Institution / University College Dublin /

Education & Lifelong Learning - Research

The degree of Structured Ph.D in Education is awarded following the successful completion of a programme of advanced education and training, and original research in a chosen area of specialism.

Conducted over a full-time or part-time basis, the course aims to:
• Equip students with an appropriate range of research skills required for thematic investigation in their chosen field of enquiry.
• Engage students in critical reflection of issues related to theory, policy and praxis at all levels of education.
• Prepare leaders at all levels of the education system to engage in challenges that derive from working within an increasingly complex globalised society.

Features of the Structured PhD in Education :
• Credit and modular based structure
• National and international recognition
• Active teaching methodologies
• Small group and individual tuition
• Structured system of support at School and University wide level
• Collegial, dynamic and inclusive learning environmentInternational input to the programme
• Membership of broader community of doctoral students in the College of Human Sciences, UCD

Programme structure:
The programme is divided into three strands:
1. Advanced research skills development
2. Theory and Praxis in Education Research
3. Original doctoral research activity

The programme is conducted in two stages:
Stage 1: Combined taught and research activity to the value of 120 credits.

Stage 2: Combined taught and research activity to the value of 150 credits that includes substantive original doctoral research.
• Course work normally takes place over three periods in each academic year: Hallowe’en; Mid-term February and May.
• Taught components aim to enrich student’s thinking in areas broadly related to their research that normally includes the following: public policy and education; social justice, inclusion and diversity in education; deliberative practice; historical perspectives; curriculum design in higher education, problem based learning, advanced research training and methodologies.
• Provides students with a forum to debate and discuss theoretical and methodological issues in the company of staff and fellow doctoral students.
• Original doctoral research is conducted under the guidance of an appointed supervisor and an expert doctoral studies panel.

As students in the College of Human Sciences, UCD, all structured PhD students in the School of Education enjoy full access to additional structured support provided by the
Graduate School of Human Sciences including:
• access to the full range of modules provided at post-graduate level across the College of Human Sciences
• seminars, workshops and conferences geared to the community of doctoral students

Learning Outcomes
The learning outcomes are at level 5 in the university structure.

Entry requirements

A candidate seeking admission to a course of study and research leading to the degree of PhD will normally have obtained a high honours standard in a relevant honours bachelors degree (or equivalent) or have been awarded an appropriate master’s degree (or equivalent) from a recognised higher education institution, or the candidate must present such other evidence of academic standing and/or relevant professional experience as will satisfy the College Graduate School Board of their suitability for doctoral studies.

Transfer from Master level studies:
A programme of structured credit based progression from master to doctoral level studies has been developed within the School of Education. Please contact the programme director for further details.


W135/W136 PhD Research 3 Years FT / 6 Years PT
W165 PhD Research 3 Years FT

Further enquiries

Ms Cathrina Gaffney (School Manager and PhD programme administrator)
Phone: (01) 716 7975

Subjects taught

Modules Delivered
• Public Policy and Education
• Social Justice, Inclusion and Diversity in Education
• Profession & Praxis; Knowledge, Values, Contestation
• The Social History of Education
• Advanced Research Training and Methodologies

Assessment method

Assessment Procedures
• The award of PhD is conferred on completion of a doctoral research thesis, or similar appropriate format.
• Taught components of the programme draw on a range of assessment methods that are matched to the learning outcomes of each module.

At the end of their doctoral studies students submit their research, in thesis or similar appropriate format, in accordance with international norms, to an Examination Committee established by the university. For the award of PhD the research must contain material of a standard and form appropriate for peer-reviewed publication.

Enrolment and start dates

Start date: To be agreed with School

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