Berkeley Square


Important disclaimer information about our programmes.

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