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 cohorts 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.
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 students writing skills and create opportunities to reflect on the application of the knowledge gained on the Ed D programme to the students 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.
Online application only here: PAC
PAC Code: MH06G
Please note applications for the Ed.D programme will be accepted biennially.
Your next opportunity to apply will be for 2025/2026. To assist with preparation we will be holding a series of information nights and proposal writing workshops commencing in late 2024, please register your interest here
Students should select the stream they intend to take when applying via PAC, please select either Educational Leadership, Teacher Education or Curriculum Studies.
The following documents should be uploaded to your online application form:
- Uploaded Documentation: Certified copies of all official transcripts of results for all non-Maynooth University qualifications listed MUST accompany the application. Failure to do so will delay your application being processed. Applicants must have a recognised primary degree which is considered equivalent to Irish university primary degree level.
- Uploaded Documentation: A 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.
- Supplementary Question on PAC: A short proposal (one-page / 500 words) outlining your proposed research topic. We recognise that your thinking will be tentative at this stage.
- The names and contact details of two referees.
- Non-Maynooth University students are asked to provide a copy of birth certificate or valid passport.
Applicants who meet the criteria will be required to attend for interview as part of the admissions process.
Please note applications for the Ed.D programme will be accepted biennially. The next programme will commence in Autumn 2026.
Please direct all enquiries to email@example.com