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Education MPhil/PhD

The University of Worcester welcomes applications to undertake research towards MPhil and PhD degrees in a range of areas of Education.

Research in Education at Worcester has grown significantly in the last 10 years as the University itself has expanded. As a research student you will join a vibrant student community in our Research School and become part of our dynamic and engaged research student body in Education.

You will have the opportunity to be supervised by leading researchers in your field and take advantage of our rich Researcher Development programme which will help you to develop the skills and knowledge you need to complete your research degree, but also enhance the skills you will need in any future career.


Our MPhil/PhD research degree programme offers you:

Wide variety of research interests

The Institute of Education has a strong mix of academics with a high degree of professional and personal experience, enabling you to get the most out of your programme. Our staff have expertise in, amongst other things, learning and teaching in different contexts; values education; professional learning and professional development; history of education; religious education; special and inclusive education.

Excellent supervision

Benefit from a professional and challenging relationship with your supervisory team, drawn from experienced academics working at the forefront of their disciplines.


Access to the University of Worcester’s virtual resources and its state of the art library facilities.

Recent successful projects have involved research on a non-authoritarian approach to secondary school pedagogy; enhancing trainee teachers’ confidence and subject knowledge of primary school drama; and Kenyan teachers’ professional identity in the context of educational change. Some of the topic currently being explored by research students are: broadcast collective worship for schools at the BBC; leadership work in further education; and how the educational experiences of Muslim young women affect their life choices. In contrast, our newest Education MPhil/PhD student is evaluating SENCo perceptions of education, health and care plans.

How to apply

How to apply

Please make your application via our online application form. If you have any questions, please contact the Research School on 01905 542182 or

Before you submit a full application, please contact Prof. Stephen Parker ( to discuss your research project and the availability of appropriate supervision.



Dr Anthony Barnett
Expertise: innovative research methodology; generative social research; the use and categorisation of asynchronous discussion within HE.

Dr Karen Blackmore
Expertise: science related pedagogy and andragogy particularly with respective to pioneering and mobile technology enhanced learning strategies; emergent teacher professional identity of pre-service teachers with a foci on fostering research informed teaching practice; learning and teaching innovations in the area of conceptually challenging cognition.

Dr Sean Bracken
Expertise: leadership of learning and teaching; inclusivity in higher, secondary and primary education; linguistic and cultural diversity.

Professor Jaswinder Dhillon
Expertise: the perspectives of students, lecturers, senior leaders and managers in educational organisations, particularly in relation to policies and initiatives that aim to improve existing practice; partnerships and partnership working, social capital, students’ experience of higher education; and qualitative research in organisations, families and communities.

Professor Geoffrey Elliott
Expertise: work-based research; Higher Education access and inclusion; education and social change; post-compulsory education; educational leadership.

Dr Karen Hanson
Expertise: action research; the transition within phases of education; collaborative working in educational environments; education and care.

Dr Ruth Hewston
Expertise: education of gifted, talented and highly able pupils; effective pedagogies for creative arts learning; the development of musical ability; music psychology; psychology of education.

Dr Colin Howard
Expertise: teachers’ sense of professional identity and professional resilience; how the physical environment of a school can influence the motivation, morale and job satisfaction of teaching professionals.

Dr Sue Howarth
Expertise: biology education; science education; Initial Teacher Education (Secondary); the importance of effective practical work, including dissection and field work, in science education; continuing professional development for science teachers; STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) Enrichment and Enhancement.

Dr Pinky Jain
Expertise: primary mathematics; mathematics pedagogy; mathematical difficulties and anxiety; considering the role of talk in mathematics; experiential learning; mathematical thinking and reasoning skills; mathematical prior knowledge; professional development and teachers mathematical subject knowledge and International comparative studies.

Professor Alison Kington
Expertise: mixed methods research in education and social psychology;  'classroom life'; the utilisation and application of research to improve professional practice; teacher-pupil and peer relationships; the impact of social interaction on cognitive development; classroom identities; and effective practice.

Dr Teresa Lehane
Expertise: qualitative research in the field of ‘special educational needs and disability’; use of interviews and textual analysis; critical discourse analysis.

Dr Wendy Messenger
Expertise: inter-professional working and professional culture; aspects professional development in a range of contexts including education, health and social care.

Professor Stephen Parker
Expertise: the religious history of education in the 19th and 20th century; religious education in a variety of contexts; history of education; history of childhood; media history; religions and society; theology and education.

Professor Maggi Savin-Baden
Expertise: the effectiveness of learning in new electronic and immersive spaces; innovative and creative scenarios designed for learning.

Dr Carla Solvason
Expertise: concepts of educational justice and exploring policy in practice; educational cultures and re/creating cultures; social justice; educational opportunity; philosophy of education; children’s language development.

Dr Philip Woodward
Expertise: aspects of the sociology of education.

Dr Richard Woolley
Expertise: diversity, equality and inclusion issues in education; approaches to difficult and controversial issues in primary education; citizenship and PSHE in primary education; relationships and sex education (primary); religious education and children’s spirituality; the pedagogy of Holocaust education in the primary year education studies; widening participation, first generation and non-traditional students in higher education

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