Personal and professional development through SoTL and PedR

SoTL and pedagogic research for higher education at MMU are not just about producing research outputs.  Engaging in research is a highly developmental, capacity building process, and MMU is able to formalise this capacity building through postgraduate qualifications, including the MA in Higher Education and PhD or EdD.

MA in Higher Education

The MA HE has been redeveloped to ensure that it is flexible enough to provide an advanced postgraduate qualification route for staff with a wide range of interests beyond a specific focus on learning, teaching and assessment; to include, for example, interests in technology enhanced learning in HE, or higher education policy and management.

Two specifically research-focused units are offered as part of the PGCLTHE/MAHE and can be taken with or without credits. Researching Higher Education uses problem- and enquiry-based learning approaches to prepare participants to carry out their own research projects in academic practice. Scholarship and Practice approaches learning and teaching, as well as other academically related dimensions of higher education provision, through a consideration of scholarly practice.

Doctoral Awards

There are several possible routes to doctoral awards, depending on a candidate’s prior and current experience in research and professional practice:


information about the Doctor in Education award can be found through the ESRI (Education and Social Research Institute) web pages.


In addition to the traditional PhD (taken by candidates with a good Honours degree and who have studied an appropriate topic for at least thirty-three months of full-time study), there are three alternative routes for candidates who wish to undertake a PhD. Routes 1 and 2 are by published work. Route 3 is by practice.  Not all routes will be appropriate for pedagogic research (and this probably applies to route 3 especially), but you can contact UTA to discuss the options.  The details of and requirements for the different PhD routes can be found in the relevant MMU regulations on the Graduate School website, and these are summarised below - click on the link for further information.

PhD by published work (route 1)

(Designed for active researchers both internal and external to the University)

This is an alternative route to a PhD for candidates who have acquired substantial experience of research and who have produced one or more research publications. These candidates would register for a PhD by publication and, during the period of registration, will produce additional publications under the guidance of a supervisory team.
A PhD by this route still requires:

  • appropriate supervision of the candidate;
  • the completion, where appropriate, of an approved supporting programme;
  • the preparation and submission of a thesis (analytical commentary);
  • and an examination to establish that a coherent significant contribution to knowledge or scholarship, that is of an acceptable national standing, has been made in a particular field.
  • 48 months part-time max submission time

PhD by published work (route 2)

(Designed for members of staff at MMU and external candidates who can demonstrate excellence of publication in their field)

There are important distinctions between PhD by Published Work routes 1 and 2. This route, unlike route 1, is for candidates:

a) with a strong academic career as evidenced by publication; or
b) who have produced a significant body of work outside a traditional academic context. This body of work must principally be the candidate’s own work.

Candidates must be graduates (or equivalent) of at least five years standing and have already obtained a Masters degree, or show evidence of having received research training or equivalent experience in their working environment.
Applications may be made at anytime throughout the academic year, in the first instance, to the University Research Degrees Manager.
The publications must all be available and accessible in the public domain, must represent a coherent and significant contribution to research in a given field and demonstrate a depth of scholarship and originality comparable with that required in a traditional PhD.
12 months registration period part-time (NB: earlier completion possible in practice)

PhD (route 3)

(Designed for candidates who are practising in a working research environment with the objective of producing outputs in a  professional and/or studio context)

This route, unlike PhD by Published Work, is suitable for candidates who are established professionals as well as suitably qualified recent postgraduates who are engaged in professional practice in the arts or design field. The programme of research may be carried out in any context for practice, for example, fine art, design, architecture, media arts, creative writing, film, television, dance, performance, music and composition.


Further information on doctoral study is available from the MMU Graduate School website