Education - Research

The Doctor of Education (EdD) programme is a professional doctorate and research degree for experienced professionals from education and related fields (e.g. health education, speech and language therapy, psychology). It attracts students nationally and internationally from a variety of sectors including Early Childhood, Primary Education, Secondary Education, Further Education, Higher Education, Support Services, Management Services, System level leadership, and Industry. As such students stand to benefit from the cross-sectoral interdisciplinary nature of the programme.

The Professional Doctorate is designed for those who would like to extend their professional learning through research with a view to transformation of practice, a contribution to the field and enhanced understanding of the discipline, whilst meeting the requirements of rigour and originality expected of a doctorate. It aims to enhance students’ professional learning through supporting students to use research and scholarship to address identified gaps, issues, problems of practice, policy and /or context and to become leaders in their field and discipline.

The programme situated within Ireland’s only full Faculty of Education, DCU Institute of Education, draws upon two decades of professional doctorate studies. Students will get to work alongside senior researchers and leading experts in their fields and sectors. They will work with supervisors with expertise in their area of interest to generate new and original research.

The Professional Doctorate in the Institute of Education prides itself on being a member of the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED) which is an network of 135+ education institutions focused on professional doctorates in education. DCU Institute of Education is the only member institution outside of the USA. CPED is a professional development network which provides support for students and faculty alike in terms of programme design, annual conferences, weekly and monthly events and opportunities for collaboration and publication. CPED “envision a future where equity-minded educational professionals lead lasting and positive change for the learning and benefit of everyone”.

Within the DCU Institute of Education, students have the opportunity to collaborate with other EdD students and PhD students through the Research in Progress Seminars held fortnightly each semester and the annual Postgraduate Research Unconference held annually. These afford students opportunities to talk about their research as it unfolds and to learn from others who are on a similar journey. Other supports include the DCU writing centre, library support and graduate training opportunities by the Graduate Studies Office in DCU.

In addition to being cross sectoral and inter-disciplinary the Professional Doctorate students also focus their studies in one of the following broad Areas of Professional Focus:

Digital Learning
Education for Sustainable Futures
Inclusive and Special Education
Leadership and Evaluation
Professional Learning and Teacher Education

This allows students to develop an in-depth knowledge and understanding in an Area of Professional Focus while at the same time help them to situate their emerging perspectives within national and international discourses with a view to shaping and giving direction to existing and emerging policy and practice agendas. During the first two years, students engage in two modules focusing on their Area of Professional Focus, and five core modules which all students attend together.

It is also intended that the participants will have an opportunity to:

Situate their learning and research within their own professional practice

Develop problem-solving skills for authentic and critical problems of practice in partnership with others;

Apply their learning to their professional practice and/or context;

Develop project management and time management skills;

Develop and enhance their leadership potential as well as the skills appropriate for collaboration, networking, and teamwork and communication skills;

Develop interpersonal and intra-personal reflective capacities, critical and analytical skills and presentational skills;

Extend their knowledge of and expertise in competing and complementary research paradigms and genres (including philosophical approaches to enquiry);

Critique policy frameworks and their application in the interrogation of policy documents and/or; international contemporary issues and the manner in which these are refracted nationally within educational discourses;

Critically engage with published research, become highly skilled in academic writing and publishing for a variety of educational audiences.

The programme, offered within DCU's Institute of Education includes assessed taught courses, research-focused workshops and supervised original research.

Entry requirements

Applications for this programme will open on November 1st 2023. Please contact for an application form. Closing date for receipt of completed application forms is March 29th, 2024.

General Entry Requirements:

The minimum entry requirements for the programme is a second class or higher Master's degree (or equivalent) in education or a specific discipline area appropriate for one of the Areas of Professional Focus.

All candidates are typically required to have a minimum of five years professional experience or hold a position of responsibility for at least five years related to the chosen Area of Professional Focus.

In exceptional circumstances only, candidates for a Professional Doctorate degree who do not meet the stipulated entry requirements based on their cognate degree but who can demonstrate exceptional ability or aptitude for academic research may apply to pursue studies for a research degree. They may base their application on recognition of their accredited or experiential prior learning, in line with University policies in this regard.

For further information on this please contact

Application dates

Applications for this programme open on November 1st 2023. Please contact for an application form. Closing date for receipt of completed application forms is March 29th, 2024.

How to Apply:

Please contact to express an interest in the programme. When the application process for the 2024 intake of the programme opens you will automatically be sent an application form.

Following receipt of completed pre-applications, suitable applicants will be invited for an interview in April - May 2024. Successful applicants will then apply through the Student Application Portal.

All applicants must submit the following documentation:

Certified academic transcripts for all years of study at college or university in original language, with certified English translations;

Letter of approval from the Institute of Education.

Draft Research Proposal

Academic Letter of reference

Applicants are advised to make your application as early as possible to ensure documentation validation is complete.

If you need a study visa and are a Non EU student, you are not eligible to apply for part-time programmes as study visas are only granted for full-time programmes.


4 years part-time.

Our part-time EdD programme is typically over four years with the first two years involving a taught programme and the final two years focused on research under the guidance of your supervisor(s).

The Doctor of Education programme is a blended learning programme with a mix of on-campus and online sessions. Building community and cohort solidarity is an important aspect of the programme and therefore year one starts with an on campus summer school in August, where students get to meet their colleagues and faculty in a supportive environment. Semester one of the first year consists of two weekends on campus and one week online while semester two has one weekend on campus and two weekends online. Year two will also have six weekends in total, three on campus and three online. Weekends typically consist of Friday evening lectures 4.30 - 8.30 and Saturday lectures 9.00 - 6.00 pm.

The online aspect of the programme consists of a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous learning to facilitate flexible learning periods, interactive and self-directed learning, reflection and meaningful critical conversations. An online platform (Loop) is available for access to material from on campus and online sessions.

Post Course Info

Community based organisations
Government Agencies
Health Sector
Human Resource Management
Non Governmental Organisation

The Doctor of Education is intended for experienced professionals who wish to take on leadership roles and make a significant contribution to the enhancement of professional practice in education and related fields.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Doctoral (Level 10 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Blended,Evening,Part time,Weekend

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