School of Education

  • Step 2 – Programmes, fees and entry requirements

    The following subsections outline the research degree courses we offer, what you can expect from the research degree programmes, the various research areas that can potentially be supervised, financial regulations, entrance requirements, and the different modes of study and programme lengths.

  • The degree for which you register as a research student will depend on your academic qualifications and research experience, as well as your own personal preferences. Please browse the following course titles for further information on the specific courses we offer.

    MA/MSc/LLM by Research

    • The MA/MSc/LLM by Research is awarded to a candidate who, having critically investigated and evaluated an approved topic and demonstrated an understanding of research methods appropriate to the chosen field, has presented and defended a thesis by oral examination to the satisfaction of the examiners.
    • The minimum programme length is one year full-time or two years part-time.
    • The maximum thesis length is 30,000 words.

    MPhil

    • The MPhil is awarded to a candidate who, having critically investigated and evaluated an approved topic and demonstrated an understanding of the research methods appropriate to the chosen field, has presented and defended a thesis by oral examination to the satisfaction of the examiners.
    • The minimum programme length is two years full-time or three years part-time.
    • The maximum thesis length is 50,000 words.

    MPhil with the possibility of transfer to a PhD

    • A candidate registered initially for an MPhil with the possibility of transfer to a PhD who wishes to transfer to PhD has to complete a transfer process within the Faculty. Transfer comprises three main elements: a transfer report; an oral presentation and/or interview, and an additional piece of work. This should be done when sufficient progress has been made on the work to provide evidence of the development to PhD.
    • The PhD is awarded to a candidate who, having critically investigated and evaluated an approved topic resulting in an independent and original contribution to the field and demonstrated an understanding of the research methods appropriate to the chosen field, has presented and defended a thesis by oral examination to the satisfaction of the examiners.
    • The minimum programme length is three years full-time or four years part-time.
    • The maximum thesis length is 100,000 words.

    PhD Direct

    • In exceptional circumstances direct registration for the degree of PhD may be permitted to an applicant who holds a Master’s degree awarded by a UK Higher Education Institution or an overseas Master’s degree of equivalent standard, provided that the Master's degree is recent and is in a closely related discipline which is appropriate to the proposed research and that the Master’s degree included training in research and the execution of a research project. The Faculty reserves the right to decide whether a candidate can register for a PhD direct.
    • The PhD is awarded to a candidate who, having critically investigated and evaluated an approved topic resulting in an independent and original contribution to the field and demonstrated an understanding of the research methods appropriate to the chosen field, has presented and defended a thesis by oral examination to the satisfaction of the examiners.
    • The minimum programme length is two years full-time or three years part-time.
    • The maximum thesis length is 100,000 words.

    PhD by Published Work

    • The University shall award the degree of PhD on the basis of published work to registered candidates whose submitted work forms a coherent programme of research, demonstrates the use of appropriate research methodology, and makes an original and sufficient contribution to the present state of knowledge in a particular field to the satisfaction of the examiners. The work submitted should reflect the same academic standards as those which operate for a traditional PhD based upon an approved programme of supervised research.
    • Applicants shall normally have had some prior association with Oxford Brookes University.
    • The minimum programme length is one year with a maximum of two years.
    • The submission for examination shall comprise the published work on which the application is based together with a supporting critical appraisal of this work. The critical appraisal should be between 7,500 and 15,000 words in length.

    The research degree fees for 2017/18 can be found here. Please note the research degree fees increase by approximately 4% each year.

    Any offer is subject to payment of the appropriate research student fees, each year, for the duration of the programme of research. In accepting this offer, you are accepting this financial agreement. The University Research Degree Regulations state in Section 2.5 that, “Before being accepted, self-funded students should provide evidence that they are able to adequately fund the whole of their research degree programme”, for example in the form of a letter from your bank confirming that you are of good financial standing and will be able to cover the cost of the fees for the duration of the programme. If your fees are to be paid by a Sponsor, Research Council Scholarship, or stated other method you should provide a letter from the sponsoring body confirming the award and its duration. Please be aware that all financial issues should be addressed before embarking on the programme.

    Please note that the research degree fees contribute to the costs of supervision, the central costs associated with the programme and the use of University facilities, as specified in the offer letter. Any additional costs associated with the research project must be borne by the student.

    Funding your studies

    Please see Research Degree Fees for information on the financial requirements of undertaking a research degree at Oxford Brookes University.

    Please be aware that funding opportunities are limited and competition for sources of funding for research degrees is strong. We recommend that you set aside plenty of time in advance of your proposed start date to research possible funding opportunities.

    Additional information can be found at the following links:

    Entry requirements can be found under Section 2 of the Research Degree Regulations

    Academic requirements

    • To register for an MA/MSc/LLM by Research, MPhil or MPhil/PhD applicants should normally hold a first or upper second class honours degree or equivalent. An application from a candidate holding qualifications other than those listed above shall be considered on the applicant's merits and in relation to the nature and scope of the programmes of work proposed.
    • For registration to a PhD direct, applicants should hold a recent Research-based Master’s degree in a closely related discipline which is appropriate to the proposed research and that the Master's degree included training in research and the execution of a research project.
    • For registration to a PhD by Published Work, applicants should have some prior association with Oxford Brookes University, hold a first or upper second class honours degree or equivalent, and have at least five years relevant experience at postgraduate level.

    English language requirements

    Applicants whose main language is not English must meet the Faculty’s English language requirements. The minimum IELTS score required for entry to the research degree programme is 6.5–7 overall. In addition, we require a minimum of 6.5 in each component of the test. We do not accept IELTS certificates that are over two years old. We are not required to test the English language ability of applicants who have completed a qualification equivalent to a UK degree which was taught in English in a majority-speaking country. Evidence of this must be provided (eg. Masters Certificate).

    It is very important that you are able to understand and use English well, so that you can benefit fully from your time at Oxford Brookes University. If you have any queries regarding acceptable English language qualifications, please contact Oxford Brookes International:

    Tel: +44 (0) 1865 483874
    Fax: +44 (0) 1865 484377
    pathways@brookes.ac.uk

    Residence requirements

    In exceptional circumstance you may register as a part-time research degree student at Oxford Brookes University and conduct part of your work outside of the UK. If you choose to register on this non-resident basis for a period of time:

    • You must be able to visit Oxford Brookes University for at least six weeks per year. This must be agreed by both the Postgraduate Research Tutor and your appointed Director of Studies at Oxford Brookes University.
    • An external supervisor or advisor of appropriate academic standing and with the necessary experience must be appointed in your local area. The University Research Degrees Committee must also be satisfied that there are adequate research facilities available outside of the UK.
    • As you would be registered at Oxford Brookes University, you would be awarded one research degree from Oxford Brookes.

    The Faculty reserves the right to decline an application from a candidate who wishes to conduct part of their work outside of the UK if there are concerns over supervision, attendance or the separation of the student from the research environment.

    You may register for most of our research degree programmes on either a full-time or part-time basis (however see Residence requirements).

    A full-time student must be able to devote a minimum of 35 hours per week over a 44-week year to their research. In addition, they should not undertake more than 20 hours per week paid employment or other commitments (including a maximum of six hours per week teaching, demonstrating, or other paid work directly related to their research training). A part-time student must be able to devote a minimum of 15 hours per week over a 44-week year to the programme of research.

    MPhil, MPhil/PhD and PhD students may take up to eight weeks holiday in each year, inclusive of normal public holidays. MA/MSc/LLM by Research students may take up to four weeks holiday in each year (pro rata for parts of a year), inclusive of normal public holidays. In each case the timing of the holidays must be agreed with by the supervisory team.

    The minimum length is listed by programme in the table below:

    Programme Full-time Part-time
    MA/MSc/LLM by Research one year two years
    MPhil two years three years
    MPhil/PhD three years four years
    PhD (direct entry) two years three years
    PhD by Published Work n/a one year
  • Frequently asked questions

  • The School of Education at Oxford Brookes University has rigorous standards for the acceptance of research degree students. Applicants are expected to have at least a 2:1 or equivalent in their undergraduate degree and a Masters degree of Merit level or above. Applicants must also meet the Faculty’s English language requirements (if applicable) and submit a well-developed proposal for their own research project.

    If you would like to be considered for a research degree you must apply online via the UCAS Postgraduate system (please contact the UCAS Postgraduate help desk for all enquires on, tel: +44 (0)871 334 4447).

    You must also supply all the required supporting documentation (detailed below). Omitting any supporting document will delay the application process.

    A complete application should include:

    1. A completed online UKPASS application form. In addition, the following documentation must either be uploaded along with your application or emailed separately to the following address UKPASS-PGR@brookes.ac.uk:
    2. A personal statement. It is important that you take time to complete this section in full and explain why you are applying for a place on the research degree programme. You also need to explain why you are interested in research the area or issue you intend and how it relates to your academic and career development.
    3. A provisional research proposal (1500–2000 words). There is no specified format for research proposals but the following areas are usually covered: introduction, literature review, previous experience of research area, how your research project will make an original and independent contribution to knowledge, details of research methods proposed to carry out the project, the aims/ objectives of the research project and even some possible research questions.
    4. A Curriculum Vitae (2 pages maximum)
    5. Two references, both of which should be academic. It is strongly suggested that at least one of your references should be from the supervisor of your Masters degree. You have the option of giving your referee access to your application in UKPASS so that they are able to attach their reference separately.
    6. Scanned, certified copies of your degree certificates or a transcript of your academic record to date.
    7. If English is not your main language, scanned copies of English language qualifications.
    8. Scanned copy of passport.
    International applicants who are not from an English speaking country and have not previously completed a qualification equivalent to a UK degree which was taught in an English speaking country (see the following website for details: www.brookes.ac.uk/international/apply/english/) must be able to demonstrate that their academic English is of a high standard. Applications will not be reviewed without an IELTS score (or equivalent). The Faculty’s minimum IELTS score required for entry to the research degree programme is 6.5–7.0 overall. In addition, we require a minimum of 6.5 in each component of the test. We do not accept IELTS certificates that are over two years old.

    There is no deadline for the receipt of research degree applications; you may apply at any time of year. You should be aware, however, that the enrolment dates are in January and September (ie. the start of Semesters 1 and 2). Whilst we recommend that you submit your application as early as possible, we will aim to process your application within eight weeks of receiving it although this may take longer during busier times of the year. Thus applicants need to apply at least eight weeks before their proposed start date unless you are an international student, in which case your application will require more time. (Please see below.)

    If you are an international student you will need to apply for a Tier 4 student visa in order to come to the UK as a student. Following changes to the UK immigration system in 2009, the University now issues a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). This is a unique reference number that students use when they make their visa application. The CAS is only issued to students in receipt of an unconditional offer to study at Oxford Brookes University. The Graduate Office recommends that international students require at least three months between receiving their unconditional offer and gaining the necessary visa. Therefore, if you are an international student please allow at least five months between submitting your application and your expected start date, to allow enough time to process your application.

    If studentships are being offered they will be advertised on the following website:

    Additional information can be found at the following links:

    The following links may also be of use:

    The Doctor of Education (EdD) is a professionally-focused, cohort-based doctorate, aimed primarily at experienced professionals working in education, health and related fields. It is an opportunity to pursue doctoral study in the context of your professional role, combining taught courses with independent research.

    The taught component comprises a number of assessed modules which take place on Saturdays throughout the year. The independent research component is led by specialist supervisors from the School of Education, who will help you to develop a research project in your chosen field.

    The programme is currently only available on a part-time basis. The minimum period of enrolment is 5 years.

    Please see here for further details: www.brookes.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/doctor-of-education/

    The MPhil/PhD can be studied full or part time and is research degree with no taught element.

    The PhD is awarded to a candidate who, having critically investigated and evaluated an approved topic resulting in an independent and original contribution to the field and demonstrated an understanding of the research methods appropriate to the chosen field, has presented and defended a thesis by oral examination to the satisfaction of the examiners.

    The minimum programme length is three years full-time or four years part-time.

    UK Border Agency visa rules state that International students will not be given visas to study for a part time degree. Therefore, our part-time PhD and Doctorate of Education (EdD) programmes are not open to International students.

    Home and EU students can study part time. The EdD is five year part-time doctoral programme. An MPhil/PhD should be completed in three years if full time, six years if part time.

    In highly exceptional circumstance you may register as a part-time research degree student at Oxford Brookes University and conduct part of your research outside of the UK. Normally a part-time research degree student is expected to be available to meet with their supervisors on a face-to-face basis regularly. If you choose to register on this non-resident basis for a period of time:

    You must be able to visit Oxford Brookes University for at least six weeks per year. This must be agreed by both the Postgraduate Research Tutor and your appointed Director of Studies at Oxford Brookes University.

    An external supervisor or advisor of appropriate academic standing and with the necessary experience must be appointed in your local area. The University Research Degrees Committee must also be satisfied that there are adequate research facilities available outside of the UK.

    As you would be registered at Oxford Brookes University, you would be awarded one research degree from Oxford Brookes.

    The MPhil can be research degree in its own right but it is also a recognised preliminary stage for PhD study.

    MPhil

    An MPhil is awarded to a candidate who, having critically investigated and evaluated an approved topic and demonstrated an understanding of the research methods appropriate to the chosen field, has presented and defended a thesis by oral examination to the satisfaction of the examiners.

    The minimum programme length is two years full-time or three years part-time.

    The maximum thesis length is 50,000 words.

    PhD

    A PhD is awarded to a candidate who, having critically investigated and evaluated an approved topic resulting in an independent and original contribution to the field and demonstrated an understanding of the research methods appropriate to the chosen field, has presented and defended a thesis by oral examination to the satisfaction of the examiners.

    The minimum programme length is three years full-time or four years part-time.

    The maximum thesis length is 100,000 words.

    Another route available to applicants who hold D-level credit is the PhD Direct, where the MPhil criteria have already been fulfiilled.

    In some cases applicants may be accepted as research students via the PhD Direct route. This applies in cases where:

    • applicants already hold some doctoral-level credit (for example, having successfully completed the taught elements of a professional doctorate)
    • applicants have recently successfully completed a Masters by Research and wish to extend this research project to doctoral level.

    This is an unusual route and applicants wishing to be considered for PhD Direct must meet one or both of these specific criteria and have the approval of the postgraduate research tutors before being considered for this programme. The minimum enrolment period for PhD Direct is 2 years full-time and 3 years part-time.

    We hold Postgraduate Fairs for prospective students.

    The Doctorate of Education (EdD) also runs Information Sessions throughout the year. Please keep an eye on the website for future events

    We also offer campus tours throughout the year

    Yes you will need to provide two references, both of which should be academic. It is strongly recommended that one of the references is from the supervisor of your Masters degree. You have the option of giving your referee access to your application in UKPASS so that they are able to attach their reference separately.

    You will also need to supply scanned, certified copies of your degree certificates or a transcript of your academic record to date.

    Early application is recommended, especially if you are an International student who will need to arrange a visa. In this case, it is recommended that you allow five months for the entire process.

    We aim to process all applications within eight weeks of receiving your completed application form, research proposal, references and supporting documents. You may register at the start of the September or January term, although we recommend a September start, particularly for overseas students.

    The Postgraduate Research Tutors will discuss your application with an appropriate member of staff (ie. one who shares a similar research interest to yourself) before making a decision. If the admissions panel decide that your application shows sufficient academic potential, and that there is a good match between your research interests and supervisory capacity in the School of Education, you will be invited for interview. International and overseas applicants, and even some Home applicants, are often interviewed using Skype or telephone. EdD applicants are expected to attend a formal interview at the Harcourt Hill campus.
    We strive to make a decision within eight weeks of receiving your application. Please note, however, that decisions may take longer during busier periods of the academic year. If you are then offered a place and you are an International student you will need to allow an additional three months to apply for a student visa. International students therefore will need to allow five months in total for the entire process.
    A letter should be provided by your bank confirming that you are of good financial standing and will be able to cover the cost of the fees and living expenses for the duration of the programme.
    We would expect you to confirm your acceptance within four weeks, and will hold your place open for that length of time. Deposits are not required by Oxford Brookes. You start paying your research degree fees when you enrol.

    Please see the Social Activities page that details various ways to make contact with other students, such as Global Buddies and the Facebook group for International students.

    /student/services/isas/socialhome.html

    The EdD runs Information sessions throughout the first part of the calendar year which allows opportunities to meet current students. Please keep an eye on the website for details.

    There are also various social events run throughout the year organised by the Faculty and School of Education which is a good way to meet fellow students in the SoE and also from other disciplines.

    There are also various Induction events that current students often attend to share their experiences with new students.

    We warmly welcome applications in the following five thematic areas. We recognise that proposals might overlap more than one thematic area and may not fit neatly into the categories outlined below, so we welcome enquiries that are largely encompassed within these areas.

    Childhood, Families and Community

    The supervisory capacity in this thematic area includes:

    • Children’s environmental experience and learning
    • Learning outside the classroom
    • The school environment
    • Progressive education
    • Global and citizenship education
    • Geographical and environmental education
    • The psychology of learning with a focus on the development of thinking skills
    • Literacy difficulties
    • Organisational issues for inclusive education with a focus on multiprofessional collaboration
    • Use of ICT to support the learning of young children
    • Young children’s thinking
    • Moral education and citizenship
    • Educational historical analysis in relation to current concerns and contexts
    • 14–19 education and training

    Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment

    The supervisory capacity in this thematic area includes:

    • The philosophy of education
    • E-Learning
    • Digital literacies
    • Programme and project evaluation
    • Professional knowledge, development, methodology and reflexivity in the Education Sector
    • Institutional innovation and change
    • The Socio-political impact of learning in digital environments
    • Qualitative and quantitative research design
    • Primary and secondary science
    • Meta-cognition
    • Vocational versus academic pedagogy
    • The use of ICT to enhance teaching and learning
    • Arts pedagogies
    • Primary and Secondary Music
    • School-based mentoring
    • Community development education
    • Enquiry-based learning
    • Activity Theory
    • Pedagogic research
    • Creativity in education
    • Creative writing
    • Academic writing
    • Literary studies
    • Internationalisation
    • HE Pedagogies
    • The sociology of education
    • Educational assessment
    • Social and professional identities
    • Inclusive education
    • Primary and secondary geography
    • Education policy
    • Educational leadership and management
    • Primary and Secondary English Education
    • Shakespeare in the National Curriculum
    • Cross-curricular language and literacy
    • Primary and secondary maths
    • Cross curricular languages, literacy and oracy
    • The classroom
    • Inclusion and special needs
    • Educational development

    Educational Purposes, Ethics and Beliefs

    The supervisory capacity in this thematic area includes:

    • Philosophy of education, particularly from the perspectives of hermeneutics, phenomenology and continental philosophy
    • History of education
    • Memory and ethics in education
    • Popular culture in education
    • Gifted and talented education
    • The ethics of gifted education
    • High ability in vocational areas
    • The history of ideas on ‘giftedness’
    • The psychology of learning
    • Inclusion
    • Educational leadership
    • Doctoral pedagogies
    • Moral education and citizenship

    Learning, Identity and Culture

    The supervisory capacity in this thematic area includes:

    • Shakespeare in the National Curriculum
    • Cross-curricular language, literacy and oracy
    • Teachers’ identities
    • Internationalisation
    • Qualitative and quantitative design, analysis and methods
    • Educational innovation
    • Co-constructed pedagogy
    • Critical discourse in the classroom
    • Primary and secondary art education
    • Cultural entitlement for young people
    • Arts theory and education
    • The ‘creative’ educator and the creative learner
    • Creative writing
    • Applied linguistics
    • Bidialecticism
    • Bilingualism
    • Teaching English to Speakers of Other Language (TESOL)

    Partnership, Policy and Leadership

    The supervisory capacity in this thematic area includes:

    • The management of change
    • Professional development and leadership
    • Evaluating impact
    • Institutional innovation and change
    • Learning and leadership
    • The management of educational diversity
    • Insider research
    • Practitioner research
    • Community development education
    No. We require the application form and all the supporting documentation detailed above. (see How to apply above)
    You can pay your tuition fees in full at the start of the academic year or in two equal installments at the start of each semester, in September and January.
    Yes, a Masters degree of Merit or above is normally required. In exceptional circumstances, the admissions panel may agree to consider an application from a candidate who can demonstrate academic skills and experience equivalent to M-level. Such applicants must be able to show evidence of a high level of academic achievement and, crucially, established competence in both the principles and practices of educational research, as well as in academic criticality and writing.
    A full-time PhD should take three to four years to complete. A part-time PhD should take four to five years.
    There are some postgraduate accommodation blocks on offer, however there is no guarantee that they will remain entirely postgraduate blocks throughout your stay. Further information about our accommodation.

    Obtaining a visa is the applicant’s responsibility. Following changes to the UK immigration system in 2009, the university will no longer be issuing visa letters for students to obtain entry clearance. We will now be issuing a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS).

    Please see these pages for all the up-to-date advice on applying for your visa

    The International Student Advisory Service pages have plenty of information and advice that are worth reading, see:

    You should be able to work up to a maximum of 20 hours a week. It is very important that you never work more than the maximum hours allowed, even for just one week, as this would be a breach of your immigration conditions and a criminal offence.

    Please see this page for further information: /student/services/isas/work.html

    Brookes is known for its excellent teaching and friendly, supportive environment. In addition, 70% of Educational Research in the School of Education has been judged to be of International significance (RAE 2008) and it is anticipated that that this will be even higher for the current UK research review (REF 2014).

    Please see this page: www.brookes.ac.uk/school-of-education/courses/research-degrees/step-1

    All applications and admissions are handled by the postgraduate research tutors, and it is not necessary to contact potential supervisors prior to making an application. However, the research interests of individual academic staff may be viewed on the School of Education Research Blog, and on individual staff webpages. It is essential that you check whether your specific research interests can be adequately supervised by consulting these webpages in the first instance. If this looks likely, you should submit a provisional research proposal, as described in Q.2.3.

    You may request to defer your offer for up to one year. This request must be approved by your proposed Director of Studies and the Postgraduate Research Tutor. If you have been awarded funding you should be aware that there may be implications to your award should you request to defer, and this should be checked with the sponsoring body.

    We strongly advise applicants request to defer their offer prior to their expected start date and not retrospectively. If your request to defer is supported by your proposed Director of Studies and the Postgraduate Research Tutor you will be issued with a formal offer letter confirming your revised start date.