Professional Doctorate in Education - EdD

Part Time
September 2016

The Doctorate in Education (EdD) programme is a professional doctorate which enables you to develop your skills, knowledge and understanding through a wide-ranging interdisciplinary programme of research into your professional practice.

Through this programme of research it is anticipated that you will improve your practice and make a significant contribution to your continuing professional development.

The programme provides you with a grounding in the essential skills that are required to articulate and interrogate the key issues relating to education policy, the changing role of social institutions, aspects of pedagogy and the implications for multiple and fluid professional identities on everyday education practice in a context of global interconnectedness and interdependence.

The programme aims to enable you to:

  • Explore the relationship between knowledge, theory and practice and to demonstrate your understanding of how it is possible to make and influence change
  • Develop creative and innovative approaches for integrating academic and professional knowledge
  • Design and implement research which draws upon your appreciation of knowledge that occurs in professional settings
  • Develop intuitive judgement, foresight and ability to conceptualise problems that typically impact on organisations
  • Develop appropriate solutions to problems by applying theoretical concepts and a range of research skills and approaches
  • Acquire skills that will enable you to communicate academic principles and concepts effectively to professional colleagues and the scholarly community

What's covered in the course?

  • This intensive course offers intensive, small group teaching. You’ll enjoy a range of teaching and learning approaches led by research active academics who are writing and publishing in a range of related areas.
  • This course encourages innovative and creative approaches to educational research and draws on a wider pool of experts from across the
  • University to support work in visual methods and new media.
  • The course is tailored to the needs of busy practitioners and will enable you to embed your research in your everyday practice.
Visit our open day

Postgraduate Open Day

Our next Postgraduate Open Day will be in Autumn 2016. The date will be confirmed soon and registration will open shortly.

In the meantime, register your details and we'll contact you when more information is available.

Sign up for Open Day info

This course is open to International students

School of Education

Discover the School of Education

We are the top university providing education training in the West Midlands, and 25th in the UK. (Guardian University Guide 2016)

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

Visit the School website

New £10,000 postgraduate loans

You may be able to take advantage of the government’s plans to make loans of up to £10,000 available for postgraduate study.

More about postgraduate loans

Entry Requirements

UK students

Professional doctorates are designed for mid-career and senior professionals who have previous higher level study, and significant professional experience.

The emphasis is on developing links between theory and professional practise through a process of reflective and reflexive learning.

Professional doctorates are not essentially professional qualifications; rather they provide evidence of advanced study in a relevant area.

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
EdD Sep 2016 PT 4-6 years TBC Apply online now

International Students

Sorry, this course is not available to international students.

The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

Additional costs

We offer a wide range of professionally accredited and vocational courses that require the purchase of, among other things, uniforms, equipment, subscriptions, professional body memberships and DBS checks, and may require you to pay to attend conferences or participate in placements.

The link below provides our estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on specific courses. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs to you could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course. We set out where we can, based on experience, where these indicative costs are for activities that are optional or compulsory.

All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Find additional costs for your course

How to apply

To apply, please download and complete our application form.

Download application form

Your personal statement

Your personal statement is a highly important part of your application. It gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.

School or college experience

Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.

Non-accredited skills or achievement

eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.

You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

This course is available part-time

Got any questions?

Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible postgraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.


Module 1: PG Cert Module 1 – Research Design
Module 2: PG Cert Module 2 – Literature Review
Module 3: Critical Perspectives 1

This module will enable participants to develop a critical understanding of the contexts within which professional practice is situated and to relate them to a critical examination of the contexts of, and the implications for, their own professional practice.

The course content is organised around four inter-related themes:

  • Policy
  • Institutions
  • Learning
  • Professional identities

The four themes are explored within two over-arching frameworks:

  • Processes of change
  • Theories and evidence
Module 4: Critical Perspectives 2

This module aims to introduce students to an array of new techniques and emerging philosophies available for critical analysis of practice and interrogation of existing theoretical concepts that underpin them.

The module is grounded in theoretical and epistemological foundations of educational research. There are two key elements, related to i) national and international debates on the nature of inquiry, values and positions of researchers; and ii) diverse underpinning epistemologies, theories and methodologies.

i) This element concerns the nature of educational research as a diverse and evolving multi-disciplinary field of endeavour. It addresses questions of ontology, epistemology and theory, as well as concerns about the usefulness and relevance of educational research. This leads to consideration of national and international debates about the nature of evidence and evidence-based practice and tensions that relate to paradigmatic divisions. Questions are raised about the identities of researchers, their moral judgements and values, as well as those of their sponsors. Hence, issues of ethics and politics are introduced and ways forward are considered.

ii) This element considers positivist and interpretive world views that are linked to quantitative and qualitative research (empiricism, post-positivism, critical realism, critical theory, postmodernism and social constructivism). Ways of bridging these world views are debated and the potential impact of digital research on educational inquiry is considered.

Module 5: Pilot Study

This module will enable participants to practise the skills of advanced academic enquiry by

  • Justifying the selection of an area worthy of study in a relevant area
  • Appling their knowledge of the methodological, epistemological and ontological perspectives found in educational research
  • Distinguishing between and critically evaluating different research paradigms and the methods and techniques associated with them and positioning their work within these debates
  • Taking and justifying an ethical stance on the research process
  • Disseminating the outcomes of research to a range of audiences

You will also be required to complete a Doctoral Thesis.

Course structure

You will be introduced to an array of new techniques and emerging philosophies that are available to develop your ability to critically analyse practice and the relevance of theoretical concepts which underpin them. Furthermore you will investigate the relevance of digital technologies as a means to deepen your understanding of the mobility of people, ideas, networks and meanings derived from multiple geographical and historical origins.

A major outcome will be that you will enhance your own professional skills and be in a position to influence others in the development of your organisation. At the same time and notwithstanding national policy requirements and professional practices, you will recognise a global reconfiguring of social relationships largely disconnected from national origins.

Central to this will be the need to engage in reflective and reflexive practice in order to understand the potential consequences of actions and plan for professional change in the context of the global circulation of educational ideologies, discourses and practices.

The framework of the programme incorporates components intended to develop research skills and a willingness to adopt an approach which is explicitly enquiring and involves the critique of existing practice and encourages challenges to established theory. Assessment strategies will provide you with opportunities to develop and demonstrate a range of doctoral level skills including multi-model approaches (visual and verbal) in addition to the more traditional forms of critical writing.

You will be awarded a professional doctorate on successful demonstration of the following:

  • the creation and interpretation of new knowledge and contribution to professional practice through scholarly research of a quality to satisfy peer review, extend the forefront of the subject and merit publication;
  • significant development in key aspects of professional practice;
  • a systematic acquisition and understanding of a substantial body of knowledge which is at the forefront of an area of professional practice;
  • the general ability to conceptualise, design and develop a project for the generation of new professional knowledge, and to modify and influence practice in the light of contextual considerations, as appropriate;
  • a detailed understanding of applicable techniques for both research and advanced academic enquiry.

The EdD programme is undertaken in three phases.

Phase 1 - you will undertake the University’s Postgraduate Certificate in Research Practice alongside your PhD peers and the first of two Critical Perspectives modules through which you are introduced to key concepts in educational research and the policy and political contexts of educational practice.

Phase 2 - the second Critical Perspectives module is taken alongside a pilot research study. In this second phase you will extend your experience of research methodologies and engage with a range of contemporary and experimental approaches and undertake a pilot project in an area of their choice.

Throughout the first two phases you will use an e-portfolio to engage reflexively with the experience of doctoral level study. You will be provided with guidance on the content and use of the resource and then you will develop their e-portfolio independently. This will be treated as ‘auto-ethnographic data’ about the experience of engaging in the research journey and will be interrogated in the Critical Perspectives Modules and feed in to the final thesis. You will be encouraged to be creative about the content of the portfolio, which is not prescriptive.

Phase 3 - you will complete a 40,000 word thesis in an area of your choice.

Assessment methods

Assessment strategies will provide students with opportunities to develop and demonstrate a range of doctoral level skills including multi-model approaches (visual and textual) in addition to the more traditional forms of critical writing and preparing work for publication.

Student stories Charlotte Jones

I am studying as a PhD student at the School of Education. I am conducting doctoral research focusing upon the policy-to-practice context of male professionals in early childhood education and care within England. My specific research interests are early childhood education and care, education policy and also gender (within and beyond early childhood) so this PhD is very relevant.

Employment opportunities

Typically, holders of the qualification will be able to:

  • make informed judgements on complex issues in specialist fields, often in the absence of complete data, and be able to communicate their ideas and conclusions clearly and effectively to specialist and non-specialist audiences;
  • continue to undertake theoretical and/or applied research and development at an advanced level, contributing substantially to the development of new techniques, ideas, or approaches;

and will have:

  • the qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring the exercise of personal responsibility and largely autonomous initiative in complex and unpredictable situations, in professional or equivalent environments.


OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.


Participants are likely to already be in full-time professional employment; however, most participants expect some career enhancement as a result of their work. The generic learning outcomes include a range of transferable skills pertinent to career advancement including linking theory to practice, problem solving and decision making.

International Students

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.


BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Our Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities.

The School of Education boasts some of the best teaching and learning facilities in the country. As part of your training you will have access to our specially developed replica classrooms with interactive whiteboards, enabling you to experience the classroom environment.

Science education facilities

Our laboratory and Science Education Learning Room have been newly built for the start of the 2015/16 academic year. The Science Education Lab will enable trainees to encounter and explore the latest Science Education pedagogies, and together with the Science Learning Room will facilitate trainees’ transition from “subject expert” to “expert subject teacher”. Trainees will work in a fully hands-on way with the core science education materials to develop excellent subject and pedagogic knowledge - the twin attributes of the outstanding teacher.


City North is a big, bustling campus, three miles north of Birmingham city centre. It's easy to get to and offers on-site parking. Located 5 minutes from Perry Barr train station, City North Campus is also ideally positioned along major bus routes.

The School of Education will be moving to City South Campus in Edgbaston by September 2017.

Virtual School

One of the most exciting innovations in recent years for our trainee teachers and students is our virtual school. You can encounter a range of real-life situations within a simulated environment, that teachers are often confronted with.

Visit our Virtual School


All our departmental facilities replicate the school learning environment.

  • Art and Design
  • Design and Technology
  • History
  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Religious Education
  • Music
  • Drama

IT Support

Each student has a personal computer user name and server space Specific software for use by teachers and for use in classrooms.

Other items available include:

  • Training and training notes
  • Students can borrow cameras, LCD projector
  • Specialist technician support
  • Dedicated research base for postgraduate research students

Art and Design Department

There are fully equipped art studios suitable for 3D construction, printmaking, drawing and mixed-media. For textile and ceramics specialists, there are sewing machines and facilities for batik work and a large kiln for firing ceramics. The department has an ICT Suite for digital media that includes both Mac and PC computers. There is also access to a bank of Apple iPads for on and off-site digital working including the use of social media.

Design and Technology Department

The department has access to specialist facilities, including a dedicated teaching suite for food and textiles. The textiles area has 10 sewing machines, an overlocker, CAD/CAM embroidery machines, dye sublimation equipment, a felting machine and an electronic microscope that links to the interactive whiteboard. It is also well resourced with surface decoration and construction equipment.

The food area has five electric cookers, combination microwave/ovens, an extensive range of industrial and domestic equipment, eg industrial ice cream makers and electric pasta makers, bench top printer and a CAD/CAM icing printer. The specialist tutor is a Speed Step and basic food hygiene trainer.

There is a specialist room for design and technology teaching and independent work, as well as a well-stocked reference library that contains a wide range of resources that are relevant for undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Other features include a recycling materials area, specialist work benches and a bank of computers linked directly to CAD/CAM equipment.

History Department

There are plenty of replica artefacts in the department and other superb facilities, including a huge library of dedicated subject books and an interactive whiteboard. We also inspire our trainee teachers to bring history to life by offering them opportunities to travel to historic sites.

English Department

The School of Education has two dedicated English teaching rooms that contain a substantial children's collection of works including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, picture books and multicultural text. There is also a selection of phonics teaching materials, puppets and story bags that are used in teaching sessions.

You can explore the links between ICT and literacy through the department's Digital Blue cameras and electronic photo albums.

Mathematics Department

There are two dedicated teaching rooms for mathematics. The rooms make use of Promethean and Smart interactive white boards. Both rooms contain a library of recent and relevant publications as well as a wide range of resources for use while on teaching practice.

Trainees are supplied with the use of a laptop for the duration of the course. The laptops come with Autograph and Geometers Sketchpad software. There are a class set of iPads available for the teaching sessions.

Religious Education Department

This teaching room attempts to bring sacredness in its vicinities and a visitor will find precious collections of artefacts and devotional utilities, audio-visual resources, books, sacred texts and children's books from a range of religious traditions to support learning and teaching.

Early Years Department

As well as enjoying very strong links with local schools and specialist nurseries, we have a specialist teaching room that has a range of story sacks and puppets, an extensive selection of planning resources, copies of key texts, and toys and equipment that are relevant for foundation stage.

Music Department

The music department has two dedicated classrooms and seven practice rooms, five of which contain dedicated computer-based recording/sequencing equipment. There is also a fully equipped sound recording studio and Apple Mac computers for sound manipulation.

Drama Department

There is a fully equipped drama studio with stage lighting.

Meet our staff

UK prospective students:

UK enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5595

EU / International prospective students:

International enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5389

Already applied?

Email the applications team

+44 (0)121 331 6295