Structure and modules

The programme is divided into two parts, and has a modular structure with six modules in total. All modules are compulsory. The five modules in Part One, a thesis proposal, and the final thesis are assessed.

  • Part One (years 1 and 2) - consists of five modules that offer participants guided study in key areas of education and social justice nationally and internationally.
  • Part Two (year 3 onwards) - participants carry out an original piece of research under the supervision of a member of staff and produce a thesis (45,000 words). There is also a module aimed at supporting you in Part Two.

Part One

Part One core modules

Assessment for each core module involves researching and writing a publishable paper for an academic journal (7,000 words).


Part One support modules

Assessment involves a number of short assignments (5-5,500 words in total, for each module).


Conversion process to Part Two

Assessment of a Thesis Proposal (the confirmation document)

Towards the end of Part One, students must produce a PhD confirmation document containing a research plan for the PhD thesis (up to 5,000 words).

Part Two

In the second part of your PhD programme, you will embark on an original research project and produce a 45,000-word thesis based on the research proposal that you developed in Part One.

Part Two (year 3 onwards) centres on researching, writing, and then defending your thesis during a viva voce oral examination by both external and internal examiners.

The Part Two module, EDS856: Writing and defending the thesis, is designed to keep you on track as you carry out your main research project, and to provide invaluable guidance on writing and defending your thesis. There are no additional assignments for this module, which is designed to provide resources for entering and successful achievment of Part Two. The module signals your final steps towards becoming an autonomous researcher.

Throughout the course of your research project, you’ll also be supported by an experienced PhD supervisor who is closely matched to your particular research interests.

The EDS856 module and your supervision time will help you evidence personal and practical proficiencies including:

  • in-depth understanding of how research is carried out;
  • recognising and eliminating issues, following good practise guidelines;
  • critically reviewing your own work and working independently.