Our international community of researchers has an excellent record of winning external funding, and our research centres provide structure and support, promoting collaboration and impact. The Centre for Special Educational Needs and Disability is interested in educational aspects (in widest sense) of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (in various senses of these terms).

Doctor of Education (EdD) Special Needs and Inclusive Education (SNIE)


The EdD is a ‘Professional Doctorate’ which is equivalent in level to a PhD, but particularly suited to professionals who aim to link research closely with their existing professional practice.

The EdD Special Needs and Inclusive Education focuses on professional and theoretical knowledge and understanding in the area of special and inclusive education. You join a research community of professional and academic scholars and peers with varied but complementary interests in exploring theories, policies and practices associated with special and inclusive education at different stages in the life course and in different contexts. Past and current doctoral students include teachers, school leaders, university lecturers, speech and language therapists, other health professionals and medical educators.

The programme is divided into two ‘phases’. The first ‘pre-thesis phase’ (equivalent to 1 year of full-time study or 2 years of part-time study) offers specialist research-led modules which provide access to current thinking about key issues pertaining to research in your professional field and provide the opportunity to reflect on and experiment with new concepts and ideas, professional understandings of practice, and research skills within a challenging research environment amidst a supportive community of peers. This is followed by a ‘thesis phase’ (equivalent to 2 years of full-time study or 4 years of part-time study) in which you complete a thesis that makes a substantial contribution to knowledge and/or practice within a professional field.

The programme recognises the particular needs, interests and policy contexts of students who are also professionals in their own right, and is flexibly organised to enable doctoral level study alongside existing work commitments.  It can be studied on a part-time or full-time basis or, where appropriate, on a mixed full-time/part-time basis and modules are available via blended learning, which provides face-to-face contact with tutors and fellow students mixed with online provision and self-study.

The maximum period of study is 4 years full time or 7 years part time. There is no minimum period of study, but you may not progress to the thesis phase, or submit a thesis for examination, without first having gained the required credits for the pre-thesis phase.


The EdD Special Needs and Inclusive Education pathway is available either as a part-time or full-time study option.

The programme is divided into units of study called ‘modules’ which are assigned a number of ‘credits’. The credit rating of a module is proportional to the total workload, with 1 credit being nominally equivalent to 10 hours of work.

The programme carries a total of 540 credits and is completed in two ‘Phases’.

Phase 1 (pre-thesis) is normally equivalent to one full-time academic year (12 months) and has a credit rating of 180. This phase is divided into six 30-credit modules. Each module is assessed by means of written assignments (each equivalent to 6,000 words).

To progress to Phase 2 you are required, as a minimum, to complete four ‘core’ modules and two modules in the SNIE ‘special field.’

Phase 2 (thesis) is normally equivalent to two full-time academic years (24 months)and has a credit rating of 360 (the equivalent of 180 credits per year). This phase consists of a single module which entails the completion of a 50,000 word research thesis within the special field chosen in Phase 1.

As the maximum period of study is 4 years full time or 7 years part time it is normally expected that the thesis be submitted by the ‘submission date’ which is 3 years after the commencement of the programme for full-time students and 6 years after the commencement of the programme for part-time students. This is to ensure that the viva voce examination and any amendments required can be completed before the maximum period of study, or ‘completion date’ is reached.