Online course details

Study options

Part-time: 4-6 years

Course level




Start date




Online course description

If you’re a working professional committed to extending your understanding and improving your practice, the Doctor of Education (EdD) is an excellent choice.

Education in its broadest sense

Our Doctor of Education (EdD) has a broad appeal: you do not have to be a teacher, tutor or lecturer to benefit. The programme is relevant to professionals engaged in learning, teaching, coaching, development, education policy and administration in a vast range of occupations and settings. 

Our students work in education establishments, health and social care, commercial management and training, organisational development and improvement, business and the voluntary sector.

Research with real impact

This is an intellectually challenging programme which stimulates your professional thinking. We will equip you to undertake a substantial, robust research project in the context of your own practice.

Directly relevant to your working role, your independent study enables you to create and interpret new professional knowledge, support innovative approaches and improve quality. It yields significant benefits for your organisation and your own potential for further career development.

Structured for success

The first two years of the programme are designed to build your skills and confidence to engage in doctoral level study and to research your professional field. Individual tutorials offer essential guidance to steer your progress and thought-provoking seminar groups enable you to share experiences with fellow students from a wide range of backgrounds.

This provides a firm foundation for your independent research during years three to six as you develop your thesis under the supervision of a Director of Studies.

Academic rigour and expertise

Our Doctor of Education (EdD) is delivered by experienced tutors and supervisors who have expertise across all educational spheres and regularly publish their work. They will keep you abreast of latest thinking and challenge your perceptions.

The programme draws on the cutting-edge educational research for which the University is renowned. Conducting influential studies on everything from early years to adult learning, we provide consultancy for Government, schools and the wider education sector. It means your learning will be underpinned by innovative ideas which are changing the face of the education professions.

Course duration

This course is available to study online and part-time only. To complete the professional doctorate you will need to complete two 60-credit modules and an Independent Research for Practice module (420 credits). 

What you will study

Developing Strategies and Skills for Professional Doctoral Research and Study (60 credits)

This is the first stage of the course and usually takes two years to complete. The module is designed to enable professional doctoral students to understand and engage with doctoral level education and access a wide literature review to underpin your studies and gain knowledge of your specialist field. You will be encouraged to develop interdependent networking relationships with relevant professional associations, special interest groups, and societies, and to contribute work to conferences and publications, with the intention of disseminating your work to a wider audience. 

Philosophy and Practice of Research (60 credits) 

This module will examine the nature of research and in particular educational research in order to prepare you for the final Independent Research (Thesis) stage. This will lead to an understanding of fundamental epistemological concepts in educational research. Contemporary debates about the validity of alternative approaches to educational research such as ‘biased’, ‘auto/biographical’, ‘evidence-based’ and ‘action’ research will be explored.

Specific and appropriate methodologies and statistical approaches will be examined in relation to the requirements of your individual research projects. The module will enable you to make clear, informed decisions about the application of your selected research methodology within your professional field.

The module is located within the Theory for Practice component of the EdD programme and, as such, has its own assessment which will take the form of an extended essay which will be the basis for the Methodology chapter of your final Independent Research study.

Independent Research in Practice (420 credits)

Independent Research for Practice forms an essential, integral and substantial part of the professional doctorate. You will have entered the programme with knowledge of your chosen research area and, through the Theory for Practice phase, developed your research strategies in preparation for this module. You will have also crafted your Research Proposal documentation in preparation for moving into the Independent Research phase. The aim of this module is the preparation of a substantial piece of research which will ultimately form the thesis element of the doctorate.

The length of the thesis will be between 50,000 words. This length determines the amount of data which can realistically be handled. You will also have to demonstrate clarity of academic writing appropriate to doctoral level study. Every candidate for the professional doctorate will undertake a viva voce examination following the submission of the thesis for assessment by two independent examiners. The purpose of the viva voce examination is to enable you to demonstrate command of the field of enquiry, to articulate ideas and arguments in a challenging academic setting.

You will be supervised by two qualified supervisors from your field of study throughout this period.

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

Student wearing headphones at a laptop participating in an online webinar

Discovering Online Learning Webinar: December 2022

Thursday, 8 December 2022 12.00 - 13.00

During this hour-long webinar, we'll take you through how online learning works and what you can expect as an online learner with the University of Derby Online Learning.

Book your webinarBook your webinar

How you will learn

Delivered entirely online, you will access course resources and study materials, seminars and tutorials through our virtual learning environment. This will enhance your learning experience, as you will learn both with and from your peers and academic staff.

How you are assessed

Assessments provide a variety and range of tasks which go beyond the requirements of the academic essay. These facilitate professionals such as yourself in articulating and disseminating your expertise.

Over the course of the whole programme, you will undertake the following:

Who will teach you


Entry requirements

You will usually hold a masters award in an appropriate academic field, and have significant experience of work within your professional practice (usually two years minimum).

You should have high levels of competence in English. If necessary, this should be demonstrated by IELTS 6.5.

All suitable applicants will be interviewed.

As this course is delivered online, it is also open to international students. 

Fees and funding

2023/24 Fees (August 2023 - July 2024)

UK/EU/International £3,200 per year

Please note fees normally increase in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees, which is reviewed on an annual basis. The total fee you pay may therefore increase after one year of study.

Funding your studies

Find out more about fees, postgraduate loans and support you may be entitled to.

Find out about funding your studiesFind out about funding your studies

Alumni discount for Derby graduates

We offer a discount on postgraduate course fees for all Derby alumni.

Find out about the Alumni discountFind out about the Alumni discount

How to apply

Please look at our application deadlines before you apply.


Our students choose this programme as a crucial part of their personal and professional development. You will gain impressive skills in research, analysis, critical and strategic thinking which will enhance your performance in your current role while paving the way to further career opportunities. The doctorate is often a stepping stone to more senior leadership roles.

You will also have the satisfaction of contributing to the body of professional knowledge in your specialist area, raising your profile and status.

“An excellent opportunity to not only research, but to research in your field of practice.”
Kuldeep Banwait, current student

Contact us

Contact the University of Derby Online Learning:

Contact usContact usFrequently asked questionsFrequently asked questions

† Additional information about your studies

Part-time online only. Minimum of four years. Normal registration period is six years.