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Doctorate in Education (D.Ed.)

The Doctorate in Education (D.Ed) is designed primarily to meet the needs of professionals within the Irish education system. It allows them to pursue doctoral level study in a structured manner which has informed professional practice as its primary focus.


Next intake for D.Ed. Applications will be 2021-22

For further information about the programme for the academic year 2021-22 please contact either:

Prof Andrew Loxley (programme director) or Fiona McKibben / Caroline Morgan (programme administrators)

The current D.Ed. programme for academic year 2019-20 is fully registered. The next intake for this programme will be for academic year 2021-22 and expressions of interest are welcome by email to Please note that the official application process will open in due course. 


The core aim of the D.Ed. since it began in 2005, as the first professional doctorate in education to be offered in an Irish University, is to enable students to question, challenge and to transform personal and professional knowledge in a deep and meaningful way that has direct impact on thought and practice.

The D.Ed. is specifically designed for senior and experienced practitioners from the field of education at all levels and sectors [schooling, further/adult education, higher education], educational administration, and those employed in allied fields such as in cultural institutes local and civic authorities and NGOs. It is focused on professionals who wish to develop their careers through undertaking innovative practice-focused research which is underpinned by a critical engagement with and application of the current and extant research literature in their fields.

As part of the School of Education's mission the D.Ed. encourages students to strive towards the highest levels of academic criticality through substantial peer interaction and engagement with academic staff in a supportive but scholarly challenging environment. We aim also to construct a strong sense of belonging to a cohort of mutually supportive professional inquirers and critical thinkers that will provide a social, professional and academic bond that assists each student in their persistence, determination and ambition to achieve this significant qualification.


The D.Ed. is a part-time programme. Students will normally be expected to complete the programme over a four year period through successful completion of five taught modules and a 60,000 70,000 word thesis.

Year One

On entry to the programme (Year One) students will be allocated their supervisor to enable work to begin on developing their research proposal in more detail. They will also attend and complete the first two taught modules: Core Module *1: Perspectives, Praxis & Power and Research for Fieldwork *1.

Year Two

Year Two aims to deepen and strengthen students' understanding and knowledge in research methodology and their specialist subject area through firstly their work with their supervisor and secondly, two further modules: Core Module *2: Imagination, Transformation & Learning and Research for Fieldwork *2.

Near the end of the second year, students are expected to formally present their research work to date at a 'confirmation interview'. The function of the confirmation, which is a requirement of all Trinity doctoral programmes, is to ensure that the student has progressed from point of entry onto the D.Ed. to a sufficient level to begin to undertake the substantive research element in Years Three and Four.

Years Three & Four

Having successfully negotiated the confirmation and the taught components the student will then move into the final stage of undertaking their research and produce their thesis. Additionally, during Year Three students will be required to undertake one 'advanced' research methodology module which will focus on data analysis and interpretation.

Teaching Methods

The teaching methods used on the D.Ed. modules are a mixture of seminars, workshops and student-led presentations. These non-didactic modes of teaching and learning are in themselves a reflection of the programme's philosophy, whereby students and course tutors are engaged in a critical dialogue with each other. One the strengths of the cohort nature of the programme, is that it can facilitate and encourage students to form a community of learners who can share and support each other's work in an atmosphere of mutual trust and openness.

The modules are designed to function integratively whereby the taught and research components are interlinked; that is, research will become part of the core modules through the assessment process and collaborative projects.

Each module has a total of between 28-32 hours contact time and 218-222 hours non-contact time which would be used for reading, seminar preparation and so on. Teaching will normally take place on Fridays in the late afternoon and early evening and Saturday mornings during College term time.

Beyond the group sessions, there is also the student's supervision time, which particularly at the early stages of the programme, is usually linked to the content of the taught modules. It is expected that over the lifetime of the programme students meet regularly (approximately once a month) with their supervisor to discuss all the different aspects of their research work. The appointed supervisor or supervisors in some cases, are normally experienced researchers and subject specialists who work closely with the student to guide and support their research to hopefully a successful conclusion.


Assessment of four of the five modules will take the form of written assignments (or equivalent) of 5000 words in length. The advanced research methodology module which taken in Year Three and is assessed in the form of a presentation. All modules are graded on a 'pass-fail' basis.

The confirmation has both written and oral components. With the former the student submits a written document of no more than 12,000 words, this is then discussed during the confirmation interview with a 'reader' who is usually an academic from within the School of Education. It is a requirement that the student passes both parts of the confirmation before registering for Year Three of the D.Ed.

The Thesis

The thesis will comprise of a piece of research of no more than 70,000 words in length. The scope, content and final presentation of the thesis will be a matter of negotiation between the student and her/his supervisors. The examination of the thesis will be undertaken in exactly the same manner as a Ph.D. that is as a viva voce examination.

Entry Requirements

The minimum entry requirements are:

  1. an appropriate masters level qualification or equivalent and;
  2. a minimum of three years experience in an educational or related context.

In addition to holding an appropriate masters level qualification, the entry process will also involve:

  1. the submission and approval of a research proposal that demonstrates the potential to work at doctoral level.

  2. interview with the course director and (potential) supervisor to discuss and evaluate the above proposal and student's suitability and potential for study at a doctoral level.

Programme Structure

Admission and Contact Information

For details regarding the next intake please contact the School of Education, Trinity College Dublin 2, Tel. 01 896 3583 or email Fiona McKibben or Caroline Morgan.