Institution / Hibernia College

Education - Research

Through its Hibernia/Plymouth Research Node, the College now offers the opportunity for further academic development by working towards a PhD through either full-time (4 years) or part-time (6 years) research.

Students undertaking a Hibernia College PhD will automatically be part of the Plymouth Institute of Education, with doctorates awarded by Plymouth University, and will be registered with both Plymouth University and Hibernia College.

This programme is for you if you have a particular research question or topic in mind in the field of education, and wish to explore this through independent study in order to produce an original contribution to the subject.

It is suited to those who are practising teachers, or those working in the wider education field, with a passion to pursue their studies further. This research-based doctorate also provides a solid foundation for those aspiring to a research career or an academic career.

This programme is not a taught doctoral programme (EdD), nor is it a ‘professional doctorate’ and there is no mandatory taught or directed study element to the programme. However, PhD students may participate in modules offered through the Hibernia College Masters’ programmes and attend the Plymouth University graduate training programmes.


PhD candidates are expected to attend regular supervision meetings and to conduct an annual training needs analysis with supervisors. This identifies which training event or research seminars it would be appropriate for them to attend as part of their research training and professional development as researchers.

Both students and their supervisory team will be required to meet four times per year when registered full-time (3 times per year if part-time) as stipulated in the Plymouth University online Student Log.

These sessions will include the assessment of research progress in the preceding 3-4 months and that planned for the subsequent 3-4 months, a review of personal skills development and public outputs of the research programme. The location of these mandatory supervisory sessions will be decided by the supervisory team.

What do Hibernia College and Plymouth University provide?
Hibernia provides administrative and academic support for the advancement and supervision of doctoral research leading to the award of PhD from Plymouth University Institute of Education.

In practical terms, this means Hibernia provides support for the progression and welfare of the PhD student through the Director of Studies (first supervisor), access to the student support services, a wider research community, research events (seminars and conferences), the opportunity to take part in modules on the Master of Arts in Teaching and Learning and a dedicated Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) with forums, information and support.

Plymouth University is the awarding institution and provides support to the PhD programme through the second supervisor, access to the Doctoral Training Centre for skills training, Plymouth University library, and a wider international research community.

Entry requirements

The standard entry requirements are:

•A masters degree by a UK university or a degree of a non-UK institution deemed to be of equal standing to a UK degree, or

•A first class or second upper class first bachelor degree award by a UK university or a degree of a non-UK institution deemed to be of equal standing to a UK degree, or

•A professional qualification recognised as equivalent to a degree, or

•Other qualifications and experience that have demonstrated that the applicant can meet the challenges and demands of the programme, and

•Two satisfactory reports from academic referees. Verbal or e-mail references may not be accepted.

Applicants to the PhD programme will be interviewed and may also be asked to provide an example of written work.


4 years full-time or 6 years part-time

Further enquiries

For further information on any aspect of the PhD Programme, potential applicants should contact the Hibernia College PhD Programme Team:

Dr Teresa Whitaker (Research Node Director and Director of the MATL)

Research areas

Hibernia College’s PhD in Education offers full and part-time students the ability to undertake doctoral studies in education, with a particular focus on the following key research areas:

•The impact of learning technologies on learning experiences and teaching practices

•Innovation in teaching, learning and assessment

•Innovation in teacher education

•Internationalisation of postgraduate programmes in teacher education

•Bridging the gap between theory and practice in education

•Reflective practice

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