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Fees and Funding

Here's the fees and funding information for each year of this course


Applications for September 2021 are now closed, applications for 2022 will open in the autumn.

The Professional Doctorate at the University of East London is a five-year part-time modular course specifically aimed at senior professionals working in all fields of education. 

The course gives you the opportunity and the skills to conduct robust, innovative research that will improve the policy, practice and the quality of education. Your doctorate will enhance your professional capability through critical analysis and the use of research evidence. 

You will be studying at one of the most diverse and multicultural universities in London, with the chance to meet and work with students and academics from different national and international professional backgrounds, each with their own experience and expertise that they bring to the course. 

Doctoral courses at the University of East London give you the chance to draw on this dynamic research culture as well as the research expertise of our academic staff, at least two of whom will serve on your supervisory team. 

The course consists of two stages. In Stage One, you will study four compulsory modules over two years. This is then followed by Stage Two, where you complete your research thesis.

What makes this course different

Award ceremony

62% of research rated 'world-leading' or 'internationally excellent'

According to the latest Research Excellence Framework (2014), 62% of our academic work was rated as 'World-leading' or 'Internationally excellent'.

Communal work space.

Join a superb research group

We provide an outstanding research group environment for you to critically develop and share your research with professionals in similar fields.

Smiling students

82% of students were pleased with support and teaching quality

Postgraduate students score our academic staff highly in terms of support and the quality of their teaching - 82 per cent felt their research skills had developed during their course.


A Professional Doctorate represents the highest form of research apprenticeship.  Throughout the course, you will be encouraged to challenge established ideas and concepts, and to develop your personal and professional skills to the highest level. 

You will study and acquire a substantial body of knowledge that is at the forefront of your academic discipline and area of professional practice.  

As you progress on your doctoral journey you will gain a detailed understanding of the techniques used for research and advanced academic enquiry. 

This will enable you to conceptualise, design and implement a project that will add new expertise and understanding to your discipline, placing you at the forefront of expertise, nationally and internationally.



  • Core Modules

    Critically engaging with the literature

    The aim of the module is to provide students with the academic foundations underpinning knowledge and understanding of their fields of literature. Serving as the introductory module it will introduce students to what it means to write critically at doctoral level while acknowledging that this module is the start of the doctoral journey. Students will be introduced to what is meant by ‘educational research’ and some associated introductory ontological and epistemological debates. However the main focus will be for students to develop, as part of their induction, an understanding of the depth and breadth of literatures related to their field of investigation, how to access these literatures and how to engage with those literatures rigorously, critically and succinctly.


    Philosophy and practice of research

    This module has the following aims:

    · to introduce ‘philosophy ’ to students and to compare it to other foundation disciplines in education studies: psychology and sociology

    · to encounter a range of philosophical perspectives on education

    · to address the foundational questions in philosophy

    · to provide a context for considering your own attitudes as to the purpose of education

    · to develop skills of critical reading and reflection.


    Research methodology – perspectives on research

    The module offers an overview of research methods in education locating them within existing debates surrounding the relationship between methods and methodology. The principle aim of this module is to raise awareness of epistemological, methodological, ethical and reflexive issues through integration of theory, personal professional experience and research. Key epistemological concepts will be revisited as a way to underpin the relationship and integration of theory and educational research. This module is designed engage students with their own research topic and to understand the dilemmatic nature of the research process.

    Opportunities will be provided to extend the appreciation of both qualitative and quantitative research methods and their associated analytical methodology with relevance to education and for students to be able to position their research accordingly. The module will enable students to gain further insight into the practical, theoretical and ethical aspects of completing data collection and analysis in the context of relevant research questions, and to appreciate the role of interpretation in qualitative and quantitative research. As part of this module the significance of piloting research methods will be examined and related back to researcher reflexivity.

    The module compliments the integration of theory, research and practice by facilitating students’ understanding of how the principles of attending to process and reflexivity underpin research.


    Integrating theory, research and ethical practice – Moving towards Registration

    This module equips students with the skills requisite for justifying their research topic within the context of university frameworks. This module will serve as preparation and training for the registration, ethics and risk assessment that all researchers must embark on when carrying out research within a university.


The School of Education and Communities provides a dedicated study and research space for doctorate students at the purpose-built education building - a facility that is a unique hub for research and training as well as a focal point for the community.

We offer you extensive support in a wide range of research and study skills, as well as guidance and specialist support through our Graduate School.

Research is structured around several research groups that cover a wide range of fields including language, diversity and multilingual education, leadership and management and early childhood education.

Studying for a Professional Doctorate with us is a unique opportunity to join an international research and learning community through local, collaborative research groups and centres.

 Your study will take a variety of forms, including face-to-face tutorials, seminars and group workshops, written assignments and poster presentations. You will also be well-supported in your independent study and the writing of your thesis.

You will also have the chance to present at conferences at the University of East London and to have your work published in our well-respected research journal, Research in Teacher Education. You will also be encouraged to present at national and international conferences as and when this is deemed appropriate.


At Stage One of the Professional Doctorate, you will be assessed via assignments (written and visual) and presentations. These will be marked by two members of the course team and moderated by an external examiner.

Stage Two consists of a 50,000-word thesis. You will be examined orally (viva voce) on your thesis by an internal and external examiner.

You must successfully complete all assessed elements before we can award you your Professional Doctorate degree. Students with disabilities and/or particular learning needs should discuss assessments with the Course Leader to ensure they are able to fully engage with all the elements of the course.


Stratford Campus

Stratford Campus, Water Lane, Stratford


The teaching team includes qualified academics, practitioners and industry experts as guest speakers. Full details of the academics will be provided in the student handbook and module guides.

Your research proposal

As part of the application process you will be expected to submit a research proposal of between 1500-2000 (not including references).

To find out more about how to write your research proposal, see our research proposal guidance.

What we're researching

Major areas of research within the School of Education and Communities include early childhood policy and practice, learning and teaching, language and diversity, work-based learning, teacher education, race and community, education equality issues, comparative education, professional education, social work knowledge and practice and Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL).


This doctorate course at the University of East London is designed for professionals who are working within a range of contexts. 

Research is a rapidly developing phenomenon, both nationally and internationally. This doctoral course is aimed at professionals and practitioners who would like to advance their own professional development in the areas of research, policy, curriculum development and professional practice.

It also gives you the opportunity to help improve institutional practice generally.

Studying for a Professional Doctorate at UEL's School of Education and Communities will benefit senior members of staff working in a variety of institutions, including social work settings, schools, colleges, universities, examination organizations and policy-related institutions.

Explore the different career options you can pursue with this degree and see the median salaries of the sector on our Career Coach portal.