Students at residential

PhD in Educational Research - Higher Education


This PhD in Educational Research - Higher Education is part-time structured programme that is undertaken through directed study and residential teaching over 4 - 5 years.  Students focus on their final research thesis from the third year onwards.  It is a well-established and successful route to a professional doctorate.


The programme is designed to offer an experience of undertaking and completing a PhD that capitalises on these important characteristics:

  • You study within a cohort of fellow participants who act as critical friends and an informal support network during the programme and a continued network throughout your career;
  • You are supported at a distance but also at residentials which enable participants to meet and socialise, engage in one-to-one tutorials and participate in seminars and lectures;
  • This support is provided by a world leading group of researchers/practitioners which gives you structured access to the culture of contemporary research;
  • Participants regularly publish papers as a core activity within the first two years of the programme, as well as publications that build on a thesis;
  • The programme incorporates ongoing research training which supports your work on your assignments and thesis;
  • You gain a PhD, rather than an EdD, from completing the programme.

This is one of two doctoral programmes taught by researchers from the Centre for Higher Education Research and Evaluation.  There are two major differences between these two programmes.  Firstly, the programme described on this page requires attendance four times a year in the first two years at week-long residentials.  Secondly, although the content of the two programmes is broadly similar, this programme has a module on the links between work and learning whilst the wholly online doctoral programme replaces this module with one on Evaluative Practice with a focus on Higher Education.

The programme's design depends heavily upon building a mutually supportive spirit among a group of people with overlapping professional and academic interests. Our current participants tell us that this is one of the most successful and valuable elements of the programme.  You can read more about alumni and current students on the page about the Doctoral Programme 20th Anniversary event held in September 2014.

Although much of the programme is done at a distance it is not a distance learning programme and attendance at the residentials is mandatory.