Research course

Education and teaching

University of Sussex · Social Work

Entry requirements

You should hold at least a second-class undergraduate honours degree or equivalent qualification and normally a Masters degree, and have had at least three years experience of work in education or a related area. In exceptional circumstances, we consider applications from those with lesser qualifications who can demonstrate that they are sufficiently prepared for, and able to benefit from, this course. This usually means extensive relevant professional experience A research proposal must be submitted on application. Visit the education research guidelines

Months of entry

January, October, April

Course content

  • PhD in Education

This PhD provides you with the support and resources necessary to complete an original and substantial piece of research, usually with a significant empirical component. You may be required to take modules offered within the MSc in Social Research Methods (+3 PhD), or to complete the MSc as the first year of the 1+3 PhD. In addition to individual tutorial support, there are opportunities for doctoral students to participate in research seminars, present their work in progress and take part in student-led groups.

Assessment and progression

For those following the 1+3 PhD, an overall pass in the MSc in Social Research Methods with a grade of 60 per cent or higher in the dissertation is normally required for progression to the PhD.

Those following the +3 PhD may be required to undertake coursework, depending on previous experience, qualifications and background in social-science research.

The research proposal developed in the first year of the PhD is reviewed by academic faculty before permission to undertake fieldwork is granted. Annual reviews of your progress and training needs are conducted.

Recent thesis titles

A study of in-school pregnancy in Mozambique

A study of low-income students’ transition from junior to high school in Mexico

Doing the rights thing: an ethnography of a discourse of ‘rights’ and ‘respect’ within a primary school in the UK

Education decisions amongst the urban poor in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Human rights and access to education in Ghanaian basic schools

If you are considering applying you can find more information by visiting Applying to study for a PhD in Education

Research centres

In addition to interdisciplinary research with the Department of Social Work and Social Care, we host three research centres that provide the intellectual bases for our research, consultancy and teaching activity:

  • The Centre for Higher Education and Equity Research (CHEER) provides a platform for the growing field of research into Higher Education with a particular focus on the themes of identity, transition and assessment. Recent research has addressed race and equality issues in UK Higher Education, widening participation in Higher Education in low-income countries, gender and Higher Education, disability and Higher Education, doctoral pedagogy, transitions from vocational and further education, and postdoctoral transitions.
  • The Centre for Teaching and Learning Research (CTLR) is engaged with research on all aspects of learning and teaching in a wide range of educational contexts – official and informal. It places particular emphasis on schooling, transitions, equity and inclusion. The Centre has exceptional expertise in professional learning, collaborative practitioner enquiry and in investigating the relationship between theory, practice and policy from early-years to Higher-Education contexts and settings.
  • The Centre for International Education (CIE) has an international reputation for its work on educational development in the global south. Current research includes teacher education in sub-Saharan Africa, access to education in low-income countries, gender and development, education and conflict, sustainable financing of secondary education, aid and education development.
Routes into doctoral study

Doctoral research in Education at Sussex has ESRC recognition. These are the routes into doctoral study in theDepartment of Education:

  • the PhD 1+3 route, which benefits from research training within the MSc in Social Research Methods
  • the PhD +3 route, for those with prior research training and/or experience.

Department specialisms

For further information, visit the webpage below.

Information for international students

See link for international students' entry requirements:

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

The University of Sussex aims to attract the most talented students to postgraduate study and offers one of the most generous scholarship programmes of any UK university. For full details of our scholarships please

Qualification and course duration


part time
36-72 months
full time
24-48 months


part time
24-48 months
full time
12-36 months


part time
48 months

Course contact details

Student Recruitment Services
+44 (0)1273 678464