Doctorate in Education (EdD)

The Doctorate in Education (EdD) is a part-time programme designed to offer high quality research training and career development for professionals employed in a broad range of areas related to education. By providing a detailed understanding of research techniques and enabling students to relate theoretical concepts to their professional field, the programme aims to enable students to critically reflect on their professional contexts as well as explore and understand the research and values that inform practice.

If you would like to learn more about pursuing your EdD research at the IoE, please click here.

(Please note that if you are applying to do an EdD, a supervisor will be allocated to you by the programme.)


EdD Alumni

Read on to see what some of our EdD alumni think about their time at the IoE and what they have been up to since their graduation.


Dr. Catherine Foley

Title of thesis: Girls’ perceptions of mathematics: An interpretive study of girls’ mathematical identities

Year of Graduation: 2016

Research focus: My EdD thesis explored girls’ perceptions of mathematics and how they make sense of their mathematical identity, using a mosaic of qualitative methods to gain insight into their positioning as mathematicians.

Why choosing to do EdD at the IoE: I chose the EdD route as I wanted to develop my own professional practice as well as exploring an area I was passionate about in depth. The structure of the EdD at the Institute of Education allowed me to develop my confidence in reading, writing and researching at doctoral level, and I particularly enjoyed the regular opportunities to meet with other students across a wide range of backgrounds. As a full-time working parent, a highlight for me was the insightful and supportive supervision which challenged me whilst understanding that doctoral research was only part of my daily life.

Career: I currently work at the University of Reading’s Institute of Education as Programme Direct of our Primary School Direct initial teacher training programme, and aspire to ensure that every beginning teacher in our care enters the profession as a well-informed, empathetic and enthusiastic teacher of mathematics.


Dr. Fiona Curtis

Title of thesis: Keeping it real: An action research investigation into the use of manipulatives in the secondary maths classroom

Year of Graduation: 2015

Research focus: As a secondary school mathematics teacher, I was very concerned about the struggle my students had with algebra. For my EdD, I designed an action research project (meaning I researched my own teaching) and found out that although manipulatives seemed to have a role in engaging students and helping them understand algebra, their test results were not improved. However, the research gave me greater understanding of students’ attitudes to challenge.

Why choosing to do EdD at the IoE: I chose an EdD rather than PhD as I felt there was a recognition of the relevance of my professional knowledge already accumulated. I really appreciated the diverse modules of an EdD rather than PhD, so that in Part A of the EdD programme, I studied so much more than the focus I finally chose for my thesis in Part B. I was exposed to new and thought-provoking ideas, such that it was not unusual for me to start an essay with one point of view and have the completely opposed view by the end!

Career: I found the mental challenge of doing an EdD so stimulating that I hung around the place (University of Reading’s Institute of Education), and am now a lecturer in Education here.


Dr. John Knight

Title of thesis: Square pegs in round holes: A study of student identity in a high aspiration international school environment

Year of Graduation: 2022

Research focus: The research explored the very high attendance rates at university by students from international schools in comparison to national figures in United Kingdom schools. The study explored the reported feelings of stress and anxiety by students due to the narrow options they felt were open to them and the worry this gave around perceptions of downward social mobility if they pursued an alternative pathway.

Why choosing to do EdD at the IoE: The EdD suited me as the first two years taught me the research skills necessary to undertake a thesis from the third year. The structure at Reading really worked well as the study weekends in the first two years allowed me to take time out from my day job to be a student again and I benefited from being part of a class that were on a journey together and gave me a network of other EdD students. The Reading advantage was the strength of the lecturers who were very knowledgeable, but also very approachable throughout the years of study.

Career: My EdD studies enabled me to choose an area of study that was important to my work, and as a school leader the findings of my research could then be used directly where I work. I have enjoyed sharing the findings of my research in my school and changing some of our approaches as a result of some of the findings. I will now look to share my research more widely at conferences in the coming months.


Dr. Louise Pagden

Title of thesis: Free school Policy Enactment in two case-study schools: Motivation, vision and reality

Year of Graduation: 2016

Research focus: The thesis focuses on two case-study Free schools in England: one championed by a consortium of churches and a fourth-sector organisation; the other spear-headed by parents. The study is longitudinal in nature and the data have been collected over two years: the first set of data was collected in the year prior to the schools opening and the second set at the end of the first year of operation. The thesis examined the extent to which the schools were able to achieve their initial visions, as well as the enabling and disabling factors. Within the study, both systems theory and institutional theory were applied to understand the schools’ situations.

Why choosing to do EdD at the IoE: I chose to do an EdD, rather than a PhD for two key reasons: firstly I was unsure of the focus of my thesis and wanted a chance to explore educational issues in more depth; secondly I wanted to embark on doctoral study as part of a group. I found the taught elements fascinating and inspiring – I never imagined I would ever go on to study leadership and management for my thesis!

Career: Since completing my doctorate, I became the leader of the undergraduate teacher training programme at the University of Winchester (UK) where we have 700 students on roll. More recently, I was appointed the co-director of the Institute of Education at the University of Winchester. I have also spoken at a number of international conferences on the topic of my thesis. My research now predominantly focuses on supporting the education of refugee and asylum seeking children and I am collaborating with European colleagues on a number of projects.