Award Type and NFQ level : PROFESSIONAL DOCTORATE (10)

CAO/PAC code : MH06G

CAO Points :

Closing Date : 14 April 2023

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The Doctor of Education with Specialism is a four-year programme offered by the Department of Education in Maynooth University. It is designed for those who wish to undertake doctoral studies specifically related to their work in the field of education and offers specialist study in teacher education, educational leadership and curriculum studies. This programme will appeal to students whose learning is best supported in a group. Years 1 and 2 of the programme give students the opportunity to participate in modules in their chosen specialism areas. These modules will assist them in refining the research proposal for their independent research in years 3 and 4. These modules will also facilitate the development of the cohort’s identity as a class group. The specialism and thesis topic will strongly correlate with their work as practitioners in the field of education.

Applicants should hold a H2.1 (or higher) Masters Degree in Education or in a cognate discipline. A high level of ability in academic writing will be required, as evidenced by the submission of a sample of recent writing (e.g. chapter of Masters thesis, report, article or 3,000 word essay) as part of the application process.

Applicants who meet the criteria will be invited to attend for interview.

Minimum English language requirements:

Applicants for whom English is not their first language are required to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study. For information about English language tests accepted and required scores, please see here. The requirements specified are applicable for both EU and International applicants..

Maynooth University's TOEFL code is 8850

Please note: the entry requirements are under review for entry into 2025-2026.


The Education Department supports an energetic, dynamic, interdisciplinary research culture. We have strong and vibrant traditions of teaching and research with particular expertise in the development of innovative pedagogies; the promotion of social justice, equality and inclusion; and in nurturing the developing person by supporting resilience and wellbeing. Our research focuses on the educational experiences of individuals throughout the life-course, incorporating all education sectors from early childhood education, through to primary, second level, higher and further education.

Our researchers draw on a range of research designs and methodologies including action research, narrative inquiry, qualitative and quantitative research, documentary analysis, ethnographic and arts-based approaches.

See our Research and People for more details of our research activities and details of our research strands.



Programme Duration: 4 years

Year 1 Modules:

Knowledge and Policy in Educational Practice, Specialism Module, Educational Research: Philosophy and Practice, Academic Writing 1: Communicating your research, Developing Professional & Practitioner Knowledge 1.

The first module on the programme is designed to develop the students’ capacity to engage critically with educational theories, particularly in areas such as policy, knowledge development and epistemology, while the second module focuses explicitly on the specialism strand chosen by the student. The summer school focuses on the design and execution of educational research, with emphasis on research methods appropriate to practitioner research. There are two year-long modules designed to develop the student’s writing skills and create opportunities to reflect on the application of the knowledge gained on the Ed D programme to the student’s professional life.

Year 2 of the programme builds on the work of the first year, beginning with a strand specific module in semester 1. In semester 2, students attend a series of research support seminars, designed to assist them with the development of their thesis proposal. By the end of year 2, the student will have developed the research dimension of the thesis, including application for ethical approval, and will be ready to begin his/her research in Year 3. Year-long modules on academic writing and developing professional and practitioner knowledge are again available to build on Year 1 development in these areas.

Years 3 & 4 Modules:

Developing Professional & Practitioner Knowledge 3, Analysing Research Data (Easter School), Developing Professional & Practitioner Knowledge 4.

Years 3 and 4 are spent on the execution and completion of the 50,000-word thesis. During those two years, a team of supervisors provide support to the student as s/he works on designing, implementing and writing up the research project. Seminars, workshops and an Easter School on Data Analysis also provide structure and support to the student. In consultation with his/her supervisor, the student will also undertake 2 – 3 modules designed to develop his/her academic and professional skills.

Course Duration: 4 years part-time

Ed D students are already practitioners in the field of Education upon entry to the programme. Their doctoral studies enable them to develop their academic and professional careers, and to contribute further to the development of the profession.

The EdD is a four-year programme offered by the Department of Education in Maynooth University. It is designed for those who wish to undertake doctoral studies specifically related to their work in the field of education and will appeal to students whose learning is best supported in a group setting. Applicants should hold a H2.1 (or higher) Masters Degree in Education or in a cognate discipline and have a high level of ability in academic writing. Please follow this link to find more information about our programme and its three specialism strands: Educational Leadership, Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies.

 Information Evening and Proposal Writing Workshop

 Applications for the EdD programme are accepted biennially and our next intake of students will be in September 2025. 

 To help you to prepare your application, we have included some information below and will hold our first information evening and proposal writing workshop in September 2024. 


19:00 - 20:00 (Irish Time) Online information evening


19:00 - 20:00 (Irish Time) Online proposal writing workshop

 To register for the information evening and the workshop, please click here.

After attending the workshop, you can send in a draft proposal which will be reviewed by the EdD Admissions Panel. We will then provide you with feedback on your draft proposal before you submit a formal application through our application process which will open in early 2025.

In advance of the proposal writing workshop, it would be helpful to try to develop a provisional research question and to locate a topic for research. It should address a gap in our knowledge of that area so this should be born in mind when reflecting on a topic.

In terms of the parameters of an EdD research project, it is expected to make an original contribution to a field of research, preferably in one of the specialism fields, Educational Leadership, Teacher Education or Curriculum Studies. We recognise that your thinking will be tentative at this stage. 

 Documentation required for application.

 Please note you will be asked to submit the following documentation when making your application:¿ 

(a) Certified copies of all official transcripts of results for non-Maynooth University primary degree and post-graduate qualifications. Applicants must have a recognised primary degree which is considered equivalent to Irish university primary degree level. 

(b) Non-Maynooth University students are asked to provide a copy of a valid passport or birth certificate.

(c) A short proposal (one-page/500 words) outlining your proposed research topic. We recognise that your thinking will be tentative at this stage.

(d) The names and contact details of 2 referees.¿ 

(e) A full curriculum vitae.¿ 

(f) A ,3000 word-writing sample, the sample of recent writing that demonstrates your capacity to write in an academic manner, including an ability to organise, analyse and present arguments fluently and lucidly with a high level of critical analysis and with appropriate academic referencing e.g. chapter of Masters thesis, report, article, 3,000 word essay on an educational issue. 

Applicants who meet the criteria will be invited to attend for interview as part of the admissions process.

 Other information about the programme.

In year one, we hold a one-day induction in September for the incoming cohort of students.

The programme schedule for year one, semester one requires students to be in attendance in person for two full days (Friday and Saturday) in October, November and December. In semester two, students attend six Friday afternoons (online from 2pm to 6pm) and six Saturdays (in person from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm). Please follow this link to find detailed information on the programme structure and modules.

Fees are set annually but you can view the current fee structure here

If you need advice on visa or other requirements, the international office¿( may be able to assist you. You can find further information here¿

Please direct all enquiries to


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