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Postgraduate Course

Doctor of Education

Build essential knowledge and gain a prestigious doctoral qualification to escalate your career in Education and open up leadership opportunities.

A student teacher with a class

Research specific aspects of your professional practice while developing knowledge and skills to equip you for a leadership role. On this course you will draw on a range of theories to explore and research topics that will influence your professional practice within your immediate context and beyond. We will also introduce you to creative, participatory approaches to research design, analysis and presentation, which will be of real benefit to your workplace.

York campus

  • Duration – Part time 4 to 6 years
  • Start date – January 2025
  • School – School of Education, Language and Psychology

Minimum entry requirements

    2:1 honours degree in a related subject

    2 years relevant professional experience

Tuition fees

    UK 2024-25 £3,750 per year part time

    International 2024-25 £9,750 per year part time

Course overview

On this course you will investigate issues that relate to you as an education professional. There will be a focus on areas that shape the context in which you are conducting your research.

There is a strong emphasis in the first 2 years on developing your academic writing. You will also focus on critically engaging with key concepts in education and developing a research project. You can exit stage 1 with a Certificate, Diploma or full Masters in Educational Research, depending on how many modules you have passed. If you pass all the taught modules, you can progress to stage 2 by presenting your research proposal to the transfer panel. In stage 2 you will write your doctoral thesis. At this point there will be extended opportunities to share ideas and issues with fellow students and supervisors.

A special feature of this doctorate is that you will meet and study with professionals from a variety of backgrounds. This will give a unique flavour to the cross-disciplinary nature of your work, and will help you to see how your profession is both linked to others and also distinctive. You will see how broad theoretical ideas can be fruitfully applied to specific contexts, and how to apply concepts and ideas to the questions you would like to explore.

Course structure

How you will study

You will study this postgraduate course part time over 4 to 6 years. This allows you to fit your studies around other life commitments.

You will become part of a community of researchers, sharing you emerging thesis at our summer residential. This is an informal and supportive event, where you will receive formative feedback and develop in confidence.

he course is based on 540 doctoral credits, with 180 assigned to the stage 1 taught element which will take 2 years to complete.

At this stage you will study 4 compulsory modules.


Credits: 45

Compulsory module

On our Professional Doctorate courses we will support you to conduct and report on an original and substantive piece of research. This module will help you to begin this journey through a series of critical reflections on your professional practice.

Credits: 45

Compulsory module

On this module you will identify the links between a researchable professional issue and its context. This could include historical/temporal, geographic/spatial and policy/institutional contexts.

Credits: 45

Compulsory module

On this module you will engage with epistemological, theoretical, practical, and ethical decisions and dilemmas in education. You will consider these issues as you move from a researchable professional issue to a feasible and defensible research design.

Credits: 45

Compulsory module

The research output from Professional Doctorates should have a significant impact on professional practice, as well as making a contribution to academic research within th field. On this module we will support you to ensure that your research has this impact, and improves the way you understand your professional practice. By planning, designing and implementing a small scale pilot or intervention project, you will be able to assess and reflect upon the challenges of bringing about change.

Stage 2

The remaining time is dedicated to stage 2. Typically this will take a further 2 years, but you have up to 4 years to submit your thesis and attend viva, a focused discussion where you will defend your PhD thesis. 

This stage is dedicated to completing a research thesis of up to 50,000 words.

To be admitted to stage 2 you will need to pass all 4 modules in stage 1. You will also need to successfully pitch your thesis proposal at a transfer panel.

During this time you will keep in touch with us at the May teaching session and through one to ones with your supervisors.


Credits: 360

Compulsory module

Your doctoral thesis is an individual piece of original research, carried out under the supervision of an academic member of staff. Through this, you will demonstrate your ability to undertake a coherent line of research which would merit publication. Your written thesis can be up to 50,000 words, and you will also need to attend a viva to discuss your thesis.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and assessment

In stage 1 you will attend 2 residentials a year for 2 years. Each module will be taught through a mixture of face-to-face contact at the residentials and distance learning through a virtual learning environment. The residentials will include a total of around 30 hours contact time, split between formal teaching and informal meeting, including organised meals and social gatherings. The taught sessions will include lectures, seminars and open discussion.

Between residentials you will have access to tutors via email, telephone or online, as well as using the university Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).

Stage 2 will involve attending an annual residential in July, and a minimum of 6 supervision sessions that may be conducted face-to-face or online. 

Our teaching draws on both our research and professional experience. This means your learning is informed by the most current thinking in the subject area. You can find out more about our research and backgrounds by visiting our staff pages.

Assessment and feedback

Essays for your 4 taught modules in stage 1 are marked on a pass/fail basis. However, we do indicate the overall standard so that you can gauge the level of writing required for good doctoral work.

You will need to pass the 4 taught modules, each assessed by a 5,000 to 8,000 word written assignment. Each of these will need to be passed to enable you to progress to stage 2. Before stage 2, you can exit with either a Certificate, Diploma or Master's degree in Educational Research, depending on the number of taught modules you have passed.

The thesis will be held to the same standards as a PhD thesis and assessed in the same way.

Entry requirements


Minimum entry requirements

    2:1 honours degree in a related subject

    2 years relevant professional experience

Additional requirements

You must be currently working in a professional role that is relevant to the course. Admission to the course will be decided by an interview panel. You will not be guaranteed admission solely on the basis of your previous awards or professional experience.

For entry onto this course, you may also need a DBS check.

International students

If you are an international student you will need to show that your qualifications match our entry requirements.

Information about international qualifications and entry requirements can be found on our International pages.

If English is not your first language you will need to show that you have English Language competence at IELTS level 6.0 (with no skill below 5.5) or equivalent.

International entry requirements



You will need to attend an online interview for this course. Once you have applied, you will receive further information about your interview from our Admissions team.

Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL)

If you do not have traditional qualifications, you might be able to provide evidence of professional experience in the subject as an alternative way to meet the entry requirements. This is called Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL). Appropriate references and records of employment would need to be presented to support your case for admission. 

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. You can read them on our Admissions page.

Fees and funding

UK January 2025 entry

The tuition fee for January 2025 entry to this postgraduate course is:

  • £3,750 per year for part time study

These costs apply to all UK Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

Postgraduate loans are available to help you pay for your master’s course. Find out more about funding your postgraduate studies.

Funding opportunities

International January 2025 entry

The tuition fee for January 2025 entry to this postgraduate course is:

  • £9,750 per year for part time study

These costs apply to all students living outside the UK.

Due to immigration laws, if you are an international student on a student visa, you must study full time. For more information about visa requirements and short-term study visas, please visit the International Visa and Immigration pages.

Find out more about funding your postgraduate studies.

International Fees and Funding

Tuition fees

    UK 2024-25 £3,750 per year part time

    International 2024-25 £9,750 per year part time

Alumni Scholarships

If you are alumni of York St John University we have scholarships available to help you continue your studies.

Scholarships for alumni

Additional costs and financial support

Course-related costs

While studying for your degree, there may be additional costs related to your course. This may include purchasing personal equipment and stationery, books and optional field trips.

Accommodation and living costs

View our accommodation pages for detailed information on accommodation and living costs.

Career outcomes

Where could a Professional Doctorate in Education take you?

This degree could lead you to working in various related to Education. You may want to work directly in higher education, become a senior leader in schools or consider consultancy work.

Stand out from the crowd with postgraduate study

Far fewer people have postgraduate degrees than undergraduate qualifications. This gives you something extra to set yourself apart in a competitive graduate job market. Those with a postgraduate qualification will earn an average of £6,500 a year more than those with only an undergraduate degree. (Department For Education Graduate Labour Market Report 2022).

Our careers service, LaunchPad, provides career support tailored to your ambitions. Through this service you can access:

  • Employer events
  • LinkedIn, CV and cover letter sessions
  • Workshops on application writing and interview skills
  • Work experience and volunteering opportunities
  • Personalised career advice

This support does not end when you graduate. You can access our expert career advice for the rest of your life. We will help you gain the experience and confidence you need to succeed.

Apply for this course

Applicatiomns have closed for 2024 admission. We will open 2025 applications soon.

For postgraduate degrees you must apply directly to York St John University using the application link. This will take you to the application form you will need to fill out for this specific course.

To complete the online application form you will need to create login details.

Please contact 2 referees before submitting your application. An automated request for a reference will be emailed to them as soon as you submit. Your application will not be reviewed until both references are in place.

For guidance on your application, visit our Professional Doctorate application guidance page.

Fees and key information

Apply now

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