Institute of Education

Doctor of Education

Course Code:
Course Type:
NFQ Level:
Delivery Mode:
4 years
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700 9177
Stage 1 pre-applications are now closed, and Stage 2 applications are open for successful pre-applicants until 14th June

The Doctor of Education (EdD) programme is a professional doctorate and research degree for experienced professionals from education and related fields (e.g. health education, speech and language therapy, psychology). It attracts students nationally and internationally from a variety of sectors including Early Childhood, Primary Education, Secondary Education, Further Education, Higher Education, Support Services, Management Services, System level leadership, and Industry. As such students stand to benefit from the cross-sectoral interdisciplinary nature of the programme. 

The Professional Doctorate is designed for those who would like to extend their professional learning through research with a view to transformation of practice, a contribution to the field and enhanced understanding of the discipline, whilst meeting the requirements of rigour and originality expected of a doctorate. It aims to enhance students’ professional learning through supporting students to use research and scholarship to address identified gaps, issues, problems of practice, policy and /or context and to become leaders in their field and discipline.

The programme situated within Ireland’s only full Faculty of Education, DCU Institute of Education, draws upon two decades of professional doctorate studies.  Students will get to work alongside senior researchers and leading experts in their fields and sectors. They will work with  supervisors with expertise in their area of interest to generate new and original research. 

The Professional Doctorate in the Institute of Education prides itself on being a member of the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED) which is an network of 135+ education institutions focused on professional doctorates in education. DCU Institute of Education is the only member institution outside of the USA.  CPED is a professional development network which provides support for students and faculty alike in terms of programme design, annual conferences, weekly and monthly events and opportunities for collaboration and publication. CPED “envision a future where equity-minded educational professionals lead lasting and positive change for the learning and benefit of everyone”.  

Within the DCU Institute of Education, students have the opportunity to collaborate with other EdD students and PhD students through the Research in Progress Seminars held fortnightly each semester and the annual Postgraduate Research Unconference held annually. These afford students opportunities to talk about their research as it unfolds and to learn from others who are on a similar journey.  Other supports include the DCU writing centre, library support and graduate training opportunities by the Graduate Studies Office in DCU.  

In addition to being cross sectoral and inter-disciplinary the Professional Doctorate students also focus their studies in one of the following broad Areas of Professional Focus:

  • Digital Learning
  • Education for Sustainable Futures
  • Inclusive and Special Education
  • Leadership and Evaluation
  • Professional Learning and Teacher Education

This allows students to develop an in-depth knowledge and understanding in an Area of Professional Focus while at the same time help them to situate their emerging perspectives within national and international discourses with a view to shaping and giving direction to existing and emerging policy and practice agendas. During the first two years, students engage in two modules focusing on their Area of Professional Focus, and five core modules which all students attend together.


Further Area of Professional Focus information »

It is also intended that the participants will have an opportunity to:

  • Situate their learning and research within their own professional practice 
  • Develop problem-solving skills for authentic and critical problems of practice in partnership with others;
  • Apply their learning to their professional practice and/or context;
  • Develop project management and time management skills; 
  • Develop and enhance their leadership potential as well as the skills appropriate for collaboration, networking, and teamwork and communication skills;
  • Develop interpersonal and intra-personal reflective capacities, critical and analytical skills and presentational skills;
  • Extend their knowledge of and expertise in competing and complementary research paradigms and genres (including philosophical approaches to enquiry);
  • Critique policy frameworks and their application in the interrogation of policy documents and/or; international contemporary issues and the manner in which these are refracted nationally within educational discourses;
  • Critically engage with published research, become highly skilled in academic writing and publishing for a variety of educational audiences.

The programme, offered within DCU's Institute of Education includes assessed taught courses, research-focused workshops and supervised original research.

Course Structure

Our part-time EdD programme is typically over four years with the first two years involving a taught programme and the final two years focused on research under the guidance of your supervisor(s). 

The Doctor of Education programme is a blended learning programme with a mix of on-campus and online sessions. Building community and cohort solidarity is an important aspect of the programme and therefore year one starts with an on campus summer school in August, where students get to meet their colleagues and faculty in a supportive environment. The online aspect of the programme consists of a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous learning to facilitate flexible learning periods, interactive and self-directed learning, reflection and meaningful critical conversations. An online platform (Loop) is available for access to material from on campus and online sessions.

August 19th - 23rd On Campus
September 27th / 28th On Campus
November 1st / 2nd Online
December 6th / 7th On Campus
January 24th / 25th Online
March 7th / 8th Online
April 11th / 12th On Campus

Year 1 2024/2025 

  • Week long Summer School on campus August 2024 (week beginning August 19th) 
  • Semester One: Two weekends on campus and one weekend online. 
  • Semester Two: One weekend on campus and two weekends online. 

Weekends typically consist of Friday evening lectures 4.30 - 8.30 and Saturday lectures 9.00 - 6.00 pm. 

Modules (65 credits)

  • Professionalism and Leadership in Education and Training, 15 credits (Summer school module)
  • Area of Professional Focus Module 15 credits 
  • Policy Analysis, 15 credits
  • Research Methods 1: Qualitative Research Skills 20 credits

Year 2 2025/2026 (55 credits) 

6 weekends Friday and Saturday between September and April


  • Area of Professional Focus Module 15 credits 
  • Research Methods 2: Quantitative Research Skills for Data Informed Decision Making 20 credits
  • Research Methods 3: Developing a Thesis Proposal 20 credits

Year 3 2026/2027 120 credits

  • Research Thesis

Year 4 2027/2028 120 credits

  • Research Thesis

The Institute of Education at DCU represents the largest critical mass of education expertise on the island of Ireland. It  provides initial teacher education and continuous professional development for teachers and educators at all stages of the educational continuum. It seeks to provide opportunities for educators in a diverse range of environments - including schools, healthcare, industrial and commercial settings - to engage with research and ideas that will allow them transform their professional practice. 

Graduate Studies are central to the mission of the Institute. Masters and doctoral students, on both taught and research programmes, make up one quarter of DCU's student body, and are the most diverse group in the University.

Mature students, international students and part time students are all highly represented and contribute to the rich learning environment within the Institute and across the University more generally.

Community based organisations
Government Agencies
Health Sector
Human Resource Management
Non Governmental Organisation

The Doctor of Education is intended for experienced professionals who wish to take on leadership roles and make a significant contribution to the enhancement of professional practice in education and related fields.


Applications for this programme will open on the 1st of November 2023  Please contact for an application form. Closing date for receipt of completed application forms is the 29th March 2024.

General Entry Requirements:

The minimum entry requirements for the programme is a second class or higher Master's degree (or equivalent) in education or a specific discipline area appropriate for one of the Areas of Professional Focus.

All candidates are typically required to have a minimum of five years professional experience or hold a position of responsibility for at least five years related to the chosen Area of Professional Focus.

In exceptional circumstances only, candidates for a Professional Doctorate degree who do not meet the stipulated entry requirements based on their cognate degree but who can demonstrate exceptional ability or aptitude for academic research may apply to pursue studies for a research degree. They may base their application on recognition of their accredited or experiential prior learning, in line with University policies in this regard.

For further information on this please contact


Postgraduate Research


Part time

EU Status Fee Part-time

In years one and two the fee is €5,500 per annum, in subsequent years the fee reduces to €2,942 per annum, consistent with the postgraduate research student fee structure.

Non EU Fee Part time

In years one and two the fee is €10,400 per annum, in subsequent years the fee reduces to €6,000 per annum, consistent with the postgraduate research student fee structure.


Postgraduate Research


Part time

EU Status Fee Part-time
In years one and two the fee is €5,500 per annum, in subsequent years the fee reduces to €2,942 per annum, consistent with the postgraduate research student fee structure.
Non EU Fee Part time
In years one and two the fee is €10,400 per annum, in subsequent years the fee reduces to €6,000 per annum, consistent with the postgraduate research student fee structure.

Next Steps

Applications for this programme open on November 1st 2023. Please contact for an application form. Closing date for receipt of completed application forms is March 29th, 2024.

How to Apply:

Please contact to express an interest in the programme. When the application process for the 2024 intake of the programme opens you will automatically be sent an application form.

Following receipt of completed pre-applications, suitable applicants will be invited for an interview in April - May 2024. Successful applicants will then apply through the Student Application Portal.

All applicants must submit the following documentation:

Certified academic transcripts for all years of study at college or university in original language, with certified English translations;

Letter of approval from the Institute of Education.

Draft Research Proposal

Academic Letter of reference

Applicants are advised to make your application as early as possible to ensure documentation validation is complete.

If you need a study visa and are a Non EU student, you are not eligible to apply for part-time programmes as study visas are only granted for full-time programmes.


Opening and Closing Date:

Stage 1 pre-applications are now closed

Stage 2 applications are open for successful pre-applicants until 14th June