IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Centre for Doctoral Education

Researching the past, present and future of doctoral education.

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.

Our team

Faculty Graduate Tutor

Academic Head of Learning and Teaching


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See also:


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.

Student poster conference

The Centre hosts an annual poster conference for doctoral students to showcase their research.


We currently have a number of research projects ongoing, which have been presented at joint seminars with the Centre for Higher Education Studies:

CHES-CDE doctoral seminar (session 1 of 4)

  • Evolving doctoral identities through peer writer identity analysis
    Dr Jim McKinley, Associate Professor with Agata Mikolajewska, Josef Mueller, Lesley Price, Nathan Thomas, Dandan Zhu.
  • Becoming Public Ethnographers: Chronicling an Attempt
    Dr Alfonso Del Percio, Associate Professor.

CHES-CDE doctoral seminar (session 2 of 4)

  • Researching educational experiences of Vietnamese PhD students dropping out of their doctoral programmes: methodological reflections
    Dr Hao Phan, Research Fellow, Department of Education, Practice and Society.
  • The institutional culture of doctoral writing: a new framework for writing support at UCL, IOE
    Dr Will Gibson, Reader in Social Research.

CHES-CDE doctoral seminar (session 3 of 4)

  • Supervisor pedagogy, relationships and challenges
    Dr Susan Taylor, PFHEA, Associate Professor of Doctoral Education & Dr Tom Woodin, Reader in the Social History of Education.
  • Disclosure dances: the experience of PhD students with invisible disabilities in higher education
    Dr Nicole Brown, Lecturer in Education.

CHES-CDE doctoral seminar (session 4 of 4)

  • How to trace and hear from doctoral alumni
    Dr Giulio Marini, Lecturer (Teaching) & Dr Tatiana Fumasoli, Associate Professor of Higher Education Studies.
  • One Hundred voices: Understanding the Lived Experiences of Black Students on their Journey to a PhD
    Dr Victoria Showunmi, Lecturer in Education, Chair of Athena Swan at the UCL Institute of Education.

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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