What Will You Study

Our internationally recognised, innovative PhD programme is designed for professionals, who are engaged in the promotion of social justice in or through education. Study is entirely online and part-time over a minimum of four years, providing you with a flexible yet academically rigorous and intellectually stimulating research route. The programme focuses on the issues and concerns at the heart of your professional practice and will train you as an autonomous researcher.

Working with world-leading, research-active academics, you will develop your own ideas in a structured and supportive research environment. We are wholly committed to developing future researchers through an egalitarian approach. You and your global peers will connect with programme tutors and departmental staff, benefiting from their extensive and diverse research experience and broad spectrum of interests, which reaches from end-to-end educationally; early childhood to lifelong learning.

You will also link in with our research hub, the Centre for Social Justice and Wellbeing in Education, which takes a multi-disciplinary approach to explorations of equity, diversity, inclusion and wellbeing. Contextual settings for projects include schools, higher education, home and the workplace. The common threads of social justice and education weave us all together but are broadly interpreted to allow individual interests and areas of professional practice to come to the fore as you establish your research identity.

Part of an international group of approximately 25 PhD students who share an interest in education and social justice and have previously studied to MA level or equivalent, you will find that the programme delivers a very human, inclusive and rich learning environment that’s also surprisingly sociable.

Skills development elements such as research methodologies, critical thinking and academic writing are complemented by engagement in online forums, peer and tutor review, webinars, interactive work, and skype conversations with supervisors.

Your dynamic peer cohort will include people with diverse backgrounds, professions, interests and perspectives. Their and your professional practice will provide context as you all work to become excellent researchers in the field. And you’ll profit from the cache of resources and library of previous students’ work that’s made available to you online.

During the first two years, you’ll undertake modules covering key social justice issues, approaches and theories, as well as research methods. In years 3 and 4, you’ll move on to undertake research and write a thesis, which is produced under the close supervision of a subject expert and will contribute new knowledge to the scholarly community.

Your thesis has multiple outcomes: it builds your academic profile, results in publication of journal papers and articles and/or conference presentations, and, evidences the impact that your research may have if practically applied (for example, a past programme graduate’s thesis on Asperger syndrome led to the development of guidelines for pastoral systems in universities).

Your PhD is awarded on completion of your supervised research, a viva examination, and final thesis. It may lead to career progression or change, a move into academia, or the satisfaction of intellectual curiosity.