At the forefront of Education research offering a dynamic and inclusive research culture, welcoming students to collaborate with our staff and professional partners to investigate the complexities of education and its underpinning values and beliefs.

The Master of Philosophy (MPhil) and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) are gained solely by submission of a thesis reporting on research undertaken. The normal procedure is for research students to be registered for an MPhil in the first instance with a view to being transferred to the PhD after at least one year, if appropriate.

The maximum length of a PhD thesis is 100,000 words and an MPhil is 60,000 words. The thesis must normally be written in English. The Doctor of Education (EdD) degree is gained through successful completion of five assessed courses and a thesis of approximately 60,000 words reporting on individual research.

The assessed courses involve the study at doctoral level of issues relevant to education, professionalism and research. Each culminates in the production of a professionally relevant piece of work of around 8,000 words.

Periods of Study

The normal minimum period for the PhD or EdD is 36 months full-time or 60 months part-time and for the MPhil, 24 months full-time or 42 months part-time. The normal maximum for the PhD or EdD is 60 months full-time or 84 months part-time, and for the MPhil, 48 months full-time or 66 months part-time.

The School welcomes part-time research students as well as full-time students, whether they are studying on campus or at a distance but it is expected that the applicant will be living sufficiently close to the School that he/she can easily visit the School to meet supervisors, to attend seminars and School research development events and to use research facilities. The ability to attend on-campus lectures and seminars for EdD students is especially important. Full-time researchers are expected to be on campus for a minimum of six months over the duration of their studies. The dates for commencement are 1 October or 1 February, each year. The EdD only starts on these dates if a sustainable cohort applies.

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Key Programme Information

At a Glance

Degree Qualification
MPhil or PhD

Our Research

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

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.

Education research is integrated across four distinct themes:

Education research is also embedded within the Centre for Citizenship, Civil Society, and Rule of Law (CISRUL) studies life in the world of political concepts. The Centre draws on expertise from 7 disciplines to examine how political principles function within and beyond the contemporary West. Concepts such as ‘citizenship’, ‘civil society’ and the ‘rule of law’ are used as often by policy makers as by scholars.

Entry Requirements

Applicants to the MPhil or PhD must provide a detailed research proposal and two academic references from their most recent academic institution.

International Applicants


The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.

Fees and Funding

View the tuition fee rates

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.


There are many opportunities at the University of Aberdeen to develop your knowledge, gain experience and build a competitive set of skills to enhance your employability. This is essential for your future career success. The Careers Service can help you to plan your career and support your choices throughout your time with us, from first to final year – and beyond.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

Contact Name
Dr Rachel Shanks
School of Education
University of Aberdeen
MacRobert Building
King's College
AB24 5UA