Study a PhD or EdD

Study a PhD or EdD

Why research at Aberdeen?

  • We’re Flexible
    Our research degrees are offered on a full or part time basis and delivered on campus or via distance or blended learning, so you can find a route that works best for you.

  • We’re International
    We have a thriving community of about 50 research students from all over the world; you could join our community of students from the Bahrain, Cyprus, Ethiopia, France, Ghana, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Libya, Malawi, Malaysia, Malta, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and USA.

  • We’re Experts
    Our international body of staff encompasses a wide range of subject specialisms in which supervision can be offered.  Our academics are involved in research and contribute to academic and professional bodies.  Find out more by visiting our People page.

What can I study?

We offer a PhDs in Education, Mindfulness and Counselling.

You can also study for a Professional Doctorate of Education (EdD) .  This is a distinctive two-part programme that offers you the opportunity to develop your capacity as a reflexive researcher before moving on to complete your own original doctoral thesis.

The programme is ideal for anyone working in any part of the education sector (school, university, museum) as well as anyone working in education-related services or disciplines such as health and social care.

A professional doctorate is a great way to develop your expertise in a particular area of your practice and can enhance your employability.

Our EdD combines taught and research-based learning. Part One, taught over Year 1 and 2, includes four core courses (see below), each is designed to help you advance your understanding of your own practice and of research.

Part Two, across years 3-6, is focused on developing your own original doctoral level research. This element is facilitated through a co-constructive approach with a supervisory team with expertise in your specific area.

This programme structure is ideal for you if you are returning to academic study after some time or interested in thinking through some different research options before committing to a doctoral topic for your thesis.

Our Doctor of Education (EdD) can be studied completely online. So you can be working and living anywhere in the World and work with us at the University of Aberdeen.

Study weeks (offered in person/ or online) support you as your learn. These weeks give you the opportunity to connect and collaborate with other doctoral students and academics.

The four taught courses are as follows:

Course 1: Identifying and Articulating Issues in Professional Practice (45 credits)

This module will help you to begin your research journey through a series of critical reflections on your professional biography in order to identify and articulate particular issues in your professional practice.

Course 2: Contextualising Issues in Professional Practice (45 credits)

In this module, you will identify the links between a researchable professional issue and its wider contexts. This could include sociological, historical/temporal, geographic/spatial and policy/institutional dimensions of context.

Course 3: Researching Issues in Professional Practice (45 credits)

In this module, you will engage with the epistemological, theoretical, practical and ethical decisions and dilemmas that are part of designing any research study. You will consider these issues as you move from a researchable professional issue to a feasible and defensible research design.

Course 4: Analysing and impacting on Issues in Professional Practice (45 credits)

This module will support you in conducting the analysis of research data and ensuring that your research has some impact on professional practice, or on perceptions of professional practice, in your field. This module has a dual focus, the first is on your capacity to make sense of and interpret research data. In doing so you will consider different ways in which data might be analysed in order to derive meaning and generate new knowledge. The second focus is designed to support you in ensuring that your doctoral research positively impacts in some way on the conduct or understanding of professional practice.


What is the focus of an EdD?

An EdD has a practice-based focus. A PhD thesis, like the EdD thesis, makes a significant contribution to knowledge in the student’s selected area, but is not necessarily practice based.

As a result, candidates are expected to be working in a relevant practice context. This is not a requirement for a PhD.

How is an EdD structured?

There is a structured approach which guides students from their Master’s work to their EdD project design. A PhD involves more independent doctoral research.

What are the modes of study for an EdD?

The EdD is part-time only. The PhD can be full time or part time, and on campus or online.

How do I get started?

Find out more about EdD or PhD study.

All the advice you need to get started, including how to apply and finance advice, can be found at the Postgraduate Research site.

For more information you can contact us on or telephone +44 (0)1224 274507