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Research Degrees

We are committed to providing both a stimulating and supportive environment for our research postgraduates. What differentiates us from other providers is the growing focus of many of our researchers on quantitative methodologies (random controlled trials, impact studies, etc.), intercultural education, the arts in education and the psychology of education.

We offer a number of postgraduate study options:


A PhD can be a major step in either launching your career or in reaching your employment aspirations. The Durham University School of Education PhD programme, consisting of both training and supervised research, is perfect for those graduates who aspire to an academic career in educational research teaching in higher education institutions or to positions of professional leadership and responsibility in the field of education.

Even though all PhD topics are different, all students will research a subject in great depth, acquire advanced skills in practical and intellectual problem-solving and critical analysis of theories and evidence, and contribute to an extensive piece of original work (a dissertation of up to 100,000 words) to the field of education.

Your research topic could relate to any aspect of the theory, policy or practice of education and may be drawn from any phase of education, including early years and post-compulsory education. As all doctoral students agree their topics with their supervisory team, the topic you choose must align with the research interests of a potential supervisor at the time of application.

While most of our PhD candidates study full-time, we also accept part-time applicants. Completion of the PhD usually takes three years for full-time study and six years for part-time study. As the staff research areas suggest, we can offer supervision in a broad range of areas. What's more, we welcome applications from varied disciplinary backgrounds, not just from those students possessing qualifications in education-related subjects.

Research Masters by Thesis (MEd, MProf, and MA options)

We offer three Research Masters by Thesis degrees.

The Master of Education by Research (MEd) normally takes two years to complete for full-time study and four years for part-time study and requires submission of a 70,000 word thesis.

The Master of Arts by Research in Education (MA) normally takes one year to complete in full-time study and two years in part-time study and requires submission of a 50,000 word thesis.

The Master of Professional Practice normally takes one year to complete in full-time study and two years in part-time study and requires submission of a 30,000 word thesis plus a 5,000 word portfolio of professional evidence.

If you are interested in undertaking a research degree which requires in depth research into a topic of your choice, but do not wish to commit to a full PhD, then one of these programmes may be for you. As with the PhD, your research topic will need to align with the interests of a potential supervisor - you can find further information on current research within the department on our staff listings.

If you would like to discuss your application further or have any queries please do not hesitate to contact us