EdD Professional Doctorate in Educational Leadership

Are you seeking to progress your career as a manager and leader in primary, secondary or tertiary education? Our Doctor of Educational Leadership (EdDL) degree focuses on helping you gain high standard professional, organisational and political skills and knowledge to meet the vast challenges associated with improving both public and private educational environments.

EdD Professional Doctorate in Educational Leadership

Course details

The University of Bolton’s EdD in Leadership is designed for working professionals who aspire to be educational leaders. If you’re looking to strengthen your skills for leading groups in high-performing teaching and learning organisations, and connect relevant research with practice, this part-taught doctoral programme can support your career development.

The Doctor of Education in Leadership differs from the traditional PhD in that it is in two parts. Stage one, the taught element, offers you the opportunity to complete ‘blocks’ of blended learning – combining online rich media-based interaction and collaborative work, seminars, online taught elements and tutorials with interactive collaborative coursework. You’ll be guided to explore topics such as revisiting learning and teaching, the impact of emerging educational models, transformative learning, managing politics and policy influences, leadership and organisational transformation, and mastering the ‘self’.

Stage two involves a programme of directed and independent study leading to the development and submission of your research proposal, followed by the production and defence of your own critical commentary. Our welcoming team of experienced, professionally and academically qualified staff will help you to understand how you can align your research topic of interest to other current research in applicable fields, and apply it to your own professional practice and context.

  • Start date: 21/09/2020
  • Location: The University of Bolton
  • Award: EdD
  • Duration: 3 years

Course highlights:

  • The EdDL is a high-level, nationally-recognised qualification that has strong higher education kudos and compares exactly to a PhD.
  • Professionals who hold a University of Bolton EdDL take back to their organisation a greater knowledge and a higher understanding of today's diverse educational leadership landscape, gained through a programme that is research driven.
  • We’ll work with you to help mould your EdDL so that it complements your employment and interests within the research framework.
  • You’ll be strongly encouraged to bring your own education leadership-related issues to the table as the basis of your research. The research (thesis) phase requires you to design, implement and disseminate an original research study.
  • This partly taught doctorate offers a more efficient format than the independent research project involved in a traditional PhD.

Key features:

  • Our EdDL emphasizes leadership development, oral and written communication, and understanding of contemporary educational assessment and research.
  • You’ll examine a specific area of interest in detail via a thesis, and be encouraged to develop your research, analytical, conceptual and critical thinking skills to a very high level.
  • Using collaborative learning methods, you’ll be encouraged to work with other course members and your tutors as co-developers of knowledge, drawing from work-based experience to share best practice. You’ll also have the opportunity to develop a strong working relationship with your fellow students and tutors before you embark on your research phase.
  • The course is designed to fit around your current employment commitments and responsibilities. We offer flexible, blended learning that is accommodating for working professionals.
  • For your thesis, you’ll work with a named supervisor, your Director of Studies, who’ll guide and advise you through the course up to submission and the oral examination.

Entry requirements

  • Start date: 21/09/2020
  • Location: The University of Bolton
  • Award: EdD
  • Duration: 3 years

Normally, you should have a Master’s degree and at least three years’ experience working in education or training.

Normally, you’ll be required to attend an interview and/or provide a portfolio of work.

Normally, you’ll need to provide satisfactory references prior to enrolment on the course.

If English isn’t your first language, you’ll also need IELTS 7.5 with normally no less than 7.0 in any band (or equivalent).

Career opportunities

The University of Bolton’s EdD in Leadership is designed for those currently in, or aspiring to, senior or middle leadership roles and responsibilities in schools, colleges, universities or other professional educational and training settings. It’s highly relevant for education practitioners, researchers, policymakers, and scholars interested in exploring leaders and leadership in an educational context, and developing their critique and analyses of best practices to inform decision making at managerial level.

This course is designed for senior educational professionals and leaders working in schools, colleges, and other educational organisations committed to high quality teaching, learning and leadership. Successful completion of this Doctor of Education course will enhance professional effectiveness with the emphasis on leadership, educational reform and managing change. Holders of this qualification will possess skills in organisation and management along with the knowledge and political skills needed to improve both public and private educational environments.

What can I do with this qualification?

Possession of an EdD in Educational Leadership will enhance your career opportunities and can support your progression into senior education leadership and management. This could include senior headships, executive principalships, higher education academic roles, as well as roles managing and leading new academies, and chief executive roles within educational charities.

Alternative career options

  • Quality inspection
  • Consultancy
  • Local Authority senior management
  • Department for Education senior management
  • Journalism/writing
  • Educational charity work
  • Educational policy
  • Social work
  • Local government
  • Higher education

Professional recognition

Successfully completing this doctorate may facilitate your application for Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA).

Fees & funding

Home/EU fees

  Year of study Total
Entry year 2019/202020/212021/222022/23
2019/20 £4,260£4,260£4,260-£12,780
2020/21 -£4,328£4,328£4,328£12,984

International fees

  Year of study Total
Entry year 2019/202020/212021/222022/23
2019/20 £12,000£12,000£12,000-£36,000
2020/21 -£12,000£12,000£12,000£36,000
Useful information

The full-time fee for this programme is £4,260 per year for a home student and £12,000 per year for an international student starting in 2019/20.

The fees for a student’s course of study will be set for the normal duration of that course subject only to inflationary increases – measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) recorded in March each year to take effect for subsequent start dates.

The University is currently awaiting Government guidelines as to EU fee charges for students commencing study in 2019/20.

UK undergraduate tuition fees are subject to UK government approval and are subject to the outcome of the Teaching Excellence Framework.

How to apply


You may apply directly to the University using the University's online application form. Please select your chosen start date from the list below:

You should have to hand:

  • Details of the educational establishments you attended and dates

  • Your certificates for the qualifications you are using to gain entry to the course – you will need to enter the completion date and upload copies

  • Details of any employment history including name, address, dates and role

  • Personal statement – this can be either input into the relevant field or uploaded separately

  • Details including e-mail addresses of two referees, at least one of which should be someone who can provide an academic reference

Please make sure any documents you wish to upload in support of your application are in pdf or jpeg format. Personal statements may be word documents.

Please ensure your data is correct at each stage of the application before you proceed to the next page. If you use the back button at any time during the application, you should check the validity of the data you have already input.

If you experience difficulties during the application process, contact the Admissions Team on 01204 903394 or admissions@bolton.ac.uk


The University welcomes applications from international students from all over the world. We try to make the application process as simple and as fast as possible for our international applicants.

How you apply is determined by your current location and what you are choosing to study:

  1. Apply direct to the University. Links for the next available intakes of this course are shown below. Please click the link which will direct you to the online application form. Please read the user guidance before completing this.
  2. Apply via one of our approved in-country referral partners. A list of our partners may be found on the International pages of this website.
  3. Apply via UCAS for courses starting in September only – visit www.ucas.com.

Should you have any queries please contact the International Team on +44 (0) 1204 903110 or email international@bolton.ac.uk

Teaching & assessment


Modules listed below are a mixture of compulsory and optional. You may not have the opportunity to study all the modules as part of the course.

  • Leadership and Organisational Transformation
  • Research Methodologies in Professional Education
  • Leading Curriculum Design, Teaching and Learning
  • Thesis
  • Practicum

Teaching, learning and assessment

This programme combines a range of blended learning approaches enriched with emerging technologies, with flexible delivery designed to fit around your demanding personal and professional commitments. We aim to provide a safe but challenging space in a supportive community of peers, and our supervisors, module tutors, guest speakers and moderators are themselves experienced managers and leaders in a variety of educational areas, and engaged in the drive to raise the quality of provision in all educational sectors.

We favour a style of interaction that places a great deal of emphasis on personal responsibility, self and critical awareness, recognition of the needs of others, and open and honest communication. We’ll encourage you to undertake scholarly reflection on, and experiment with, new concepts and ideas, and guide you in the development of your professional understanding of practice, and research skills.

We aim to act as facilitators – helping you to develop the necessary critical distance from which to review and evaluate research, relevant existing and emerging theories, policies, and best practices. We’ll encourage you to examine and challenge your own professional practice and its relationship with theory and trends, and support you to design and undertake your own ethically-informed research.

Crucially, your studies will usher you towards the development, production and defence of your thesis – a comprehensive study of your application of knowledge to a professional practice issue or issues with a shared theme. To this end, you’ll work with a named supervisor, your Director of Studies, who will guide and advise you through to submission and the oral examination. They’ll have expertise in the area of your proposed research so you can discuss your ideas in tutorial sessions.

Overall, you’ll be expected to demonstrate significant independence in your study, taking responsibility for the management of your own learning time.


The university will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver your course as described in its published material and the programme specification for the academic year in which you begin your course. Please be aware that our courses are subject to review on an ongoing basis. The content of course modules and mode of associated assessments may be updated on an annual basis. This is to ensure that all modules are up to date and responsive to employment and sector needs. The published course material and the programme specification contain indicative ‘optional modules’ that may be subject to change due to circumstances outside of our control. For this reason we cannot guarantee to run any specific optional module.

Assessment methods

Level Assessment method
Level One Coursework (100%)

Learning activities

Level Learning activity
Level One Guided independent study (80%), Scheduled learning and teaching activities (20%)

Contact The University

Key facts

  • Course type:
  • Start date:
  • Location:
    The University of Bolton
  • Award:
  • Duration:
    3 years

Contact us

David Hopkins
Programme Leader
Email: D.Hopkins@bolton.ac.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)1204 903356

Enquiry Team
University of Bolton
Email: enquiries@bolton.ac.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)1204 903903