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Faculty of Social Sciences

About the Programme

PhDs in Education and Lifelong Learning

UEA's postgraduate degree programmes in the School of Education & Lifelong Learning are designed to explore and contribute to local, national and international education. They are ideal for any researcher who works or hopes to work in education, at a university renowned for the quality of its research – ranking 10th in the UK for the quality of its research outputs in the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014). UEA is also a World Top 200 university (THE World University Rankings 2020) and is proud to support its postgraduate students through the UEA Doctoral College, which strives to create a nurturing environment to help students achieve their goals.

The School of Education and Lifelong Learning is one of the UK's premier centres for teaching and research in professional education and training. We maintain excellent partnerships with regional schools, college and adult education groups, as well as with governments and universities internationally.

2021 PhD studentships deadline: 18th January 2021

Applications are now open for doctoral studentships for entry in October 2021.

Research culture

Doctoral research degree programmes (PhD, EdD, EdPsyD) in the School of Education & Lifelong Learning are designed as independent studies at the highest level to meet the needs of individuals working or wishing to work in an educational setting. They are meant to investigate, challenge and aid improvements in local, national, and international educational environments. Our research students are valued members of the school and are encouraged to be attached to one of the Research Domains outlined below, and to take an active role in shaping the research culture and environment. 

Research Domains and supervisory expertise

Research in the School is organized around three key educational Domains. Each Domain contains a number of specialist foci as well as active research groups. Research students will draw on the expertise of staff in these domains. Applicants are encouraged to consult the research expertise and interests page to find the right primary supervisor for their area of research.

1.Pedagogy, Curriculum and Professional Learning (PCPL) - focusing on the development and support of applied and practice-based research with a bearing on educational issues Contact: Prof. Elena Nardi 

This domain has a focus on the research-led development and delivery of key curriculum areas across all sectors of educational activity and the development of school leadership and knowledge transfer. A key theme across this domain is the development and support of applied and practice-based research. Mathematics education; English & History curriculum and pedagogy; Sport, health and physical education; TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages); Teacher education (in English & other foreign languages); Lesson Learning Studies are specialist areas.

2. International Education and Social Change (IESC) - - focusing on education policies and practices in the Global South.

Contact: Prof Anna Robinson-Pant & Prof Yann Lebeau

The domain, with its focus on education policies and practices in the Global South hosts the prestigious UNESCO Chair in Adult Literacy and Learning for Social Transformation. As well as extensive work with higher education in international contexts, this domain has an international focus both methodologically and theoretically and in relation to the work undertaken by members. Lifelong learning, adult literacy, community learning, international development, internationalisation and HE, HE policy in the international context, minority groups and mobility, widening participation in HE are specialist areas.

3. Lifelong Learning Cultures (LLC) - focusing on the broader contexts in which young people learn, develop and practise identities in coming to comprehend the worlds in which they live and will live. Contact: Dr Esther Priyadharshini & Dr Harry Dyer

The domain brings together a range of methodological and theoretical expertise that explores the broader cultural contexts in which education, both formal and informal, takes place. An interest in gender, technologies, social media, public pedagogies, and popular culture characterises this domain. Informal learning in a range of communities and contexts, childhood/youth cultures and identities, digital and popular cultures, educational futures are specialist areas.

Please visit our website for further information on our research domains

Further information:

For further information please visit:

UEA School of Education Research degrees

Social Sciences Graduate School

Or email


Funding Notes

There are a limited number of PhD studentships available every year at UEA on a highly competitive basis, including a UEA School of Education and Lifelong Learning studentship and a UEA UNESCO Chair studentship (in the area of Adult Literacy and Learning for Social Transformation). In addition, there is the annual SeNSS (South East Network for Social Sciences) competition View Website. Applications for all these funding schemes are welcome from suitably qualified candidates worldwide with an original and high quality research proposal.

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