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Doctoral programmes – University of Reading

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  • Influencing education policy and practice globally

    Our research contributes to both the theory and practice of learning at a global level

  • Transforming lives through education

    Become an outstanding educational practitioner

Doctoral programmes

Study alongside internationally recognised academics at one of the UK's most research-intensive universities and pursue your own research career in education.

As a postgraduate research student at the Institute of Education you will be part of a large, vibrant and diverse research community - around 70 students from all over the world study on our doctoral programmes.

You will work alongside a thriving group of leading academics and postgraduate researchers. We have a long and established track record of research excellence, working with a wide variety of academic, business and governmental partners to achieve significant social and educational benefits.


We offer two doctoral programmes: PhD in Education and Doctorate of Education (EdD). Our PhD is designed for individuals wishing to undertake their own research journey and make an original contribution to knowledge. Our EdD programme is designed for professionals working in a broad range of areas related to education, who are seeking to make an original contribution to practice through their research.

World-leading research

The quality of our research was recognised in the latest Research Excellence Framework (2014), the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions, which placed the Institute of Education in the top quartile of Education departments in the UK. Over 80% of our research publications were rated as world leading or internationally excellent. The impact of our research on educational policy and practice in first and second language education was judged to be world leading.

The majority of our research falls into two areas: Language and Literacy in Education and Improving Equity through Inclusion. We are part of the University's Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism

Research expertise in the Institute of Education

We have a national and international reputation for impactful research which at the same time makes important contributions to theory across the education, language and learning spectrum, including:

  • Louise Courtney and Suzanne Graham: The Language Magician. Funded by Horizon 2020
  • Alan Floyd: An evaluation of the NXplorers educational programme. Funded by Shaping Learning.
  • Carol Fuller: The outdoors indoors: Girlhood. Funded by Ufton Court Educational Trust
  • Suzanne Graham: Linguistic creativity in language learning. Funded by the AHRC.
  • Holly Joseph: Novel word learning during reading in children who learn English as an Additional Language. Funded by the British Academy.
  • Maria Kambouri-Danos, Teresa Wilson, Jo Elsey: 4Ps- Project: Practitioners & Parents Play Partnership- Strengthening practitioner-parent collaboration through the use of CPD and play built on Froebelian principles and pedagogy' Funded by the Froebel Trust
  • Daisy Powell (with Tze Peng Wong, PI): Analysis of cross-language transfer in early literacy acquisition among bilingual Malay-English speaking children in Malaysia. Funded by the British Academy/Malaysian Academy of Sciences.
  • Jeanine Treffers-Daller (with Ianthi Maria Tsimpli (PI), Denes Szucs , Theo Marinis, Suvarna Alladi, Lina Mukhopadyay, & Minati Panda): Multilingualism and multiliteracy: Raising learning outcomes in challenging contexts in primary schools across India. Funded by the ESRC
  • Billy Wong: Mapping the characteristics of the 'ideal' university learner. Funded by the British Academy.

ESRC, South East Network for Social Services (SeNSS)

Sources of funding

We offer ESRC postgraduate scholarships through the South East Network for Social Sciences (SeNSS). A  doctoral training partnership comprising 10 UK universities, SeNSS provides outstanding postgraduate training for doctoral researchers in the social sciences. SeNSS includes a specific Education pathway.

SeNSS is funded and accredited by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and draws on a rich variety of collaborations in research and in research training across the partner institutions; it also benefits from advanced training links to other universities in the region.

As an educational postgraduate student you are able to apply to the SeNSS. Information on the application process is available on the SeNSS website.  For information on other sources of funding , please visit  fees and funding.

The Graduate School

All postgraduate research students automatically become members of the University-wide Graduate School. The Graduate School, housed in a dedicated building on Whiteknights campus, provides training, professional development, study space, advice and administrative support in a dedicated building for the postgraduate research community at Reading.

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