Education MPhil and PhD

Qualifications and durations

The Master of Philosophy (MPhil) programme will enable you to conduct supervised research into your chosen topic and produce a written thesis (typically up to 70,000 words). You can complete the MPhil in 1 to 3 years (full-time) or up to 4 years (part-time).

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programme comprises a more significant piece of research which will enable you to contribute to the academic community through a larger written thesis (typically up to 90,000 words). You can complete your PhD in 2 to 4 years (full-time) or up to 6 years (part-time).

The Department of Education also offers the Doctor of Education (EdD) programme.


Our staff provide an overview of the PhD application process.

The Doctor of Philosophy degree provides the opportunity to research a topic in depth and to contribute to new knowledge to the world. You will be required to conduct supervised research at the leading edge of the educational field and write up as a substantial thesis.

The PhD programme aims to:

  • provide a framework within which you can conduct an original piece of research relating to your own experience and interest
  • facilitate your development as a fully-trained and competent educational researcher, able to understand and use research techniques appropriate to your subject area and to be conversant with approaches used by other social scientists
  • enable you to think through how you can use your existing knowledge and skills to different contexts and apply them to a variety of problems and to your future research activities.

From application to completion of your submission and viva, you will benefit from high quality individual guidance and support. A supervisory panel will be responsible for giving you advice and support, and monitoring your progress. You can have an expectation of reasonable access to your supervisory panel throughout your period of research; there is a minimum requirement for some face to face contact each year.

The final stage of the PhD degree is the oral or viva voce examination, in which you are required to defend your thesis to a Board of Examiners. The thesis must provide evidence of originality of mind and critical judgement about your chosen aspect of education, and must contain material which is worthy of publication.

Current student projects

Take an insight into what some of our current students are researching »

South West Doctoral Training Centre

This programme is recognised as being part of the following ESRC-funded South West Doctoral Training Partnership (SWDTP) pathways:

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

  • First or 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate subject, from a recognised university.

English Language requirements

Certificates must be dated to within two years of the start of the programme of study.

  • IELTS 7 (with no less than 6.5 in each component)
  • PTE Academic of 69 with no less than 62 in any component


  • Two references are required. At least one of these should be an academic reference.

How to apply

You can apply to study online.

Financial information


Potential sources of funding


Tel: +44 (0)1225 385949

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