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PhD, EdD, MPhilEducation

Research opportunities

There are nine main research groups within the School of Education. While they're recorded as discrete entities, they are complementary. There are several topics within each theme, and it may be that colleagues align themselves with more than one research theme and that research cuts across all the research areas we're looking at.

A key focus in considering these themes is the policy context in which the School of Education is situated. A major driver in current Scottish education is around closing the attainment gap and reducing inequality. The research themes address this issue in a range of ways.

You can study an MPhil over the course of one year or a PhD over the course of three or four years.

You can study your choice of these options in any of our research areas:

  • Additional support needs & autism
  • Educational and social practices in curricular subjects
  • Equality & achievement
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Languages education
  • Methodologies for change
  • Professional learning, identity and enquiry
  • Rights citizenship and dialogue
  • Education, philosophy and culture

You can also study for a Doctorate of Education. A taught professional doctorate with a range of specialist pathways which allow you to tie your doctorate studies explicitly to your professional experience.

Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Professional Development (PG Cert RPD) programme 

As part of your PhD degree, you'll be enrolled on the Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Professional Development (PG Cert RPD). 

This certificate is designed to support you with your research and rewards you for things you'll do as a research student here.

It'll help you improve skills which are important to professional development and employability:

  • the knowledge & intellectual abilities to conduct your research
  • the personal qualities to succeed in your research & chosen career
  • the standards, requirements & conduct of a professional researcher in your discipline
  • working with others & communicating the impact of your research to a wide range of audiences

All you have to do is plan these activities alongside your doctorate, documenting and reflecting your journey to success along the way.

Find out more about the PG Cert RPD programme.


NameAreas of Expertise
Alan Huang
  • Second/foreign language learning and teaching
  • Metacognition and learning
  • Teacher professional learning
  • Educational technology
  • TESOL and applied linguistics
Alastair Wilson
  • Education and social disadvantage
  • Education/lifelong learning and disability
  • Processes of mentoring/evaluating mentoring
  • Education and disability
  • Experience of disability/mental health
Allan Blake
  • Early Professional Learning
  • Job satisfaction
  • The work of teacher education 
Anna Beck
  • Teacher Education Reform and educational change
  • Educational Politics and Policy, Policy-making, Policy Networks, Democratic Network Governance
  • Methodological Approaches: Actor-network theory, Network ethnography, Interviewing policy 'elites'
  • Teacher Professionalism, teacher agency and 'teachers as researchers'
  • Teacher attitudes to inclusion                                               
Anna Robinson
  • Autism and Mental Health including Trauma-Related Difficulties and Emotional Injuries
  • Counselling, Psychotherapy, Emotion-Focused Group Therapy
  • Expressive and Creative Arts for Self-representation
  • Accessibility, Rights, Inclusion
  • Autistic Voice and Participatory Research 
Claire Cassidy
  • Philosophy with Children/practical philosophy
  • Children and Childhood Studies 
  • Human Rights Education/children's rights
  • Children's voice, participation, and citizenship
  • Inquiry and critical thinking 
Cristina Costa
  • Digital Education
  • Digital citizenship
  • Digital scholarship
  • Curriculum innovation (with technology)
  • Topics that require a social theory lens
David Lewin  
  • Philosophy of Education
  • Technology and education (conceptual and philosophical approaches particularly)
  • Religion, spirituality and education
  • Mindfulness and contemplative practices
  • Ethics, values, virtues and moral education 
David Kirk
  • Curriculum development and change
  • Curriculum history
  • Models-based practice in physical education
  • Bernstein and the social production of pedagogic discourse 
Edward Sosu
  • Socioeconomic disadvantage and educational trajectories
  • Developmental trajectories in childhood
  • Teacher beliefs and teacher effectiveness
  • Quantitative methods
Helen Marwick
  • Social and emotional development
  • Communicative and imaginative development
  • Autism - communication, conceptual development, imagination, play
  • Children’s and young people’s mental health and well-being
  • Early years wellbeing and relationships
Ian Rivers
  • Equalities/Diversity
  • Mixed methods
  • Bullying and harassment
  • Health and education
  • Children's understanding of politics
Joan Mowat
  • Social and emotional behavioural difficulties
  • Inclusion and inclusive practice
  • School climate and ethos promoting positive relationships, school discipline, motivation, self-esteem, self-efficacy, resiliesocio-economic disadvantage, marginalisation, stigmatisation and labelling ce
  • Issues around marginalisation, stigmatisation and labelling
  • Educational leadership
Joanna McPake
  • Bilingualism and bilingual education
  • Language learning and teaching
  • Gaelic-medium education
  • Minority language revitalisation
  • Language education policy  
Jonathan Delafield-Butt
  • Autism development and treatment
  • Infant and child development, esp. sensory and motor issues
  • Social and emotional development, including non-verbal communication   
  • Serious gaming and innovative technological developments for assessment and learning
  • Motor analysis
Kate Wall
  • School-University research partnership
  • Student perspectives on all aspects of education
  • Visual methodologies (especially for eliciting the views of young children)
  • Innovative pedagogies for developing metacognition
  • Professional learning through practitioner enquiry
Lio Moscardini
  • Inclusion and additional support needs; inclusive pedagogy
  • Policy and practice related to inclusion/ASN       
  • Children's mathematics and Cognitively Guided Instruction       
  • Music education            
  • Pedagogy and practice related to attachment and nurture
Lorna Arnott
  • Early Years Education and Early Experiences
  • Young Children and Technology (Digital Childhoods - particularly young children)
  • Innovative Methodologies (particularly consulting with children and child-centred approaches)
  • Creative Play and Young Children's Creativity
  • Young Children's Peer Cultures and Social Play
Markus Klein
  • Social inequalities in education
  • Child development
  • Social mobility
  • Comparative research
  • Secondary data analysis  
Paul Adams
  • Education policy
  • Pedagogy
  • PSHE and citizenship
  • Educational theorising
  • Positioning theory  
Sue Ellis
  • Language and literacy teaching and curriculum
  • Education policy & change in complex contexts - variation, scaling up, implementation and adaptation
  • Turnaround pedagogies
  • Teacher knowledge landscapes identity and agency
  • Poverty, the attainment gap and policy development
Virginie Theriault
  • Community education (informal and non-formal education)
  • Literacy as social practice and literacies across different contexts, spaces and times
  • Young people in a situation of ‘precarity’; Young people not in education, employment or training
  • Participatory and ethnographic approaches        
  • Programme evaluation in the field of adult education
Vivienne Smith
  • Literacy: reading, writing
  • Critical literacy
  • Children's literature
  • Talk/interaction  
Eugenie Samier 
  • Management and leadership
  • International 
  • Comparative
  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Critique Neoliberalism & Globalisation
Yvette Taylor
  • Sexuality (including identities, citizenship)
  • Gender
  • Class (identities, spaces, inequalities, cultures)
  • Religion
  • Educational inequalities (especially gender, class, sexuality, religion)
Caralyn Blaisdell
  • Listening to children/children's participation 
  • Children's rights
  • ELC policy and practice
  • Play and Pedagogy in ELC
  • Ethics and methodologies for researching with children
Farid Bardid
  • Motor development and learning
  • Health-related factors of children’s motor skills and physical activity (esp. psychosocial and cognitive factors)
  • Developmental trajectories of health (esp. motor skills and physical activity)
  • Pedagogy in physical activity, physical education and sports 
  • Development and evaluation of movement programmes
Jane Essex
  • STEM education
  • Inclusion/ disability
  • Outreach
  • Teacher education
Karen Lowing
  • Scots Language, Scottish Studies, Scottish Literature
  • Cultural Studies
  • Sociolinguistics
  • Language and Literature 
  • Philosophy of Education (Methodology; Scottish Education)   
Karsten Kenklies
  • Hermeneutic Pedagogy (conceptual or historical non-empirical research) 
  • Martial Arts education (conceptual or historical non empirical research)
  • LGBT issues in educational theory (conceptual or historical non-empirical research)
  • Intercultural comparison in educational theory (conceptual or historical non-empirical research)
  • (Neo-)Confucian/ Japanese education (conceptual or historical non-empirical research)  
Maddie Breeze
  • Gender, sexuality, feminist and queer theory 
  • Sociology of emotions, feeling, and affect
  • Sociology of education, sociology of knowledge
  • Youth studies, political participation, citizenship, social change
  • Ethnographic methods, participatory and creative methods 
Philip Tonner
  • Philosophy of Education and the history of philosophy (Continental and analytic approaches)
  • Museums, archaeology and heritage education
  • Pedagogy; social studies, philosophy education, religious education, martial arts education and training 
  • Social theory and anthropology
  • Teacher research and school and university partnerships  
Saima Salehjee
  • STEM Education
  • Identity (science identity)
  • Narrative identity and weight of culture
  • Transformative learning 

Fees & funding


All fees quoted are per academic year unless otherwise stated.

2019/20 entrants may be subject to a small fee during the writing up period.

Scotland/ EU

  • £4,327

Rest of UK

  • £4,327
International students
  • £13,550


The Dean’s Global Research Scholarship (up to 10 Awards) will help to cover the difference between the tuition fee for a UK/EU postgraduate student and that chargeable to an overseas postgraduate research student. The award will apply for each year of study up to 3 years.

Check our scholarship search for other funding opportunities available.

Postgraduate research opportunities

Search for all funded and non-funded postgraduate research opportunities.

The fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year.

How can I apply?

You can apply for a postgraduate research degree at any point in the year.

All you have to do is complete an online application.

You can apply for a postgraduate research degree at any point in the year. We strongly advise that you contact one or more potential supervisors or the Postgraduate Research Director, Professor Kate Wall, before completing the online application. Go to the supervisors tab above and see below for further information.

Entry requirements

We look for students with masters degree from a recognised academic institution and at least one year of full-time experience (or equivalent) in a professional field with an educational dimension.

The application

During the application you'll be asked for the following:

  • your full contact details
  • transcripts & certificates of all degrees
  • proof of English language proficiency (IELTS 6.5 in writing & reading required) if you're applying as an international student
  • two references, one of which must be academic
  • funding or scholarship information
  • research proposals of 1,500 to 2,000 words in length, detailing the subject area & topic to be investigated

By filling these details out as fully as possible, you'll avoid any delay to your application being processed by the University.


You'll need to identify your research supervisor before you finalise your application, preferably as soon as possible.

When you've identified a potential supervisor, based upon how well your research interests match theirs, drop them an email to introduce yourself.

In the email, make sure you attach a draft of your research proposal along with a copy of your CV.

Don't worry about how rough your research proposal may be at this stage - you'll have help from the School of Education to refine it.

If your chosen supervisor is available to work with you, they'll confirm this and nominate a potential second supervisor.

As soon as a second supervisor is confirmed, an offer of study will be sent to you through Pegasus, our online application system.

If you accept our offer, you'll then be sent a full offer in writing via the email address you provide.

Accepting an offer

Once you've accepted our offer, we'll need you to fulfil any academic, administrative or financial conditions that we ask.

UK or EU students

If you're applying as a UK or EU student, you'll then be issued with your registration documentation.

You can apply for a postgraduate research degree at any point in the year.

All you have to do is complete an online application.

Support & development

The Graduate School

The Graduate School is a friendly and supportive study environment for all our research students studying subjects within Humanities & Social Sciences.

Our staff will support you through your studies and you'll become part of a community of students who get involved with out workshops, seminars and competitions.

Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Professional Development (PgCert RPD)

Our PgCert RPD programme aims to ensure you get the most out of your current research activities at Strathclyde and help you prepare for your future career as a researcher.

We'll help you recognise and develop your transferable skills that'll have a positive impact on your research, now and in the future.

Find out more about the PG Cert RPD programme.


We have a great careers service at Strathclyde that can help you with everything from writing your CV to interview preparation.

Student support

From financial advice to our IT facilities, we have loads of different support for all students here at our University. Get all the information you need at Strathlife.

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