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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. The programme is not intended to compete with the traditional PhD, but represents a different route to developing both domain specific knowledge and a high level of competence and expertise in undertaking research.

D.Ed. Applications for 2018 / 2019

We are delighted to announce details of the new D.Ed. intake for 2018/19.

We are accepting students for 2018/19 in Higher Education.

The course will start in September 2018.

Applications are now open, and will close on 31 May 2018.

The procedure is as follows:

  1. Candidates must first send an expression of interest for their area of choice (specifying whether it is HE or AE) and outlining their ideas for a research proposal, via email to:
  2. After consideration of your expression of interest, you may be advised to make a full application.
  3. Your application will be made online. Application forms can be found on the Academic Registry website and your application must be submitted on-line.
  4. Please see below for entry requirements and guidelines for writing your proposal.

Content and Structure

Programme Aims and Learning Outcomes

The D.Ed. aims to:

  • enhance and deepen professional knowledge and understanding of domain specific educational issues;
  • develop expertise in and a critical understanding of, the nature, design and undertaking of empirical and non-empirical educational research;

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.

Course Structure

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. On entry to the programme (Year 1) 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.

The second year of the programme will operate as a continuation of the first by deepening and strengthening the students' understanding and knowledge in research methodology and their specialist area. They will take one further domain specific module and one further research methods module. At or near the end of the second year, in order for students to progress onto the third and fourth years, they will be required to undertake a formal written and oral assessment in the form of an upgrade. The upgrade takes the form a seminar in which students are asked to present their research proposal that will form the basis of their thesis work.

Having successfully negotiated the upgrade and the taught components of the programme, the student will then move into the final stage of undertaking their research. 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 to be used within the modules will be 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. Beyond the group sessions, there is also the student's supervision time, which particularly at the early stages of the programme, should be linked to the content of the taught modules. Each module has a total of 25 hours contact time and 170 hours non-contact time which would be used for reading, seminar preparation and so on. Teaching will normally take place on Fridays in the early evening and Saturday mornings during College term time.

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.


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 3 and is assessed in the form of a presentation. All modules are graded on a 'pass-fail' basis.

The function of the upgrade is to ensure that the student has progressed from point of entry onto the programme to a sufficient level to begin to undertake the substantive research element. The upgrade session will be structured as a form of oral examination with the student required to present to a panel their research proposal. However, before the upgrade takes place, students are required to submit to the panel a written document of no more than 12,000 words or fifty pages containing the following elements:

  • a critical overview of the relevant literature;
  • an explication of the theoretical framework to be used or developed; and
  • the research design to be applied during the fieldwork phase 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 PhD that is as a viva voce examination.

Programme Structure






Year One

‘Research for fieldwork: Part 1’ [Semesters One & Two]

Domain specific
[Semesters One & Two]

Working with supervisor on thesis planning; exploration of literature; developing the research design

Assignment One & Presentation at end of SM One:  ‘Linking questions & Literature’

Assignment Two & Presentation at end of SM Two:  ‘Research Design Issues’

Literature review should be 80% complete at the end of Year One

Research Design should be complete at the end of Year One

Year Two

‘Research for fieldwork: Part 2’ [Semesters One & Two]

Domain specific
[Semesters One & Two]

Continue working with supervisor on lead-up to fieldwork

Begin fieldwork during/end of Semester Two

Confirmation at end SM One

Assignment Three & Presentation:  ‘Integrating Research Theory & Research Practice’ at end of Semester Two


Year Three

‘Building Theories, Explanations & Models: advanced data analysis’
[Semesters One & Two]

Empirical/field work

Presentation at end of Semester Two: ‘The Research so Far.’

Workshop on thesis writing etc.

Year Four


Viva Voce


Workshop on thesis writing etc.

Mock viva

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.