Institution / Ulster University Coleraine
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Education - Research


Education has an established tradition of innovative development and research and offers supervision within a diverse range of research areas.


The research strategy of the School of Education focusses on Education in Society.


To undertake quality research in education that contributes to, and has an impact on, scholarly knowledge, professional practice, and society, at local, national, and international levels.


To facilitate social change and improve educational practice in a range of contexts and settings.

The PhD programme is an important part of the overall research environment within the School and we welcome applications to the PhD programme from interested individuals. Successful applicants will be joining a rich and vibrant unit that places a great emphasis on collaborative work and the sharing and development of ideas through regular research seminars, conferences and other events. They will particularly benefit from being able to learn from and share ideas with a range of other research students and academics working in related areas. In the application, applicants will be expected to illustrate clearly how they intend to interpret their chosen topic in terms of a clear set of aims and objectives and an appropriate research methodology.

Our research agenda is based around the following three core themes:

Education and ConflictChildren, Young People and Adults: Educating for Inclusion

Teacher Education and Pedagogical Practice


Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the appropriate person listed for an informal discussion about their ideas before submitting the online application.

Entry requirements

Entry conditions

We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements. For general entrance requirements go to:

Entry Requirements

You will need to hold a First of Upper Second Class Honours degree (or equivalent) in an area relevant to your chosen project to be able to apply.

If you have obtained an undergraduate degree from a non-UK institution, we can advise you on how it compares to the UK system.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants

The minimum requirement for research degree programmes is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. This is the only acceptable certificate for those requiring to obtain a Tier 4 visa.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.


As a full time student, the expectation is that you will work on your project on a daily basis, either on or off campus as agreed with your supervisor. You will be entitled to 40 days holiday per annum.

Part time students are expected to meet with their supervisors on a regular basis, most usually this would be monthly but this is dependent on the project area.

Careers or further progression

Career options

Although academia is considered to be the most obvious path for any PhD holder, with around two thirds of our graduates remaining in the Higher Education or Research sectors, the degree also paves way for a career in industries centred on research and innovation.

PhD graduates are recognised by employers to hold valuable transferrable skills, as the nature of the degree trains candidates in creativity, critical inquiry, problem solving, negotiation skills, professionalism and confidence.

The most recent Ulster survey of PhD graduates found that 92% had secured employment within the first year since graduation (HESA Destination of Leavers Survey 2015).

Further enquiries

Dr Jessica Bates
Research Coordinator, School of Education

Research areas

Research facilities and groups

Education and Conflict

Education and Conflict is long standing research theme within the School. It is led by the UNESCO Chair, Professor Alan Smith, though his involvement with a number of international organisations, including UNESCO, UNICEF, the World Bank and DFID. Research work related to building greater social cohesion through education in the Northern Ireland context features strongly with researchers working in the fields of history education, the promotion of good relations through informal education, the use of ICT to foster inter-cultural learning, and using GIS systems to monitor young people’s social movements beyond their own immediate environs, in the context of divided communities. Proposals which examine the Northern Ireland educational experience in this field are welcomed but so, too, are in-depth or comparative studies based on work in conflicted situations in Europe, Asia and Africa.

Children, Young People and Adults: Educating for Inclusion

Improving outcomes for children, youth and adults has been a research focus in the School over an extended period of time, with an emphasis on Special Educational Needs, inclusive education and social marginalisation. This work has generated a strong inter-disciplinary profile and strong partnerships have been established across health, welfare, social policy and youth justice domains inside and outside the University. Research proposals in the fields of SEN; all aspects children’s welfare; and access to information, information literacy and inclusion are particularly encouraged.

Teacher Education and Pedagogical Practice

The Teacher Education and Pedagogical Practice strand focuses on learning and teaching issues which both emanate from, and inform, the School’s teacher education programmes, its TESOL programme, its work in continuing education and its Library and Information Management (LIM) activities. The School has had a long commitment to researching the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in teaching and learning, encouraging the seamless application of ICT innovation to curriculum and practice. Research in this area includes the creation of learning communities linked through technology at primary, second, and tertiary levels, on-line learning and the creation of e-portfolios to enhance teacher creativity and reflection and the investigation of the potential use of iPad technology in Teacher Education. Research proposals in the fields of teacher education and pedagogical practice; TESOL; and LIM are particularly encouraged.

Enrolment and start dates

Start Date: September 2017

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