Education - Research

The Doctor of Education with Specialism is a four-year programme offered by the Department of Education in Maynooth University. It is designed for those who wish to undertake doctoral studies specifically related to their work in the field of education and offers specialist study in teacher education, educational leadership and curriculum studies. This programme will appeal to students whose learning is best supported in a group. Years 1 and 2 of the programme give students the opportunity to participate in modules in their chosen specialism areas. These modules will assist them in refining the research proposal for their independent research in years 3 and 4. These modules will also facilitate the development of the cohort's identity as a class group. The specialism and thesis topic will strongly correlate with their work as practitioners in the field of education.

Year 1 Modules:
Knowledge and Policy in Educational Practice, Specialism Module, Educational Research: Philosophy and Practice, Academic Writing 1: Communicating your research, Developing Professional & Practitioner Knowledge 1.

The first module on the programme is designed to develop the students' capacity to engage critically with educational theories, particularly in areas such as policy, knowledge development and epistemology, while the second module focuses explicitly on the specialism strand chosen by the student. The summer school focuses on the design and execution of educational research, with emphasis on research methods appropriate to practitioner research. There are two year-long modules designed to develop the student's writing skills and create opportunities to reflect on the application of the knowledge gained on the Ed D programme to the student's professional life.

Year 2 of the programme builds on the work of the first year, beginning with a strand specific module in semester 1. In semester 2, students attend a series of research support seminars, designed to assist them with the development of their thesis proposal. By the end of year 2, the student will have developed the research dimension of the thesis, including application for ethical approval, and will be ready to begin his/her research in Year 3. Year-long modules on academic writing and developing professional and practitioner knowledge are again available to build on Year 1 development in these areas.

Years 3 & 4 Modules:
Developing Professional & Practitioner Knowledge 3, Analysing Research Data (Easter School), Developing Professional & Practitioner Knowledge 4.

Years 3 and 4 are spent on the execution and completion of the 50,000-word thesis. During those two years, a team of supervisors provide support to the student as s/he works on designing, implementing and writing up the research project. Seminars, workshops and an Easter School on Data Analysis also provide structure and support to the student. In consultation with his/her supervisor, the student will also undertake 2 – 3 modules designed to develop his/her academic and professional skills.

Entry requirements

Applicants should hold a H2.1 (or higher) Masters Degree in Education or in a cognate discipline. A high level of ability in academic writing will be required, as evidenced by the submission of a sample of recent writing (e.g. chapter of Masters thesis, report, article or 3,000 word essay) as part of the application process.

Applicants who meet the criteria will be invited to attend for interview.

Minimum English language requirements:

Applicants for whom English is not their first language are required to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study. For information about English language tests accepted and required scores, please see here. The requirements specified are applicable for both EU and International applicants..

Maynooth University's TOEFL code is 8850

Please note: the entry requirements are under review for entry into 2025-2026.


4 years part-time.

Post Course Info

Ed D students are already practitioners in the field of Education upon entry to the programme. Their doctoral studies enable them to develop their academic and professional careers, and to contribute further to the development of the profession.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Doctoral (Level 10 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Part time

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