Education, Practice and Society with integrated research methods training MPhil/PhD

London, Bloomsbury

IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society offers world-leading doctoral programmes in education and related social sciences. Students will be taking four training modules in social science relating to methodologies and research in the social sciences alongside supervised research. Our MPhil/PhD students undertake research projects, working closely with their supervisors to develop each stage of their research, and undertake a tailored programme of training courses and activities. This programme is available to study face-to-face.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
£7,580
£3,790
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
£22,700
£11,350
Duration
4 calendar years
8 academic years
Programme starts
September 2024
Applications accepted
All applicants: 16 Oct 2023 – 28 Jun 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

Entry requirements

The normal minimum requirement is an upper second-class UK Bachelor's degree or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 4

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level.

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

Equivalent qualifications

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

*Should you experience any issues with the drop-down below, try de-selecting the country and re-selecting it. If this doesn't work, then you may refer to this page which may help you find the same equivalencies - check the Entry requirements above beforehand. Please note the table is indicative only, revisiting when the dropdown is working to confirm is recommended.

About this degree

The Department of Education, Practice and Society has a range of innovative, research-active staff able to supervise post-graduate research in the following areas: international development; sociology of education; history of education; philosophy of education; higher education; comparative education; post-14 education.

We also have a number of research centres including the Centre for Global Youth; Centre for Research on Learning and Life Chances (LLAKES); Philosophy at the Institute; the Centre for the Sociology of Education and Equity; the Centre for Education and International Development (CEID); the Centre for Higher Education Studies (CHES); the Centre for Post-14 Education and Work; the International Centre for Historical Research in Education (ICHRE); and jointly the Centre for Engineering Education.

The programme is based upon successful completion of the four research training modules attached to the MRes in Social Science Research Methods.

Who this course is for

The MPhil/PhD is for applicants with a strong interest in an aspect of educational and social research, which may be understood broadly across the life course, in relation to other subject areas and wider social, economic, political and cultural changes. You should normally have at least a 2:1 degree or equivalent from a recognised university and want to develop a specific area of research. You may have a background in education or a cognate area of study. It is suitable for both recent graduates and those progressed in a career.

What this course will give you

IOE is a world-leading centre for research in education and related social science. We host the UK's largest doctoral cohort in these areas. In the QS World University Rankings by Subject (2023), the institute was ranked first for education for the tenth year running, ahead of Harvard, Stanford, Oxford and Cambridge. In the UK's recent Research Excellence Framework (2021), we were ranked first for research strength and research power in Education, according to the Elsevier REF 2021 Results Analysis Tool. We attract extensive research funding each year and host many prestigious research centres and projects.

Doctoral students at IOE have access to the wider UCL community as well as the education cluster constituting the UBEL Doctoral Training Partnership. The Institute's programme has been designed to provide comprehensive and broadly based research training and to meet the requirements of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the UK Researcher Development Framework.

Students work closely with their supervisor(s) to develop each stage of research; supervisors also help put together a programme of additional courses and activities to support progress towards completion of the final thesis. Doctoral students at the Department of Education, Practice and Society can participate in departmental seminars and research groups which further enriches learning. 

The foundation of your career

IOE doctoral graduates progress to careers in education, university teaching, educational research, and policy and curriculum development.

Employability

You will have opportunities to gain experience of planning and implementing research methodologies, as well as academic writing and presentation, and management of your own research projects. You may also be able to engage with a range of researchers, practitioners, policymakers, and other groups relevant to your chosen topic.

Networking

The Department of Education, Practice and Society pioneers research collaborations with external partners to diversify the contribution that educational research can make academically, professionally and practically for individuals and communities. We also strive to provide solutions to current and emerging pressure points in societies, such as economic change and social injustice, by creating networks and partnerships to support knowledge transfer between education, work and communities.

Teaching and learning

A wide range of teaching and learning strategies are deployed across the four modules and students are expected to engage in the wider research culture of their area of work.

The first part of the programme consists of four taught modules, taken alongside supervised research. The taught modules are assessed by written assignments of 5,000 words.

The summative written assessments for the taught modules may include:

  • Writing research proposals
  • Analysing data
  • Critiquing published research papers
  • Contributions to online forums

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) consists of a piece of supervised research, normally undertaken over a period of three years full-time or five years part-time. Assessment is by means of a thesis (up to 100,000 words), which should demonstrate your capacity to pursue original research based upon a good understanding of the research techniques and concepts appropriate to the discipline. It must also represent a distinct and significant contribution to the subject, whether through the discovery of new knowledge, the connection of previously unrelated facts, the development of new theory, or the revision of older views. It should reflect the exercise of critical judgement with regard to both your own work and that of other scholars in the field.

For those who decide not to pursue the full PhD, or are unable to do so, the degree of Master of Philosophy (MPhil) consists of a piece of supervised research, normally undertaken over a period of three years full-time or five years part-time. Assessment is by means of a thesis, which should represent a contribution to the subject, either through a record of your original work or a critical and ordered exposition of existing knowledge.

Students must ensure that they have adequate time to devote to regular study of at least six hours a day (2-3 days part time).

Research areas and structure

There is a wide range of expertise including:

  • Comparative Education, including Education Policy Borrowing citizenship education; civic participation; social cohesion; nation building; civic and ethnic identities
  • Education and Wellbeing, health; sexual identity; education psychology; behaviour and disaffection; learning, studying and homework
  • Further Education, Post-14 Education and Post-Compulsory Education
  • Global Youth
  • Higher Education (HE): academic and professional identities; national, global and international HE; management, governance and leadership
  • Sociology of Education: education policy; gender, ‘race’, and social class; migration, refugees and marginalisation; social justice; human rights
  • History of Education: cultural, social and economic history of education and learning; universities; adult, popular and informal education; historiography and methodology
  • International Development: economics, education, and education planning; education in developing countries
  • Lifelong Learning, and Adult Learning, Literacy and Numeracy
  • Philosophy of Education: disability ethics; personhood; theories of mind; theories of justice
  • Post-Conflict / Peacebuilding Education
  • Professional Development, Vocational Education, and Workplace Learning

Research environment

As a research student in the Department of Education, Practice and Society, you can participate in the seminars organised by department research centres or according to interest groups.
 

Initially, students undertake four taught modules alongside supervised research.

Students are expected to pass 120 credits from the MRes in Social Research before upgrading to the PhD pathway.

Upgrade is expected no less than 21 months after initial registration for full-time, giving an extra 12/18 months more than normally provided for the MPhil/PhD in order to complete the taught component.

Following the taught component, the IOE Centre for Doctoral Education provides an extensive Research Training Programme. Full-time MPhil/PhD students are required to fulfil at least 20 units of training activity each year, which may be met by participating in training courses, seminars, conference and related activities. This training can be selected from the IOE Research Training Programme, each unit being worth approximately half a day of face-to-face training, or an online equivalent.

In addition to the taught modules, all students on this programme are expected to take a mandatory core course during their first year, which has been designed to meet the needs of early stage doctoral students. There is also a wide range of introductory, advanced methods, advanced theoretical, and generic academic skills courses, as well as student led workshops and reading groups. Processes aimed at assisting you during your course of study include the Research Student Log (an online project management tool), and periodic reviews of students’ progress.

Upon successful completion of your approved period of registration you may, if necessary, register as a completing research status (CRS) student while you finish writing your thesis.

Initially, students undertake four taught modules alongside supervised research.

Students are expected to pass 120 credits from the MRes in Social Research before upgrading to the PhD pathway.

Upgrade is expected no less than 33 months for part-time students, giving an extra 12/18 months more than normally provided for the MPhil/PhD in order to complete the taught component.

Following the taught component, the IOE Centre for Doctoral Education provides an extensive Research Training Programme. Part-time students fulfil at least 12 units of training activity a year, which may be met by participating in training courses, seminars, conference and related activities. Students may also take additional training courses from the Programme, as relevant to their research and agreed with their supervisor.

In addition to the taught modules, all students on this programme are expected to take a mandatory core course during their first year, which has been designed to meet the needs of early stage doctoral students. There is also a wide range of introductory, advanced methods, advanced theoretical, and generic academic skills courses, as well as student led workshops and reading groups. Processes aimed at assisting you during your course of study include the Research Student Log (an online project management tool), and periodic reviews of students’ progress.

Upon successful completion of your approved period of registration you may, if necessary, register as a completing research status (CRS) student while you finish writing your thesis.

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability are subject to change. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.

Accessibility

Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble accessable.co.uk. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support and Wellbeing team.


Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) £7,580 £3,790
Tuition fees (2024/25) £22,700 £11,350

Additional costs

As a research student you may incur expenses relating to fieldwork, or additional expenses such as purchasing of books or conference attendance.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding webpage: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/scholarships/funding-students-postgraduate-research-courses

UCL's Research Excellence Scholarships (RES) are available annually to prospective and existing UCL research students from any country: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/scholarships/research-excellence-scholarship. The UCL, Bloomsbury and East London Doctoral Training Partnership offers studentships annually. More information is found here: https://ubel-dtp.ac.uk/

UBEL, RES and other funding programmes are not available to online and non-resident students.

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Next steps

After choosing a programme to apply for, you should develop a research proposal and identify a potential supervisor. For more information, visit our website to find a supervisor and get in touch with departmental graduate tutors.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2024-2025

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.