Cohort PhD

Cohort PhD

COHORT PhD IN EDUCATON - closed for applications

NFQ Level 10, Major Award



The Cohort PhD in Education is a full-time cohort-based programme which runs for 48 months from the date of first registration for the programme.

In keeping with its strong emphasis on research and publication, the School of Education, UCC is again offering a Structured Cohort PhD programme in Education which welcomes applicants both national and international. The PhD programme will involve undertaking four modules spread over three years (2 modules in year 1; 1 in year 2 and 1 in year 3) as well as substantial supervised thesis research for the duration of the degree. The seminar-based modules involve reading, writing,  discussion and assignments.  They are structured to enable participants develop a deep understanding of research methods linked to contemporary issues in education.  Modules will run on Saturdays each year over the course of the PhD (9 Saturdays in first year, 6 Saturdays in second year and 3 Saturdays in third year). There will also be a one week summer school at the end of years 1 and 3.


Entry Requirements

  1. Suitably qualified candidates (at least a Second Class Honours, Grade I, primary degree, and an appropriate Postgraduate Diploma and/or Master's with at least Second Class Honours) may apply. In exceptional circumstances applicants with suitable professional qualifications and substantial education-related professional experience may be considered;
  2. Applicants must have at least three years relevant professional experience in Education or cognate field;
  3. In addition, candidates must demonstrate evidence of good writing ability (i.e. 1,000 word Statement of Intent with application);
  4. All candidates who meet short-listing criteria will be interviewed.
    6 Interview criteria: each on a 5-point scale (total 30 marks)
  • Academic qualifications
  • Professional experience
  • Reflectiveness about professional experience
  • Research focus, purpose and rationale and intended impact of study on policy and/or practice.
  • Quality of writing in statement of intent: style, coherence, connections to literature and conceptualisation
  • Ability and willingness to commit to cohort experience

   Scale: 1 = not acceptable; 2 = poor; 3 = fair; 4 = good; 5 = excellent

Applicants must be able to satisfy the Selection Committee as to their ability to undertake doctoral study. 


Programme Requirements

The programme involves the completion of high-level research work leading to the submission and examination of a PhD Thesis (up to a maximum of 60,000 words), work on which is undertaken over the 48 months of the programme. The thesis will be completed and submitted for assessment at the end of Year 4. To support preparation of the thesis candidates take a minimum of coursework/research training modules to the value of 40 credits over the first three years of the programme as outlined below.

Year 1
Students take 20 credits as follows:

ED7107* Educational Inquiry and Philosophies of Educational Research (10 credits)
ED7108 Contemporary Issues in Education: Situating Educational Research Problems (10 credits)
* This module involves a one-week summer school.

Students must pass these modules to progress to Second Year.

Students undertake thesis research work which will be formally assessed at the end of Year 4.

Year 2
Students take 10 credits as follows:

ED7109 Advanced Research Methods for Contemporary Issues in Education (10 credits)

Students must pass this module to progress to Third Year

Students undertake thesis research work which will be formally assessed at the end of Year 4.

Year 3
Students take 10 credits as follows:

ED7106* Colloquium in Designing and Conducting Educational Research (10 credits)
* This module involves a one-week summer school.

Students must pass this module to progress to Fourth Year

Students undertake thesis research work which will be formally assessed at the end of Year 4.

Year 4
Students undertake thesis research work leading to completion and submission of a thesis (up to a maximum of 60,000 words) for examination.


Programme Learning Outcomes for Cohort PhD in Education (NFQ Level 10, Major Award)
On successful completion of this programme students should be able to:

  • Undertake an empirical study, involving research and instrument design, data collection, data analysis and representation of findings, in their chosen research area;
  • Participate in and contribute, in a critical fashion, to debates on contemporary issues in educational policy, leadership and pedagogy with particular focus on socio-cultural perspectives;
  • Act as critically informed educational researchers in terms of designing and undertaking a research study on their chosen topic with a focus on writing for a national/international readership;
  • Demonstrate emergent doctoral level proficiency in the fundamentals of advanced educational research;
  • Demonstrate knowledge of, and utilise in educational research and critical debate, perspectives on research paradigms and research genres;
  • Demonstrate doctoral level knowledge of the epistemological and ontological foundations underpinning educational research, and utilise these to develop educational research;
  • Report research findings to various audiences: e.g. research, professional, policy audiences, in appropriate styles, e.g. research paper, discussion document, policy recommendations.


Prospective applicants can contact the School of Education to discuss programme details at either of the following e-mail address:  Anita Cronin or Claire Dooley Tel: 353 (0)21 - 490 2467.


Applications may be made online through UCC's application system.

Course Code:  CKH78





School of Education

Scoil an Oideachais

Leeholme, O' Donovan's Road, Cork, Ireland