Our research students form a very active and varied group of researchers in Education from many different parts of the world and professional backgrounds.

All research students are invited to present a paper at the Annual Student Research Conference.

PhD in Education

There are three routes to a PhD available:

There are three routes to a PhD available:

The most commonly studied routes are the four year PhD or the three year MPhil/PhD. The decision as to which is the most suitable programme for you to study will rest with the academic reviewing your application and will be a decision based on previous research experience. 

Four-Year PhD

This is the recommended route for students with little research training or experience in educational (or social science) research. You can apply directly for the Four-Year PhD which includes as its first year the MSc in Educational Research.

Students applying for this route do not need to have a master’s, but some students with a master’s may be required  to study the four year route in order to further develop appropriate research skills that will ease the subsequent move to the PhD thesis stage of the four year programme.

Progression from the MSc to the PHD is dependent on achieving 60% as an average mark overall but this should include an individual mark of 60% for the dissertation; this progression requirement  is in place of the upgrade required to progress from MPhil to PhD on the three year route.

The four year route will be the preferred route for anyone expecting research to be part of future career intentions as it provides a more coherent research training prior to the demands of writing the thesis.

This is the recommended route for students with little research training or experience in educational (or social science) research. You can apply directly for the Four-Year PhD which includes as its first year the MSc in Educational Research.

Three-Year MPhil/PhD

With this route, you register for an MPhil and engage in research training; this may well include modules from the MSC but without undertaking assessment.  This route combines research training with the production of the thesis over a three year window (six years part time) and so requires a higher degree of mastery of methodological issues. The conditions for applying for the three year route include:

  • Masters at merit – with dissertation separately at merit
  • Masters to include research methods modules that match proposed methodology
  • High quality proposal that demonstrates methodological understanding

Students on the three year programme progress from MPhil to PHD following the successful completion of the upgrade process usually completed within the first 18 months of study (36 months part time)

Three- Year PhD direct entry

The PhD direct entry route is only available for students who have already completed our MSc in Educational Research or a similar fully research-focused master’s programme and so may apply to register directly onto the three-year PhD. Students on the direct entry route will not be required to complete the upgrade process

The diagram at the bottom of this page will help to determine which route is best for you.

Overview

A PhD in Education from the University of Exeter will enable you to gain an in-depth grounding in educational research methods through ESRC recognised training. As a doctoral level student you will become part of a research-intensive Graduate School, studying with some of the leading scholars in their disciplines.

You will benefit from holistic support including content and methodologies relevant to your research, as well as the opportunity for a personal mentor. Research students are integrated into the research culture and welcome to participate in the School’s annual staff-student conference, external conferences and the School’s research seminar series. We embrace a considerable variety of research activity, from large-scale externally funded programmes to small-scale collaborations with local teachers.

Because of our size and the fact that we are not wedded to any one research paradigm, we can offer research supervision in many areas of educational research. Our training is recognised by the ESRC and so we are able to receive ESRC studentship quota awards. 

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Which route to PhD is best for you?