PhD (Professional) Education

‌‌‌The School of Education is a vibrant and intellectually stimulating environment in which staff have developed national and international reputations in their areas of expertise.

The Course

The PhD (Professional) Education is a doctoral research programme of equivalent standing to the traditional Doctor of Philosophy, with a focus on research and professional practice which aims to aid the dissemination, development and management of a range of professional practice and policy development. It provides an integrated and structured programme of study aimed at current and future educators who wish to conduct original research relating to their professional context or area of educational practice.

The programme is designed around a coherent taught component during which students undertake three core modules, two optional modules and a research component, during which they conduct field work, analyse their data in light of existing knowledge, and write a thesis for examination.

During the taught stage, the core modules aim to support you in identifying your specific research questions through a critical review of the literature; develop the requisite knowledge, understanding and practical skills in appropriate research methods; and produce a compelling rationale and plan for conducting a substantive piece of original research. Optional modules allow you the opportunity to deepen your existing subject knowledge and/or broaden your appreciation of the study of education.

The research stage involves the implementation of your research proposal through the exercise of rigorous data collection and analysis, leading to the production of a 60,000-word thesis that systematically presents your research, learning, and contribution to knowledge.

Throughout the duration of the programme, you will be part of a diverse, supportive, and intellectually challenging research environment in the School of Education. In addition to the programme requirements, all students are encouraged to engage in broader post-graduate training opportunities, present their work to academic audiences and communicate the significance of their research to colleagues and peers.

To apply for this programme please follow this link:

All students are expected to attend scheduled teaching on the programme – this takes place at two weekend study schools (Friday – Sunday in October and February) and one week-long study school (Monday-Friday in July).

Study schools include lectures, student presentations, seminars, visiting speakers and workshops. An emphasis throughout is placed on encouraging students to share and discuss their own work, and to provide structured activities that build on students’ research interests, and those of academic staff. Study school attendance is not restricted to the taught stage of the programme, but students are expected to continue to attend study schools throughout their time on the programme.

Between study schools, fortnightly seminars are held for each module. These may be attended in person or remotely. These seminars are also available as recorded 'webinars' through the use of the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). The VLE provides students with access to a range of structured resources, including many digitised texts and key readings. It is also used more interactively, as a means of extending the dialogues that are seen as crucial to students’ learning.

Programme Structure


  • Critical Engagement with Educational Literature
  • Research Methods
  • Dissertation
  • Thesis - PhD (Professional) Education

Optional (students select two):

  • Education and Social Justice
  • Educational Leadership and Management: Theory and Practice
  • Language and Education
  • Special Educational Needs and Disability

Contact Hours and Independent Study

Personal Supervision throughout the programme: 1 hour monthly for full-time and 1 hour bi-monthly for part-time.

Participation on taught modules: 25 hours per module

The taught element of this programme is 12 months full-time and 24 months part-time.

Critical Engagement with Educational Literature (Core)
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Critical Engagement with Educational Literature (Core)

In this module, students can develop their skills of identifying, searching, critically evaluating and synthesising academic literature, as well as the skills needed to understand and apply this knowledge to developing their own research. The module focuses on critically evaluating research literature in various areas of educational studies and around students' area of research in particular. The module is intended to help students focus on their study and situate it within the wider field of educational research.

Dissertation (Education) (Core)
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Dissertation (Education) (Core)

The dissertation enables students to undertake an in-depth, independent, and sustained study and presentation of a topic of their choosing in Education. It includes the conceptualisation, design, conduct, analysis, and written and oral or visual presentation of a substantial research project. The aim of the module is to support students through a process of extended scholarly research and to develop their capabilities as fully independent and critical social researchers.

Education and Social Justice (Option)
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Education and Social Justice (Option)

This course explores the relationship between education and social justice. It introduces conceptual tools for identifying and challenging injustices in educational contexts, and strategies for developing knowledge, methods and skills for creating social just learning practices and environments. Education is a powerful activity and institution. Its importance lies not only in its centrality to national and international policy, but in the widely held belief that education has the capacity to liberate individuals, advance social flourishing and equality, and enable meaningful participation in social and political life. Yet educational practices and systems can also disempower people, reproduce structures of inequality and perpetuate discriminatory and oppressive social relationships. Making sense of the complex relationship between education and social justice is therefore an essential capability for educators. This course aims to provide you with resources to critically assess the personal, social and political implications of diverse educational theories, practices, policies and institutions, and to cultivate practices which promote social justice in your own context. Themes include theories of social justice in education; the politics of educational policy and reform; the relationship between education, state, market, family, work and social movements; the dynamics of gender, race, class, sexuality, disability and geography in education; and approaches to social justice in pedagogy, curriculum and educational governance.

Educational leadership and management: theory and practice (Option)
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Educational leadership and management: theory and practice (Option)

This module will explore educational management and leadership with particular reference to the organisational and operational aspects of educational institutions. It is divided into three related parts. The first part analyses the organisation, structure and culture of educational institutions drawing upon organisational theory, cultural analysis and the use of metaphor. The second part explore the nature of leadership in educational institutions, a complex and contested concept. Particular emphasis is placed on transactional, transformational and constructivist leadership and leadership for learning. The third part provides an opportunity to critically consider some key issues in educational leadership and management including the nature of learning organisations, leadership for professional development and leading schools in challenging circumstances.

Language and Education (Option)
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Language and Education (Option)

This module provides the opportunity for students to look at both language education and language in education from a multidisciplinary perspective. Policy, practice and research relating to language teaching and use will be examined in reference to social, political and educational climates. The module covers a number of different aspects of language teaching, including pupils using English as an Additional Language (EAL), foreign language learning in schools, global and local multilingualism and bilingualism. Students’ awareness of language attitudes and ideologies and the role education plays in establishing and reproducing these will also be developed. In addition, students will engage with research relating to language acquisition, bilingualism and bilingual education and consider how these relate to a UK-specific language context.

Mentoring and Coaching for Educational Professionals (Option)
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Mentoring and Coaching for Educational Professionals (Option)

This module is designed to provide participants with core knowledge, understanding, and skills of mentoring and coaching and their application within an educational context. It aims to provide participants with personal and professional development as it explores and critiques and critically evaluates key concepts, theories, practices, models, frameworks, and approaches to mentoring and coaching in education.

Participants can develop a deeper understanding of the role of the mentor, the skills and understanding that is required to meet the challenges of mentoring, the importance of supporting the learning of mentees, and mentoring to enhance professional practice. Through structured experiences and interactive workshops mentoring and coaching can be practised and reflected upon in the light of empirical and practice-based research evidence as well as participants’ own learning.

Research Methods (Education) (Core)
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Research Methods (Education) (Core)

This module is designed to introduce the key features and processes of conducting postgraduate standard research using quantitative and qualitative methods. The module introduces the main instruments used for data collection and discusses their ability to produce a desired result in a range of contexts. The module considers practical issues of instrument design and implementation, coupled with wider questions of sampling. A strong emphasis is placed on methods of data analysis and identifying the relationships and processes by which students progress from data collection and the handling of raw data through to the high quality testing/generating theory that is a feature of postgraduate-level work.

Special Educational Needs and Disability (Option)
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Special Educational Needs and Disability (Option)

Special Educational Needs and Disability is specifically designed to support the needs of students interested in careers in education, including practicing teachers, Special Educational Needs Coordinators, and educational researchers. This module encourages students to critically explore issues related to policy and practice for children with additional needs. A key feature of the module is that it draws on the implications of policy to practice and aims to increase awareness of how practice can be adapted to support the diverse needs that children can have. The module focuses on supporting additional needs in both primary and secondary schools but the materials studied can be extended to an adult population. We also reflect on international initiatives and explore the impact they have on current policy.

Thesis - PhD (Professional) Education (Core)
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Thesis - PhD (Professional) Education (Core)

The PhD (Professional) Education is a doctoral research programme of equivalent standing to the Doctor of Philosophy with a focus on research and professional practice which aims to aid the dissemination, development and management of a range of professional practice and policy development.

This is the research stage component of the PhD (Professional) Education, which typically results in a thesis of 60,000 words.

† Some courses may offer optional modules. The availability of optional modules may vary from year to year and will be subject to minimum student numbers being achieved. This means that the availability of specific optional modules cannot be guaranteed. Optional module selection may also be affected by staff availability.

During the taught stage, you will be assessed through written assignments, portfolios and presentations. Students will also need to successfully complete a viva examination. You will also receive regular feedback on your work from your Supervisor as well as receiving grades to mark your progress through the curricula. In addition, you should expect to participate in formative peer review of each other’s ideas and work throughout the programme through active group discussion and a variety of presentation methods (e.g. annual student conference presentations, poster sessions, 'PechaKucha' sessions).

The University of Lincoln's policy on assessment feedback aims to ensure that academics will return in-course assessments to you promptly – usually within 15 working days after the submission date.

Applicants will be selected for interview on the basis of their application and research proposal.
A key feature of the PhD (Professional) Education is our belief that students’ learning is most effective when it is the product of an on-going dialogue with others, either teaching staff or fellow students, through which students are constantly challenged to refine their understanding of key concepts in the field of education, and their own development of their research ideas.

Emphasis throughout is placed on creating the conditions in which such dialogues can flourish. Academic staff principally act as supervisors of the student's own research rather than teachers of others' research. In this way, roles of teacher and student are progressively minimised and both students and supervisory staff become part of a joint research project.

You will be allocated an academic supervisor as soon as you commence the programme and meet with them on a regular basis. This person will have a key role in providing individualised support as you progress through the programme. You will receive face-to-face supervision at study schools, and support through electronic means/telephone between study schools.

2019/20 Entry*Full-timePart-time
Home/EU £4,327 £2,164
(including Alumni Scholarship*** 20% reduction)
£3,462 £1,731
International £13,700 £6,850

(Including International Alumni / Global Postgraduate Scholarship £2,000 reduction)****

£11,700 £5,850
Thesis Pending Home/EU (MPhil/PhD only) £696 £696
Thesis Pending International (MPhil/PhD only) £1,997 £1,997


2018/19 Entry*Full-timePart-time
Home/EU £4,260 £2,130
(including Alumni Scholarship** 25% reduction)
£3,195 £1,598
International £13,500 £6,750

(Including International Alumni / Global Postgraduate Scholarship £2,000 reduction)

£11,500 £5,750
Thesis Pending Home/EU (MPhil/PhD only) £682 £682
Thesis Pending International (MPhil/PhD only) £1,958 £1,958


* Academic year August – July

*** UoL Alumni students only enrolling on to a Postgraduate Research programme. 20% Offset against the tuition fee payable for each year of study

**** Subject to eligibility. Reduction applied to first year’s fees only.


Research students may be required to pay additional fees in addition to cover the cost of specialist resources, equipment and access to any specialist collections that may be required to support their research project. These will be informed by the research proposal submitted and will be calculated on an individual basis. Any additional fees will be outlined in your offer letter, prior to accepting your place at the University of Lincoln.

Guidance for Postgraduate Fees

Postgraduate Research

Full time and part time postgraduate research students will be invoiced the published set fee each academic year enrolled, up to the point of thesis submission.

Upon first enrolment, the full set fee is payable.

All continuing students are required to re-enrol on their anniversary of their first enrolment. The relevant set full time or part time fee is payable by all continuing students on re-enrolment.

A reduced ‘writing-up’ fee in the 12 month period prior to thesis submission may be applicable subject to your progress. After your Viva Voce examination, additional fees will be payable if a second Viva Voce examination is required.

For further information and for details about funding your study, scholarships and bursaries, please see our Postgraduate Fees & Funding pages [].

Other Costs

All students are expected to attend scheduled teaching on the programme. This takes place in Lincoln (UK) at two weekend study schools (Friday – Sunday in October and February) and one week-long study school (Monday-Friday in July). Students are responsible for their own travel, accommodation and general living expenses while attending these sessions.

First or second class honours degree or equivalent professional experience.

If you have studied outside of the UK, and are unsure whether your qualification meets the above requirements, please visit our country pages for information on equivalent qualifications.

Overseas students will be required to demonstrate English language proficiency equivalent to IELTS 6.0 overall, with a minimum of 5.5 in each element. For information regarding other English language qualifications we accept, please visit the English Requirements page

If you do not meet the above IELTS requirements, you may be able to take part in one of our Pre-session English and Academic Study Skills courses. . These specialist courses are designed to help students meet the English language requirements for their intended programme of study.

In addition to the stated qualifications required, applicants are required to submit a research proposal with their application. For guidance on writing a research proposal, please visit: For information about potential PhD supervisors in the School of Education, please visit

Learn from Experts

Throughout this degree, students may receive tuition from professors, senior lecturers, lecturers, researchers, practitioners, visiting experts or technicians, and they may also be supported in their learning by other students.

Joss Winn

Dr Joss Winn

Programme Leader

Joss is a Senior Lecturer and over the past 20 years, he has taught at all levels of education, from a Kindergarten and public school in Japan to undergraduate and doctoral programmes in the USA and UK, as well as informal adult education. His subject specialisms include: Education and technology, academic labour, Marxism and education, political economy, democratic education, co-operative education; craft education and lutherie.

Your Future Career

Career and Personal Development

The PhD (Professional) Education aims to develop the capacity in individuals to make a significant original contribution to understanding and improving professional practice in education through research. The programme is specifically designed for current and future educators and can be understood as an advanced form of research-based professional development or training. Graduates from the programme may go on to senior positions in their existing field as well as entering academic careers.


At Lincoln, we constantly invest in our campus as we aim to provide the best learning environment for our students. Whatever the area of study, the University strives to ensure students have access to specialist equipment and resources, to develop the skills, which they may need in their future career.

The University of Lincoln’s city centre campus provides a modern student-centred community. Based on the picturesque Brayford Pool marina, everything students need is either on campus or a short walk away.

Students can study and research in the University's Great Central Warehouse Library, which provides more than 250,000 printed books and approximately 400,000 electronic books and journals, as well as databases and specialist collections. The Library has a range of different spaces for shared and individual learning.

The University intends to provide its courses as outlined in these pages, although the University may make changes in accordance with the Student Admissions Terms and Conditions.