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The School of Education has a vibrant research culture with staff and doctoral students engaged in forms of social and educational enquiry that is of international standing. Our research culture and community is ever expanding and our doctoral students are central to this development. Our research active staff publish widely in books and academic journals and are involved in local or international research projects. Many also act as academic consultants, editors, reviewers and examiners which together constitute a very experienced academic base within which postgraduate research students are enabled to flourish.

The Centre for Research in to Education, Creativity and the Arts (RECAP) has an established reputation as a network centre for academics and other professionals using the arts including those in education, arts and culture, health, justice, heritage, sport and organisations and business in the public, private and third sector - locally, nationally and internationally. It is Co-Directed by Professors Jeff Adams and Allan Owens who have international reputations in their respective fields. Visiting research fellows, professors and artists serve further to enrich our research environment. Project funding from the British Academy, World Bank, Esme Fairborn, RSA, Canadian Social Science Institute and a wide range of EU streams ensures that the centre remains at the forefront of developments in the field of creative pedagogies and arts based research with specialisms in Art, Drama and Music Education. Particularly strong collaboration is ongoing with Tate Liverpool, Storyhouse Chester, Curious Minds, NW Arts Council England Bridging Organisation, National Society for Education in Art and Design (NSEAD) and with our Partner institutions in Austria, Canada, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Palestine, Spain and Sweden.

Research Areas

Our research into education and pedagogy has developed around the key themes of:

  • Creativity
  • Early childhood
  • Teacher education 
  • Equity and social justice 
  • Leadership development, sustainable leadership and trait leadership, which is supporting the development of the next generation of educational leaders
  • Subject specific areas such as the Arts, Modern Foreign Languages and Mathematics Education

The Department 

We pride ourselves on a strong international dimension to our research activity. Our doctoral students find themselves part of a vibrant community comprising diverse educational cultures which serve to complement our key values of local research activity in partnership with community stakeholders. The School’s international networks thus successfully ensure that our students are part of an academic community in the widest sense. For example, we work with the British Council Higher Education Scholarship for Palestine (HESPAL) and also have doctoral students working with us from Sweden, the Netherlands and Spain. Networks are also well established with institutions in Australia and further developing in the USA.

Evening seminars, workshops and conferences are held regularly to supplement doctoral-level study and our research students attend, and present their work, at School interdisciplinary research seminars and conferences alongside experienced researchers.

There are two routes leading to a doctorate in education: MPhil/PhD or EdD; the latter includes a taught component that is designed specifically for professional people and is delivered over six weekends each year to account for busy schedules. Similarly our MPhil/PhD supervision is geared towards the needs and interests of educational professionals and our supervisors have researched and published in the fields of pedagogy, philosophy, theory and the sociology of education as well as being, in many cases, experienced practitioners.

Our students are supported and supervised thoroughly and furnished with the necessary critical and research skills to prepare and develop a viable thesis that will occupy the final stages of their study. Whichever route students follow they will study as a member of a supportive community of peers. Our research students are encouraged to develop distinctive themes for research grounded in their own professional practice but which articulate well with our own portfolios of interest which can range from: exploring young children’s play to investigating adult learners’ study skills; or studying young people’s ideas about contemporary art in a gallery to analysing the impact of the applications of the arts in learning in public, private and third sector organisations and business. Our tailored research-support programme develops research and enquiry skills often linked to teaching and learning and/or other aspects of an organisation’s improvement plan. Participants explore and implement a range of research methodologies to promote education and pedagogical research thus inspiring a culture of professional enquiry and research.

Entry Months

These Research Degrees usually commence annually in October, February and May.


The School warmly welcomes enquiries from potential research students interested in any of our research areas. Visit our course page for programme and contact information relating to our Doctorate of Education (EdD). For any enquiries about PhD or MPhil applications, please contact: Information is also available for fees and funding for Postgraduate Research Degrees.