Professional Doctorate in Education - EdD

Part Time
September 2019
In order to get you to the correct application form, we need to ask you a couple of questions:

Are you interested in conducting a wide-ranging interdisciplinary programme of research into your own professional practice? Then our professional doctorate in Education, the EdD, is the course for you.

What's covered in the course?

You’ll get a grounding in the essential skills 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.

Through this programme of research you’ll improve your practice and make a significant contribution to your continuing professional development. We know you’re busy practitioners, so the course is tailored to that and will enable you to embed your research in your everyday practice.

You’ll explore the relationship between knowledge, theory and practice and to demonstrate your understanding of how it is possible to make and influence change. To do this we’ll help you develop creative and innovative approaches for integrating academic and professional knowledge as well as design and implement research which draws upon your appreciation of knowledge that occurs in professional settings.

This intensive course offers a range of teaching and learning approaches in small groups, led by 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.

On completion of the course, our aim is that you have developed intuitive judgement, foresight and ability to conceptualise problems that typically impact on organisations, are able to develop appropriate solutions to problems by applying theoretical concepts, and a range of research skills and approaches that you’re able to employ. You’ll also have skills to communicate academic principles and concepts effectively to professional colleagues and the scholarly community.

This course is not open to International students

Teaching Excellence Excellence Framework

Birmingham City University has been awarded silver status for its quality of teaching in the Government’s Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).

What is a PhD?

PhD degrees are research programmes. They allow you to learn as you work through the issues associated with solving a particular problem. Each research degree student is supported by a team of supervisors appointed for the particular study. In all years of study, students will be required to present their work in meetings of fellow students and staff conducting parallel research.

Graduate Research and Teaching Assistant (GRTA) Opportunities

GRTA opportunities at Birmingham City University provide you with an opportunity to study for a PhD whilst gaining experience as an assistant lecturer on a funded four year programme.

Below are the current GRTA projects open to application for a September 2019 start. The closing date for applications is 23.59 on Wednesday 1st May 2019.

This is an exciting opportunity to undertake research in an emerging and under-researched and interdisciplinary area of special educational needs and disability in the School of Education and Social Work.

Project Title: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: professional practices, family experiences and social contexts (REF: GRTAFASD)

Contact: Dr Carolyn Blackburn 

Download this document to see the full project details

Who will teach me?

Our experienced academics, many of whom are engaged in internationally recognised research, will provide you with supervision as you pursue the award of a PhD degree.

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
EdD Sep 2019 PT 4 years

International Students

Sorry, this course is not available to international students.

If you’re unable to use our online application form for any reason, please email for 2019/20 will be published as soon as possible. The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

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.

Applications for this course close on Wednesday 17 April 2019.

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

Accommodation and living costs

The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.

The additional costs listed here are to be used for indicative purposes only and are based on the additional costs for the 2018/19 academic year. The additional costs for 2019/20 will be published as soon as possible.

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.


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
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.

Pilot Enquiry

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.

PG Certificate in Research Practice

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 first two Critical Perspectives modules through which you are introduced to key concepts in educational research methodology within the policy and political contexts of educational practice.

Phase 2 - in the 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 your choice. In phase 2 you will also undertake the university-wide PG Certificate in Research Practice which provides the opportunity to discuss and write a research proposal for the EdD thesis.

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

After you've completed this course, you 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 your ideas and conclusions clearly and effectively to specialist and non-specialist audiences.

You'll also 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.

The course will also give you 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.

Our Facilities

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

As part of these plans, the University's Education provision will join the rest of the Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences at our City South Campus in Edgbaston during 2018.

This is the third phase of the University's project to move all teaching and learning to two campuses, City Centre and City South. By moving our Education provision, we are creating a hub for the provision of public service contracts and professional development at City South Campus and improving the student experience with a stronger sense of community and more consistent support services and facilities.


In addition to classrooms, a lecture theatre, social learning spaces, an open access IT suite and cafe facilities, the new £41 million extension to our City South Campus offers a range of specialist teaching and learning facilities for specific subjects including science, design and technology, drama and physical education.  


All our departmental facilities replicate the school learning environment.

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

Not only are we investing £41 million in a new building to house the laboratories and teaching spaces needed, but we also plan to open up these facilities to benefit all students and the wider community. This will complement our existing sports facilities, which already provide a base for students to compete in activities ranging from rugby to.

Mary Seacole Library

The Seacole library, based at City South Campus, is one of the UK's largest specialist health education libraries. The facility offers an extensive range of range of information and reference materials set out in a relaxing environment, conducive to studying. There are comfortable seating areas, group study areas, a silent study area and private study rooms.

Computer Facilities

The Seacole building houses a large open access IT Suite which comprises of 96 PCs, printers, photocopiers and scanners. Our PCs utilise the latest Intel i5 core technology, all with:

  • Fast (unrestricted) internet connectivity
  • Ability to save files to USB, DVD & CD
  • Microsoft Office software
  • Research and statistical software
  • Storage space which can be accessed from any PC across the University and from home

Our PCs are also designed to support students who may have difficulties with reading and writing, featuring specialised software with zooming/magnification and screen reading capabilities, which may also be customised for individual student needs.

The IT Suite offers extended opening hours and is supported by a specialist Open Access Assistant during term time. In addition to the open access PCs within the IT Suite, there are 12 networked student PCs available within Seacole library.