Postgraduate study

Education PhD, MScR

Awards: PhD, MScR

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Education

The University of Edinburgh was ranked first in Scotland for research power in Education and Sport (THE Overall Ranking REF 2014) and we offer the largest concentration of researchers in education in a Scottish university, meaning you'll be supported by and collaborate with leaders in the field. Our research activities cover all aspects of education and learning - from pre-school to higher education and lifelong learrning.

Moray House School of Education and Sport staff provide supervision on a wide range of topics within the fields of:

  • Teacher Education
  • Pedagogy, curriculum and schooling
  • Outdoor Education
  • Social Justice and Inclusive Education
  • Comparative Education and International Development
  • Childhood and Youth Studies
  • Digital Education
  • Philosophy of Education
  • Language Education: Policy and Practice

Many opportunities exist for interdisciplinary research.

Research Thematic Hubs

With over 250 research staff and students, we have a vibrant and expanding research community with a broad portfolio of academic disciplines gathered within seven broad research themes with permeable boundaries. These thematic hubs are:

Research community

As a postgraduate research student you will join a vibrant Graduate School community with over 150 research students. There are also several opportunities for optional training and development throughout your studies.

Research students are encouraged to attend and actively engage with the activities of School research thematic hubs, which include seminars, meetings and workshops. In addition, several academic and social events for research students take place throughout the year. We organise an annual series of around 25 trainings, talks and seminar events, as well as the student-led ‘Interweaving’ conference for research students and staff.

Our research-based programmes - PhD and MSc by Research - allow you to make a significant contribution to knowledge in, and understanding of, your chosen field.

The PhD is a substantial piece of independent research which makes a contribution to the state of existing knowledge in the field. The PhD programme is designed to take three years full-time or six years part-time. The PhD is examined by submission of a thesis of up to 100,000 words and by oral examination.

We also offer an MSc by Research, taken one year full-time or two years part-time. This degree culminates in the submission of a thesis; the MSc by Research thesis is around 30,000 words.

You are encouraged to contact a potential supervisor to discuss your research project before making a formal application.

You may start your studies with us either on the 1st October or the 1st January of a year.

Students following the PhD degree are normally supported in their research by two supervisors. The first of these will be a member of staff who has expertise in the general area of your proposed research topic and the second will be another expert in the field who may come from within the School, University or a field of practice.

Most students who are accepted begin a period of research leading to a PhD, however, the first year of the PhD degree is probationary and progression to year two is dependent on satisfactory progress.

We offer a number of courses in research methodologies, which research students are encouraged to take during their first year.

PhD students work closely with their supervisors, who are recognised experts in the field. All PhD students pursue an individually tailored programme of research training agreed with their supervisors. Our postgraduate research programmes provide core training in the research skills necessary to flourish at doctoral level and beyond.

The PhD by Distance is available to suitably qualified applicants in the same areas as our on-campus programmes.

The programme allows students who are unable to commit to basing themselves in Edinburgh full time to study for a PhD from their home country or city, however, this is not intended to be a fully online distance learning programme.

For further information on the PhD by Distance option (including criteria for eligibility, required application form and how to apply) please visit the School website:

MSc by Research (MScR):

  • A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a related subject is normally required.

PhD:

  • A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a related subject is normally required.

  • Normally also a postgraduate degree with a 60% overall grade point average and 60% in the dissertation, or its international equivalent.

For any of the above programmes, you must also submit a research proposal that fits well with our staff expertise.

We may also consider your application if you have other qualifications or substantial experience; please contact us to check before you apply.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

For 2021 entry we will accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.5 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition): total 100 (at least 23 in each module). We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 176 in each module)
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
PhD3 YearsFull-timeTuition fees
PhD6 YearsPart-timeTuition fees
MScR1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MScR2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

Featured funding

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK's governments. The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on your programme, the duration of your studies, and your residency status. (Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.)

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Moray House School of Education and Sport
  • Old Moray House
  • Holyrood Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 8AQ
Programme start date Application deadline
1 October 2021 31 July 2021

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

You must submit two references with your application.

You must also submit a detailed research proposal using the following template:

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Moray House School of Education and Sport
  • Old Moray House
  • Holyrood Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 8AQ