Course information


3-4 years full-time or 4-6 years part-time

Course overview

Goldsmiths' operating principles for 2022-23 have not yet been finalised but should changes be required to teaching in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we will publish these as early as possible for prospective students wishing to start their programme in September 2022.

We are committed to developing our postgraduate students into competent educational researchers able to conduct rigorous research using a variety of methodological approaches. We welcome inquiries about possible research topics both theoretical and empirical.

We are particularly interested to hear from those who would like to work within areas such as:

  • art practice and learning
  • bilingualism in education
  • children’s literature and education
  • curriculum policy and practice
  • digital technologies and learning
  • equity and social justice
  • education policy
  • social research ethics as situated practice

The Department of Educational Studies has about thirty research students from the UK, the EU, and the rest of the world. Many of our research students are also practising professionals carrying out research related to their work. Students study either full-time or part-time.

Students become members of the Department’s Research Centres and they are encouraged to contribute along with staff and other visiting scholars to their seminar series. Additional facilities for research students are provided by the Goldsmiths Graduate School.

The Department of Educational Studies also participates in two prestigious Doctoral Training Partnerships (please see the Funding section below).

Have a look at our student profiles and their research topics.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact the programme administrator.


Programme aims

To help you:

  • Identify appropriate issues of educational significance for your enquiry
  • Select appropriate methods and methodologies by which to investigate these
  • Appreciate the epistemological and technical assumptions that underpin this choice
  • Design and execute a well-founded enquiry
  • Analyse and interpret findings with accuracy, rigour and originality
  • Identify the practical and professional implications of educational enquiry


We ensure that you are supported by highly qualified supervisors with whom you work to a mutually agreed timetable and maintain regular tutorial contact throughout your research. An induction and research training programme is provided and you are normally expected to follow this. There is an annual appraisal of your progress, and every effort is made to ensure good communication between yourself, your supervisor and other relevant members of staff.

Students have additional support from the Goldsmiths Graduate School, where there is a lively programme of interdisciplinary seminars, as well as core research training to support your studies. The Graduate School also has its own virtual research community, running in parallel to the physical School and providing online seminars and research training programmes.

All MPhil and PhD students and academic staff are invited to research seminars run by the Department’s three Research Centres: the Centre for Language, Culture and Learning (CLCL), the Centre for the Arts and Learning and the Centre for Identities and Social Justice. In addition to academics from inside and outside the University, research students also have an opportunity to contribute to seminars on work in progress.


In addition to the facilities available in the Graduate School the Department has good facilities for research students including a study room with networked computers, scanner and printers.


Thesis and viva voce.

For 2021-22 and 2020–21, we have made some changes to how the teaching and assessment of certain programmes are delivered. To check what changes affect this programme, please visit the programme changes page.

What our students say

Sam Holdstock

The relationships I had built with members of the Education faculty during my MA made Goldsmiths' doctoral programme the natural choice.

Sam's research topic

Having greatly enjoyed my MA in Creative Writing and Education at Goldsmiths, I began my PhD in 2019. My research explores the role that Interactive Fiction might be able to play in the secondary school English classroom, with a particular focus on classroom talk and dialogue. However, I am also exploring the role of the teacher-writer, and some of the experimental works I have developed for use in the classroom can be found on my website.

Choosing the doctoral programme

The relationships I had built with members of the Education faculty during my MA made Goldsmiths' doctoral programme the natural choice. My PhD supervisors are knowledgeable, inspirational and supportive, and they have helped me to refine and develop my thinking a great deal. Moreover, the Department of Educational Studies has also supported me financially by means of a bursary. This has been enormously helpful, and I have felt well-supported throughout my PhD so far.

Sam's time at Goldsmiths

I particularly enjoy the opportunities for discussion that the programme offers. The Work in Progress seminars, Saturday school series and supervision sessions I have attended have been hugely stimulating. It is always interesting to hear about the research of my peers and to discuss all things Education with a group of like-minded, critical and curious individuals.

Advice for future students

I would encourage students to embrace and explore the range of opportunities and expertise that are available - you never know where the next exciting, inspiring or interesting idea will come from.

South East London experience

I am enjoying studying in South East London because it is near where I live and work; I feel close to the academic community I have joined, and this community does not feel detached from the rest of my life.

Jessica Boyd

I chose the Education doctoral programme because I was aware of the forward-thinking, innovative and social justice focus that the university had.

Jessica's research topic

I work in initial teacher training and my research topic looks at Culturally Relevant Pedagogy. This study aims to understand the ways in which teachers in England take into account the cultural identity of their students in their planning and teaching.

Jessica's time at Goldsmiths

I chose the Education doctoral programme because I was aware of the forward-thinking, innovative and social justice focus that the university had and I could see that my research ideas would complement the work that the Education department were already focused on.

I enjoy discussing research critically with my supervisors. No two conversations are the same and I always come away from discussions feeling both challenged and valued.

Advice for future students

Do it! Goldsmiths is so forward-thinking and has impact at the heart of all of the various activities. You naturally meet so many different types of people at university and it's a great way to discover more about yourself and those around you.

South East London experience

Goldsmiths is also located in such a vibrant area of London, you'll never run out of interesting things to do.

Entry requirements

You should normally have (or expect to be awarded) a taught Masters in a relevant subject area. 

You might also be considered for some programmes if you aren’t a graduate or your degree is in an unrelated field, but have relevant experience and can show that you have the ability to work at postgraduate level.

International qualifications

We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.

If English isn’t your first language, you will need an IELTS score (or equivalent English language qualification) of 6.5 with a 6.5 in writing and no element lower than 6.0 to study this programme. If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

Fees, funding & scholarships

Annual tuition fees

These are the fees for students starting their programme in the 2022/2023 academic year.

  • Home - full-time: £TBC
  • Home - part-time: £TBC
  • International - full-time: £15820

If your fees are not listed here, please check our postgraduate fees guidance or contact the Fees Office, who can also advise you about how to pay your fees.

It’s not currently possible for international students to study part-time if you require a Student Visa, however this is currently being reviewed and will be confirmed in the new year. Please read our visa guidance in the interim for more information. If you think you might be eligible to study part-time while being on another visa type, please contact our Admissions Team for more information.

If you are looking to pay your fees please see our guide to making a payment.

Additional costs

In addition to your tuition fees, you'll be responsible for any additional costs associated with your course, such as buying stationery and paying for photocopying. You can find out more about what you need to budget for on our study costs page.

There may also be specific additional costs associated with your programme. This can include things like paying for field trips or specialist materials for your assignments.

Funding opportunities

Find out more about postgraduate fees and explore funding opportunities. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.

ESRC/SeNSS studentships

Fully-funded ESRC studentships are available via the South-East Network for Social Sciences (SeNSS) Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP), a consortium formed of 10 leading UK Universities, all of which are engaged in cutting-edge social science research and training.

A number of past and current students on this programme have been awarded SeNSS studentships.

For information about ESRC/SeNSS funding please, visit the ESRC studentships section.

AHRC/CHASE studentships

Fully-funded AHRC studentships are available via the Consortium for the Humanities and the Arts South-East England (CHASE) Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP), a consortium of nine leading UK institutions offering additional professional development opportunities including the enhancement of media skills and placements overseas or with arts organisations.

For information about AHRC/CHASE funding please, visit the AHRC studentships section.

Departmental Bursaries

For information about 2021 Departmental Bursaries competition please visit our Departmental Bursaries section.

How to apply

You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system. 

Before submitting your application you'll need to have: 

  • Details of your education history, including the dates of all exams/assessments
  • The email address of your referee who we can request a reference from, or alternatively an electronic copy of your academic reference
  • Contact details of a second referee
  • personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online

          Please see our guidance on writing a postgraduate statement

  • If available, an electronic copy of your educational transcript (this is particularly important if you have studied outside of the UK, but isn’t mandatory)
  • Details of your research proposal (please also see below guidelines)

You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.

Before you apply for a research programme, we advise you to get in touch with the programme contact, listed above. It may also be possible to arrange an advisory meeting.

Before you start at Goldsmiths, the actual topic of your research has to be agreed with your proposed supervisor, who will be a member of staff active in your general field of research. The choice of topic may be influenced by the current research in the department or the requirements of an external funding body. 

If you wish to study on a part-time basis, you should also indicate how many hours a week you intend to devote to research, whether this will be at evenings or weekends, and for how many hours each day.

Guidelines for writing an outline research proposal

A good research proposal is required if you are interested in studying at MPhil or PhD level at Goldsmiths. It should indicate the topic that you are interested in and your experience and understanding of the area. The proposal forms a basis for discussion if you are interviewed and is important in helping us decide the supervisory support needed.

Whatever topic that you choose to research there will be a considerable investment of time and energy on your behalf. In view of this you need to consider carefully what you want to find out, whether the work is important to you and will sustain your interest and commitment over a number of years. Please also refer to our information on writing a research proposal.

The proposal should be between 1,500 and 2,000 words long. Although the exact form may vary according to what you intend to do, you should aim to include the following:

  • Title
    This may only be a working title but it should clearly indicate the field of study and your research focus within it.
  • Introduction
    This should outline the general field of study and why you regard researching a particular aspect of this to be important. It is helpful to indicate how your own experience has led you to the particular research questions that you are asking and why you think you are in a good position to carry out the research.
  • Main research questions
    State clearly what you aim to find out. Try to make your research questions sufficiently focused so that they can be adequately addressed within the time and the resources that you have available.
  • Reviewing the literature
    You need to show that you are aware of the main debates and issues relevant to your study. Key contributions in the literature should be cited and commented upon. These may be theoretical or drawn from practice research (see section below). In either case, the links with the work that you intend to do must be made explicit. Try to make clear what is already known in the immediate area and indicate how your work will add something new and distinctive to what already exists.
  • Methodology
    You are asked to provide a brief overview of your intended research approach. For example, empirical research may draw on observation, interviews or document analysis that can be described qualitatively or quantitatively. A further variation, referred to as ‘practice research’, can be based around the creation of an act or artefact that in itself provides a contribution to knowledge. Whichever approach you use it must be clear how any data or practice will help you answer your main research question. You need to show that you are aware of the different methods and analyses that you could use and provide a brief rationale for those most suited to your research. Indicate details such as where will you carry out your work, others who may be involved, over what period of time, and whether you will be able to obtain permissions or access needed.
  • Ethical issues 
    Briefly indicate any particular considerations that might arise regarding issues such as protecting your participants from harm, respecting their autonomy and privacy. 

Research proposals

Along with your application and academic reference, you should also upload a research proposal at the point of application. 

This should be in the form of a statement of the proposed area of research and should include: 

  • delineation of the research topic
  • why it has been chosen
  • an initial hypothesis (if applicable)
  • a brief list of major secondary sources

When to apply 

We accept applications from October for students wanting to start the following September. 

We encourage you to complete your application as early as possible, even if you haven't finished your current programme of study. It's very common to be offered a place conditional on you achieving a particular qualification. 

Selection process 

Admission to many programmes is by interview, unless you live outside the UK. Occasionally we'll make candidates an offer of a place on the basis of their application and qualifications alone.

Find out more about applying.



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