Structure and modules

In Part One (years one and two) the modules taken are:

  • UPPHE: Understanding Policies and Practices in Higher Education
  • ECHE: Evaluative Cultures in Higher Education
  • RLTA: Researching Learning, Teaching and Assessment

These are the core modules and you write one assignment for each, of around 7,000 words, receiving detailed feedback on a first draft from your tutor before final submission. This is modelled on the process of submitting an article to an academic journal.

These assignments are chosen by you and if you wish to you can submit them for publication in an academic journal. The PhD operates on a publish-as-you-go model. This is helpful to you in a number of ways, and is a distinguishing characteristic of this PhD programme.

These core modules run sequentially, each for around 7 months, each with sessions at three of the residentials. There are four residentials per year in Part One.

You are supported in Part One by two further subsidiary modules:

  • Module A: Research Design, Approaches and Tools
  • Module B: Theory and Professional Practices in Higher Education

Here the assessment is designed to be formative and helpful for the core modules.

Modules A and B run for the whole length of the Part One. Module A is the primary means through which we support your acquisition of research skills. It is oriented towards the world of academic research. Module B develops your ability to approach your professional role in a more research-informed way.

All modules are completed by the end of the second year - Part One of the programme.

Progression from Part One to Part Two is dependent upon successful completion of all Part One modules. In addition you need to successfully complete the PhD confirmation process by producing a confirmation document, assessed by a confirmation panel which ensures you have a practicable project which will enable you to complete the PhD successfully. An MRes exit route is also available at the end of Part One of the programme.

In Part Two (Years three and four) the focus is on researching and writing your thesis:

In Part Two students research and write their thesis (around 45,000 words). A supervisor or supervisors support them in this and the residentials are increasingly oriented to one-to-one supervision of this research.

There is one subsidiary module to help you in this:

  • Module C - Writing and Defending the Thesis

Module C addresses the specific research skills you need in your Part Two research. It also considers the nature of professional practice in the post-compulsory educational sector and the significance of its character for research approaches.


Download this pdf document to find out more about Computer requirements for distance learners.