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EdD Application FAQs

Where can I find information about the Doctorate in Education (EdD)?

Full details about the Doctorate in Education can be found in our online prospectus

What are the requirements for entry?

Applicants should hold, or be expecting to obtain, a masters degree in education or a related discipline from a UK/EU university or another recognised degree-awarding body. Applicants should also have at least two years of relevant professional experience. Find out more about Entry requirements.

When can I apply?

The EdD programme commences annually on 1 May. The main application period is from 1 August – 30 November of the preceding year. Applicants are notified of the outcome of their proposal in April.

How long is the programme?

The EdD is studied over three and a half years (minimum registration is 3.5 calendar years and the maximum registration is 6 calendar years):

  • Year 1: 1 May – 31 August (16 months)
  • Year 2: 1 September – 31 August (12 months)
  • Year 3: 1 September – 31 October (14 months)

At the end of the 1st year, students submit a Year 1 Final Report. This is marked by two EdD supervisors who are not involved in supervising the student and must reach a pass standard before students can progress to year 2. Students who do not pass the Year 1 Final Report are offered the opportunity to revise it and re-submit it the following year. If the re-submitted report does not then pass, the student’s registration is terminated.

Can I complete it in less than three years?

The EdD is a structured programme and all students are required to complete the full three and a half years of study.

Can I transfer in from another institution and use my prior study as credit towards my EdD degree?

No, the EdD programme at the OU is a research degree and there is no credit transfer facility. Students who have undertaken part of a research degree elsewhere are required to complete the full three and a half years of study.

Can I apply for a studentship/funding to undertake the programme?

The EdD is a part-time self-funded programme. Students resident in the UK, EU and EEA can apply for a student budget account (OUSBA) to pay their fees on a monthly basis.

Further details about OUSBA are provided on the OUSBA website.

I have a masters degree but not in education, can I still apply?

Yes, if it is in a related discipline (e.g. educational psychology, language teaching, educational technology, etc.). In order to be eligible to apply for the EdD, you must hold a masters degree in education or a related discipline since you will need to have demonstrated expertise in your understanding of theoretical ideas at that level of study. If you satisfy this, you are then in a good position to begin exploring and creating new knowledge which draws on your studies.

I am completing my masters degree but will not get the results until after the closing date for applications, can I still apply?

As long as you have completed any pre-requisite study prior to the commencement of the EdD programme, you can apply for the EdD, even if the results will not be available at the time when the EdD starts. In this situation a successful applicant will be offered a conditional place on the programme and will be required to provide evidence of the successful completion of the pre-requisite study, once this becomes available. If the applicant does not pass any of the pre-requisite study, their registration on the EdD programme will be terminated.

I have research experience, can I use this in place of a masters degree?

We are happy to accept evidence you can supply us with making your case for previous research experience you may have (e.g. publications). If, however, we do not consider your study to be equivalent to a masters degree, we may ask you to complete one.

Do I need to be a teacher to undertake the EdD programme?

The EdD is a Professional Doctorate in Education, so it is designed for professionals engaged in education (and related disciplines where learning is at their core). That in turn means that you need to be a professional whose role is directly concerned with learners and their learning; that your EdD research relates to those learners and their learning; and that you are in a position to gain access to the information you will require while simultaneously drawing on your professional expertise to make sense of that information.

I have a degree, QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) and have many years of teaching experience, can I use this in place of a masters degree?

Many students studying on the EdD work in roles of similar standing to your own, and some of these have published work too, so you will find that you are working in a stimulating environment. However, our concern is not so much that you have drawn on some research methods to conduct your research but that you are well informed (at masters level) about a full range of methods and methodological issues.

Our requirement is that you should not only have relevant professional experience, but that you have successfully completed a masters degree in education or a related discipline from a UK/EU university or another recognised degree-awarding body.

Information about the OU’s masters degrees can be found within our online postgraduate prospectus.

I meet the entry requirements so will I be guaranteed a place on the EdD?

Demand for places is high and we cannot guarantee a place until we have assessed your research proposal and made you a formal offer.

Entry to the EdD is further dependent on the need for students to:

  • present a detailed research proposal judged to be of suitable quality
  • locate their research proposals in one of the areas of study
  • draw on a literature base relevant to the proposed area of study
  • demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between theory and practice in education
  • exhibit an ability for critical analysis
  • show an ability to select and apply appropriate research methods
  • relate to their professional role and expertise, and show how they will draw on their professional knowledge in carrying out their research study.

Admission to the programme is also dependent on the availability of a suitable supervision team.

I live outside the EU/EEA, can I still apply?

You can register for the EdD if you live in the UK, EU and beyond. If you are resident outside the EU and wish to apply for admission to the EdD and if your application is successful, you will be required to maintain regular email contact with your UK-based EdD supervisor and travel to the UK at your own expense to attend:

  1. the Year 1 residential weekend in late June/early July
  2. the Year 2 day school in early/mid October
  3. the Year 3 day/residential school in early February
  4. your viva – which usually takes place in the period November – January following the completion of Year 3.

Can I do the EdD by distance learning?

The OU does not offer research degrees by distance learning or correspondence. The EdD is therefore a part-time research degree (rather than a distance learning degree or a taught course). You will be entitled to 12 hours supervision time each year, which could be via a variety of options including telephone, online conferencing or face-to-face.

Recognition of the EdD

The OU was established in 1969 as a publicly funded institution with the power to award degrees under the Royal Charter. Although the OU is most widely known for its part-time distance taught courses and degrees, it also has a long standing postgraduate research degree programme. The research degrees awarded by the OU are comparable to those awarded by all other UK universities. It is your responsibility to ensure the EdD qualification is recognised outside the UK.

What’s the difference between an EdD and a PhD?

No distinction is made between a PhD and a Doctorate in Education. This means that both the PhD and the EdD have to achieve the same academic level. The EdD, however, has an emphasis on research that will enhance professional practice in education; it is often referred to as a ‘professional doctorate’.

All doctoral degrees awarded by the OU must meet the expectations specified in the QAA Framework for Higher Education Qualifications.