Institute of Education


Centre for Doctoral Education

Researching the past, present and future of doctoral education.

Interim Head of Centre: Dr Richard Freeman

The Centre for Doctoral Education (CDE) undertakes research to inform, challenge and develop doctoral education internationally.

Our work explores the experiences, practices and achievements of doctoral students, supervisors and early career researchers. We draw on this expertise to offer doctoral programmes within our own institution, supporting the largest concentration of doctoral students studying education and related social sciences in the UK.

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Our research

Our centre builds on a strong history of research into doctoral education, drawing on new areas of interest in the wider impact of doctoral studies.  

We have launched a research agenda for 2019/20 to help shape contemporary conversations about doctoral education and researcher development. 

Areas of interest

The 2019/20 agenda includes the following well-established areas of interest:

  • doctoral andragogy
  • transitions onto doctoral study
  • student progression
  • impact
  • student and supervisor experience.


CDE Research

Secondary data

We are also exploring new uses of secondary data, which has been underused in research on doctorates, adding it to the academic debates around professional doctorates.


Recent projects include:


Recent publications include:

100 years of the UK PhD

In September 2017, the Centre for Doctoral Education hosted a symposium marking 100 years of the UK PhD.

Recordings of presentations and subsequent panel discussions are available below:

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