The University of Southampton
Southampton Education SchoolPostgraduate study

PhD Education (3 years)

Would you like to make an independent and transforming contribution to your chosen field? Are you highly motivated and able to study independently? From previous research or professional experience, do you have a particular question or topic already in mind? If so, then our PhD programme may be suitable for you.

Successful applicants to the PhD will be able to demonstrate via the application process that they have the capacity to embark directly on a substantial research project in Education. The quality of the PhD research proposal is a key part of assessing this capability. You should be able to demonstrate that you have previous experience of conducting research, usually via a substantial research study undertaken as part of postgraduate masters level study.

Introducing your course

This is the course page for PhD Education at the University of Southampton. Find out everything about Education and what studying here involves.

Here we explain a range of key information about the course. This includes typical entry requirements, modules you can take and how assessment works. We also suggest career opportunities open to you as a University of Southampton graduate of PhD Education.

If you still have questions, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to answer any enquiries. See our contact us page for our telephone, email and address information.


On our PhD programme you will be supported through expert joint supervision. You will typically work with two supervisors who are themselves research active members of staff with expertise in your area of interest. At the start of your PhD, your supervisor will discuss any training and support needs you may have to develop specific research skills, and, if appropriate, you will be able to attend relevant modules of our Research Training Programme.

After agreeing an appropriate development plan, you will meet regularly with your supervisors for academic support and supervision. You will also be able to participate in the research seminars and specialist workshops run at a School or Faculty level. You can find out more about supervision and progress on the supervision page.

To Apply

You apply through the University's online application form. Be aware that your application will not be processed until you have supplied all the required information which includes evidence of your qualifications and a research proposal. We will invite you for interview before making an offer. You can find more details on the How to apply page.

You will need to supply evidence of your qualifications and strong academic references. You will also need a research proposal (approximately 6-8 pages) stating the topic of your research, the research question(s) you are interesting in answering, and your reasons for undertaking this research (including some theoretical justification and review of relevant research that has been done in the field). You should include your initial ideas about the kinds of data you wish to collect and the proposed methods. The proposal should be referenced and provide evidence of prior reading around your topic of interest.

Download the guidelines for writing a proposal

Applications may be submitted at any time but we would recommend submitting by June for an October start. We will endeavour to make a decision within 6 weeks of submission. Please note that applications cannot be considered until we have received all supporting documents.



Postgraduate office: +44 (0)23 8059 5699

Doctoral Programmes Director: Dr Michaela Brockmann

Admissions Selector/ Deputy Doctoral Programmes Director: Dr Michael Tomlinson

Fees and funding

Standard postgraduate fees for UK/EU and overseas students. This programme is eligible for funding from the University of Southampton's Postgraduate Scholarship Fund, plus Faculty and School scholarships as available.

Key Facts

Start date: late September/early October each year (although other start dates may be possible by prior arrangement)

Duration: full-time 24–48 months; part-time 36–84 months

Intake: 5-10

Entry Requirements

Typical entry requirements


You should have a good Master's degree in Education or another Social Science discipline from a British university or its equivalent in other countries.

You also need to demonstrate relevant research experience that will enable you to study at PhD level. This could be a research component of your Master’s degree that culminated in a substantial research report, such as a dissertation or thesis. Satisfactory performance at interview is also required.

If you do not already have a Master’s degree and relevant research experience, our Integrated PhD may be more suitable. Our guide to academic qualification entry requirements can help you decide whether to apply for the full PhD or the Integrated PhD.

International applicants

If you are an international student you also need to demonstrate an adequate level of English language proficiency. You will need to provide us with evidence that you have achieved an overall score of 6.5 or above on IELTS (or equivalent), with no individual score lower than 6.0. It may be possible for you to secure an offer of a place conditional upon achieving this proficiency if you do not have it already.

Selection process

Intake: Variable

Average applications per place: 8

Selection is through evaluation of your online application plus performance at interview.

This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.


Typical course content

As the PhD is not a taught programme there is no requirement to attend any taught sessions. However, after discussing your development needs through the Academic Needs Analysis, your supervisors may recommend particular modules of our Research Training Programme. For PhD students submission of assignments for these modules is optional and can provide opportunities to develop early draft material which may be useful for sections of the thesis.

Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide or website).

Fees & funding

Tuition fees

Fees for postgraduate research degrees vary across the University. All fees are listed for UK, EU and international full-time and part-time students alphabetically by course name.

View the full list of course fees


Scholarships, bursaries, sponsorships or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.

Explore funding opportunities

Costs associated with this course

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

Learning & Assessment

Study locations

EEE Building

Highfield Campus, Southampton Education School (B32, B34)

The Southampton Education School is based on the Highfield Campus, in ...Find out more

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