University of Chester

Programme Specification
Doctor of Education EdD
2014 - 2015

Doctor of Education

Doctor of Education

Doctor of Education

University of Chester

University of Chester

Riverside campus

Professional Doctorate

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory,

3 years full-time, 5 years part-time

7 Years

Annual - September



17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Education & Children's Services Academic and Professional Programmes

National Framework for Higher Education Qualifications

University of Chester

Doctor of Education Programme Assessment Board

Sunday 1st November 2009

The programme reflects a national trend towards doctoral study in applied areas including Education where there are  more than 40 programmes in Education in UK HEIs.  Professional doctorates are  based on the premise that the issues and problems characterising professional activity benefit from the level of academic analysis represented by doctoral studies. This programme will reflect the commitment of the Faculty to the integration of practice development, research and teaching.  Both the curriculum for the EdD and its delivery will be underpinned by the UK Professional Standards Framework (UK PSF, Higher Education Academy, 2006) for teaching and supporting learning in Higher Education at this level.   The programme will articulate with the established CPD programmes in the Faculty at postgraduate and Masters levels and relevant programmes in the wider University.    Reflecting both national best practice and the research strengths of the Faculty, the curriculum is organised around five themes: critical reflection on and theorising about education and learning and teaching; empirical research; research into creativity, practice-based research and policy and transprofessional practice. 

The programme aims to:

  1. develop a capacity in students to identify, conceptualise and contextualise problems and initiatives in their professional practice ;
  2. produce reflective learners;
  3. enable students to generate evidenced solutions and approaches and to facilitate their innovation using these approaches ;
  4. enable students to critically evaluate the success of initiatives and the lessons to be learned from them;
  5. to take account of current legislation, to reflect national initiatives and changing contexts in relation to, for example, international dimensions and global issues.

Knowledge and Understanding
At level 7/M students will have achieved

  • the ability to undertake, in a self-directed manner, research that deals with complex issues concerning professional practice and/or organisational objectives
  • they will have used a variety of sources of knowledge/evidence and they will have exercised critical judgment in its application and arrived at new insights in relation to their professional practice and/or organisational understanding
  • knowledge of research methods applicable to their professional context which they will have critiqued and taken full cognisance of ethical implications
At level 8/D students will have achieved
  • advanced trans-disciplinary knowledge and understanding within the epistemological areas which underpin their professional practice and which places them at the forefront of this practice
  • the ability, through original research and/or advanced scholarship, to create and interpret new knowledge and to communicate this to others so that it satisfies peer review and merits publication
  • advanced understanding of research method as it applies to their area of professional expertise such that they can apply their understanding in new situations and contribute to the development of practice-based research techniques
  • the ability to conceptualise, design and implement research for the generation of new knowledge and/or for the advancement of professional practice, and to achieve this within the context of the social, political and ethical complexities of the professional environment

Thinking or Cognitive Skills
At level 7/M students will have achieved the ability to
  • analyse and synthesise information in such a way that it can be of use to them and others within the context of their professional practice
  • critically evaluate concepts, theories, research findings and other sources of knowledge and make informed judgments about their application in the context of professional practice
  • think and act critically to undertake self-reflection within the context of their professional practice and in such a way that it has advanced their self-understanding as a professional and as a person
At level 8/D students will have achieved the ability to
  • engage in critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis of new and complex ideas, enabling them to engage in dialogue with others on complex matters where alternative solutions to problems and practices are being sought
  • undertake deep level critical reflection in relation to their own and others' actions enabling them to arrive at new understandings and/or to plan and execute new approaches to professional practice and education
  • communicate ideas effectively to both specialist and non-specialist audiences demonstrating a command of their subject and/or area of professional practice
  • make independent judgments and manage their own learning within the context of a community of practice where they will regularly independently and with others critique and evaluate their own practice

Practical Skills
At level 7/M students will have achieved the ability to
  • deal systematically and creatively with complex issues and to apply their knowledge and understanding to professional/educational contexts
  • make sound judgments based on evidence and be able to communicate ideas effectively to others
  • learn and work independently as well as with others especially in solving problems and dealing with matters of professional practice
  • use existing and recently acquired knowledge in new professional contexts
At level 8/D students will have achieved the ability to
  • exercise a high level of personal responsibility and largely autonomous initiative in complex and unpredictable situations in professional contexts
  • take a leadership role in their field, demonstrating their confidence of mastery of a complex body of knowledge relating to their profession, with the ability to communicate it effectively to others both within and outside the work place
  • deploy resources relevant to their professional practice effectively in complex and sometimes new contexts taking into account social, political and ethical considerations

Key Skills
  • Communication - High levels of communication will be achieved through this programme (both written and oral), especially in the context of assessment tasks and the dissemination of research findings
  • Application of Number - An understanding of statistics and statistical analysis and its use in practical contextswill be achieved through research applications
  • Information Literacy and Technology - Development of skills in these areas will be achieved through the part-time nature of the programme and the consequent need to maintain contact with the University and its on-line resources
  • Improving own learning and performance - The high degree of motivation and independent learning required on this programme will ensure development in these areas
  • Working with others - With the work place as the common site of learning for students on this programme, development of this skill is assured. In addition,joint sessions on campus which will comprise multi-professionals
  • Problem solving - The focus of the programme is essentially around this area thus skill development in this context is assured

Transferable Professional Skills
A key aspect of the rationale for this programme is about continuing professional development and learning achieved in this context will inevitably have potential for transferability

The qualifications offered are in line with QAA (2001) The Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (FHEQ) and are compliant with the Integrated Qualifications Framework for the Schools Workforce

The programme is at Levels 7 and 8 of the FHEQ and the IQF and leads to a EdD [Doctor of Education].

There are six taught modules and one research module. Taught modules attract 40credits (20ECTS) (apart from PR7005 which is 60 credits) through 27 hours of tutor contact time through lectures, workshops and seminars within a total of 400 hours of student engagement. The research module is the thesis PR8004 and attracts 280 credits (150ECTS).

All modules are compulsory. 

Modules are constructed in three strands;

  1. Research

This strand comprises two modules to be studied sequentially: Research Methods for Professional Enquiry (PR7001) and Thesis in context (PR8001), followed by Thesis (PR8004).

2.         Theoretical Underpinning

This strand is made up of two modules to be taken sequentially: Social Theory and Education, Key Issues and Debates (PR7002), and Institutions, Discontinuities and Systems of Knowledge (PR8002), which are taken sequentially.

3.      Contextual and creative perspectives

This strand comprises two modules: Creativity in Practice (PR7005) and Policy Analysis for Integrated Services (PR7003). These modules do not have to be studied in sequence.

The final taught modules of the research strand, The Thesis in Context [PR8001] and Thesis [PR8004], are designated modules for the EdD award. 

Students have up to seven years to complete the EdD qualification.

Exit awards:

An exit award of a Master of Professional Studies (MProf) can be awarded to students who successfully complete 180 credits of Level 7/8 within the Education Doctorate

Re-entry to the EdD Programme:

Students with an MProf wishing to re-enter the programme will do so with 180 credit points at Level 7/8.  Such students will be required to undertake the following:

2x40 L8 modules of the programme (80credits @ L8)

Thesis (280 credits @ L8)

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
PR7001 7 Research Methodologies for Professional Enquiry 40 Comp
PR7002 7 Social Theory and Education: Key Issues and Debates 40 Comp
PR7003 7 Policy Analysis for Integrated Services 40 Comp
PR7005 7 Creativity in Practice 60 Comp
PR8002 8 Institutions, discontinuities and systems of knowledge 40 Comp
PR8004 8 Thesis 280 Comp

In order to gain a named award of a MProf students must successfully complete a minimum of 180 credit points at Level 7 and/or Level 8
In order to gain a named award of an EdD students must successfully complete 540credit points at Level 7 and Level 8.
Modules PR8001 Thesis in Context and PR8004 Thesis are designated modules for the EdD award.

Applicants to the Professional Doctorate route would normally be expected to have completed a Master's degree.

Applicants would be expected to demonstrate commitment to the programme and their ability to be able to apply learning in an appropriate environment.   This might be determined through such means as a preliminary statement of intention and/or an interview.


The programme conforms to the QAA (2008) Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (FHEQ) at Levels 8 (Doctoral level) & Level 7 (Masters level), as appropriate, assuring the achievements represented by the qualification is appropriate and represented consistently.

The programme is informed by the Professional values stated by the UK Professional Standards Framework:

  1. Respect for individual learners
  2. Commitment to incorporating the process and outcomes of relevant research, scholarship and/or professional practice
  3. Commitment to development of learning communities
  4. Commitment to encouraging participation in higher education, acknowledging diversity and promoting equality of opportunity
  5. Commitment to continuing professional development and evaluation of practice 
It is informed by the Core Knowledge and Areas of Activity of the UK Professional Standards Framework (UK PSF) (2006) at Standard 2 or above.

Qualifications at Professional Doctorate level are awarded to students who:             

  1. make a significant and original contribution to a specialised field of inquiry, demonstrating a command of methodological issues and engaging in critical dialogue with peers and accepting full accountability for outcomes (CIDG, August 2008)
  2. meet the Framework for Qualifications for the European Higher Education Area third cycle awards
  • have demonstrated a systematic understanding of a field of study and mastery of the skills and methods of research associated with that field;
  • have demonstrated the ability to conceive, design, implement and adapt a substantial process of research with scholarly integrity;
  • have made a contribution through original research that extends the frontier of knowledge by developing a substantial body of work, some of which merits national or international refereed publication
  • are capable of critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis of new and complex ideas;
  • can communicate with their peers, the larger scholarly community and with society in general about their areas of expertise; 
  • can be expected to be able to promote, within academic and professional contexts, technological, social or cultural advancement in a knowledge-based society.
  • [and have] knowledge and understanding [that includes] a systematic understanding of their field of study and mastery of the methods of research associated with that field;
  • [and] application of knowledge and understanding [through the] ability to conceive, design, implement and adapt a substantial process of research with
  • scholarly integrity...[that has] made a contribution that extends the frontier of knowledge by developing a substantial body of work some of which merits national or international refereed publication;
  • [and the ] ability to make judgements [through] critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis of new and complex ideas;
  • [the] ability to communicate with their peers, the larger scholarly community and with society in general about their areas of expertise;
  • [and] learning skills [through which they should be] expected to be able to promote, within academic and professional contexts, technological, social or cultural advancement.

Typically, holders of the qualification will be able to:

  1. make informed judgements on complex issues in specialist fields, often in the absence of complete data, and be able to communicate their ideas and conclusions clearly and effectively to specialist and non-specialist audiences
  2. continue to undertake pure and/or applied research and development at an advanced level, contributing substantially to the development of new techniques, ideas or approaches.
  3. demonstrate they have the qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring the exercise of personal responsibility and largely autonomous initiative in complex and unpredictable situations, in professional or equivalent environments. (QAAHE, August 2008)


The EdD will work within the framework of the University’s Teaching and Learning Strategy which defines four strategic aims:

  1.           to develop successful learners;
  2.           to design inclusive curricula;
  3.           to promote excellence in teaching practice;
  4.           to build institutional capacity for change.

The programme also reflects the Learning and Teaching Strategy for the Faculty of Education and Children’s Services which commits to pedagogical principles that:

  •           promote professional engagement and reflective practice;
  •           encourage independent and autonomous learning; and
  •           support continuing professional development.

and to principles of teaching that:

  •           value students’ professional experience and prior learning;
  •           support diversity and personalised learning;
  •           encourage dynamic and participative learning;
  •           promote collaborative learning;
  •           encourage Internet and Web-based approaches; 
  •           support reflective and Practitioner enquiry.

The main methods of teaching are:

  •           Lectures
  •           Workshops
  •           Tutor led seminars
  •           Group sessions
  •           Individual tutorials
  •           Independent study

Formative progress feedback is available during the modules.

The EdD programme adheres to the Assessment Policy of the Faculty of Education and Children’s Services. The programme adheres to the University’s policy for the assessment of students with disabilities or special circumstances.

General principles

  • Work is returned to students by post within four weeks of submission.
  • Extensions or deferrals can be granted if students produce documentary evidence of mitigating circumstances in support of their request.
  • Appeals against assessment decisions can logged in accordance with the University’s academic appeals regulations.  


All modules have a handbook; this is available to students via the dedicated module space on Sharepoint (The University’s VLE).

The module handbook includes information on:

  •           module aims and learning outcomes
  •           outline content
  •           assessment method (outlined below) which includes weighting
  •           dates and procedures for submission of work
  •           recommended reading session by session
  •           M level (level 7) & D level (level 8) assessment criteria
  •           information about plagiarism
  •           policy on late submission
  •           regulations relating to extensions and deferments
  •           regulations on appeals against assessment decisions

Marking Modules PR7001, PR7002, PR7003, PR70054, PR8001 and PR8002 are assessed through essays and research reports which will be marked and returned to student with written feedback from the module tutor. 

All such assessed work is marked using the University’s level 7 and 8 grading criteria linked to the QAA requirements for level 7 and 8. Level 7 criteria are well established and level 8 criteria have been developed and are consistent for all taught doctorates in the University.

All work is second marked in accordance with the University policy on second marking

Feedback to students is typed using a standard pro-forma. Feedback is given against the module learning outcomes and the 7 or 8 level criteria. Areas for improvement and development are identified. Feedback on the work is intended to identify strengths and points of development particularly to achieve a publishable standard.

Anonymous marking does not apply.

Where there is disparity between the first and second marker, a third marker adjudicates.  

Where the student is an employee of the University of Chester all of the student's work will be sent to an external examiner.

The thesis will be assessed following the University’s assessment regulations for research students. [See HANDBOOK G Research Supervision and Assessment of Students]  This includes assessment by presentation and viva voce examination

Supervisory arrangements will also follow the University’s regulations for research students.

The holder of a Doctor of Education award will be an advanced professional who has:

  • extensive knowledge and understanding of their field of professional practice
  • the ability to create and interpret knowledge such that it extends the forefront of a discipline or field of practice
  • undertaken original research and/or in-depth enquiry into an area of professional practice
  • conceptualised, designed and implemented projects for the generation of significant new knowledge and/or understanding
  • the ability to make informed judgments on complex issues in specialist fields taking account of social, political and ethical dimensions
  • the ability to be innovative in tackling and solving problems

The University of Chester is committed to the promotion of diversity, equality and inclusion in all its forms; through different ideas and perspectives, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. We are, in particular, committed to widening access to higher education. Within an ethically aware and professional environment, we acknowledge our responsibilities to promote freedom of enquiry and scholarly expression.

Some of the modules validated within this professional doctorate programme are designed such that they may be taught across the professional doctorate programme suite of the University of Chester.  The D. Prof in Health and Social Care shares modules PR7001, PR7003, PR8001 and PR8004.

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