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.

Course Overview

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.

Doctoral Open Evening 2023-2024

D.Ed. Open Evening 2023-2024

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.

I'm an applicant interested in pursuing a Ph.D. with the School of Education. What are the entry requirements?

Prospective students are normally expected to hold a good honors degree (preferably an upper second class) or above and be fluent in the English language. All applicants whose first language is not English and have not been educated through the medium of English must provide evidence of English language proficiency: IELTS Grade 6.5. For more details including application forms, closing dates and registration process can be viewed here.

I'm thinking of undertaking one of the programmes in your School. Could you explain the difference between a structured Ph.D. and the D.Ed. Programme?

The Ph.D. structured programme has a full time and part time option with two mandatory modules (1. Ph.D. Research Methods (10 ECTS credits) and Research Integrity and Impact in an Open Scholarship (5 ECTS)). A Ph.D. thesis is not to exceed 100,000 words of text. The D. Ed. is a part time programme designed primarily to meet the needs of professionals within the Irish education system. The most structurally visible part of the D.Ed. programme are the taught modules/seminar sessions. The D.Ed. thesis is typically between 60,000 and 80,000 words of text. The Ph.D. and D.Ed. are both level 10 programmes. Handbooks are available for each programme and more details on entry requirements, fees, etc. can be viewed here. View below the YouTube link to learn more on the difference of the Ph.D. and D.Ed.programme.

Could you advise at what times of year and how often there is an intake of students to the Ph.D. and D.Ed. Programmes?

The Ph.D. structured programme has two registration periods (September and March) and full details are available here.

What are the key aspects of my application?

In addition to all necessary supplementary documentation by the application deadline, a key aspect is to produce a viable research proposal. It is equally important to assess if an academic staff member within the School of Education is in a position to supervise your Ph.D.. In order to determine if a potential supervisor is available, we recommend that you consult the School of Education staff webpage.

I'm interested in pursuing a programme in the School of Education. Do I need to select and communicate with a potential supervisor prior to applying?

Yes. This is an important aspect of your application. It is recommended that you consult the staff page on the School of Education website with a view to identifying a potential supervisor who may have a background in the area of research of interest to you. Once you identify a potential supervisor you may make informal contact with them to enquire if they would be open to being your supervisor.

I'm interested in pursuing a Ph.D. programme with the School of Education. However, upon review of your staff webpage, I've not been able to identify a potential supervisor. Can I still process an application?

Yes, even if you have not been successful in identifying a potential supervisor, you can still apply through the online system and your application will be considered by the admissions committee. At its discretion, the committee may direct your proposal to an appropriate staff member within the School of Education. However, it is preferable to identify a supervisor in advance of making an application. In the case that a supervisor is not secured, the application will still incur a small fee.

Once a potential supervisor has been identified, what is the next step?

The next step is to contact the potential supervisor and find out if they might have capacity to supervise you. It is advisable to send a short email with pertinent information to enable a response: including your draft research proposal, your suitability to undertake this work, note any scholarships/fellowships or funding in place, and any other important information.

At what stage can the application process be completed?

A full application must be completed approximately three months prior to the registration period.

How is an application assessed for the doctoral programmes?

All submitted application s are considered by a review committee in the School of Education. The role of this committee is to determine whether or not you will be extended an offer to take up a place on the Ph.D. programme. The research proposal is a key consideration in this process. A review committee is also in place with respect to applicants to the D.Ed. programme.

Is it possible to attend the taught modules online?

Yes, the Ph.D. Research Integrity and Impact in an Open Scholarship module is available online. Other modules are currently taught in a face to face format.

I would like to find out more information …. who do I contact?

Please contact the Ph.D. and D.Ed. administrators via email at or via phone at 01-8963583 and they would be delighted to help you further.

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.

Doctorate in Education fees for the academic year 2023/2024 are as follows: 

Doctorate in Education (DEd)

Part-time (6 years)

€4,850/year EU Student

€8,060/year Non-Eu Student

For further information about the programme for the academic year 2022-23 please contact either:

Programme Director: Professor Andrew Loxley

Programme Administrator: Fiona McKibben

We welcome your expressions of interest by email to