Doctor of Education

| Timeframes | Entry criteria | Apply | Portfolio| Thesis | Supervision | Ethics | Support | Papers |

This is a professional doctorate for master degree graduates who are senior practitioners and who want to complete a research-based qualification.

The EdD has two compulsory components,  a research portfolio and a 60,000 word thesis.

The EdD graduate will:

  • Be an experienced and competent professional practitioner;
  • Have an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the theoretical bases of empirical studies and professional practices in the relevant field of study to a level beyond that normally attained in masters programmes;
  • Apply this knowledge and understanding in professional settings with the objective of enhancing the quality of teaching, learning and administration and the well-being of colleagues and students;
  • Have produced advanced, original, applied research;
  • Provide leadership at national and international levels in their field of practice; and
  • Be able to present and defend their work in an appropriate academic and professional forum.


The programme is available full-time and part-time.  Part-time students are expected to attend two taught workshops in their first year, and two in their second year.  Normally a part-time student will complete two of the written research portfolio components in each year. The oral presentation should be arranged towards the end of the second year, at a time arranged in consultation with their supervisor and the Postgraduate Studies Office. Ethical approval can be applied for once the research proposal is completed.  If this process is not complete by the end of the second year, the student will be required to apply for an extension to re-enrol in Part 1.

Entry Criteria

Honours or Masters degree (B+average)
A professional qualification
3-5 years’ experience in education or a related profession.

Applicants need to have completed a research methods paper at the postgraduate level and some research experience: this may be through doing a dissertation or thesis for their masters degree.  In cases where applicants have significant other relevant experience, this prerequisite may be waived.  Students who do not meet these prerequisites may be asked to complete one or two qualifying research papers as a pathway to and preparation for a doctoral application.  We may also ask to see any research reports or publications written by the applicant prior to approving an application.

Note: when assessing eligibility, please provide original or verified copies of earlier qualifications, which were not completed at the University of Waikato.

To Apply

  1. Pre-enrolment discussion with the Postgraduate Studies Administrator/Academic staff member/Director of Postgraduate Studies
  2. Initial research proposal
  3. Selection of supervisor
  4. Formal enrolment
    • Complete the EdD Application Form
    • Once your academic qualifications and grades have been assessed and the availability of suitable supervision is established, your application will be approved and you can enrol.
    • Complete the online enrolment process.
    • You must then pursue coursework and research for at least three years full-time (six years part-time or mixed mode basis).

Enrolment is approved, in the first instance:

  • for a maximum of two years in Part 1 and a maximum period of four years in both Part 1 and Part 2 if the candidate is registered on a full-time basis, or
  • for a maximum of four years in Part 1 and a maximum period of eight years in both Part 1 and Part 2 if the candidate is registered on a part-time or mixed mode basis.

You are required to maintain continuous enrolment throughout the entire period of their degree.  There is provision for application for a suspension from enrolment for up to a maximum cumulative time of 12 months in both Part 1 and Part 2. You are not entitled to access to supervision or any University resources during a period of suspension.

Programme Requirements

DSOE994 EdD Thesis
DSOE995 EdD Research Portfolio

The EdD Research Portfolio (Part 1) (DSOE995)

The requirements for the portfolio are:

  1. Attendance at four taught workshops offered at specified times to fulfill the requirements of b), c) and d) below;
  2. An 8-10,000 word literature review on a specified area of educational theory, policy and/or practice;
  3. An 8-10,000 word position paper on a specific topic in the specified field of educational practice;
  4. An 8-10,000 word exposition and critical evaluation of a particular research methodology;
  5. A full research proposal
  6. An oral presentation of the proposal to a convocation of peers;
  7. Ethical approval of the proposal


The Centre for Postgraduate Studies will announce dates for workshops at the beginning of each year. Variations for part-time enrolments are open to negotiation with the Director of the Centre for Postgraduate Studies by individual students. However it is expected that part-time students will enrol in .5 per year.

In completing Part 1, successful students will have:

  • identified a significant research topic in a current area of professional practice;
  • established and taken up a reasoned and defensible scholarly position in relation to this topic;
  • developed a focused research proposal, observing the requirements of the Postgraduate Studies Committee for a Full Research Plan

During Part 1 students are required to participate in structured opportunities to interact with a cohort of their peers.  These opportunities are provided in the form of the four annual taught workshops.

Upon enrolment students will be assigned a supervisory panel by the Director of the Centre for Postgraduate Studies. Students are required to maintain contact with their supervisors throughout their programme.

More about doctoral workshops >>

The EdD Thesis (Part 2) (DSOE994)

The thesis

Completing a thesis requires rigorous academic study and commitment over at least a 24-month period. This is an original project that makes a significant contribution to knowledge and understanding of professional practice in education. A good thesis is coherent, of publishable quality and makes an original contribution to knowledge. Significant parts of the work should be worthy of publication at international level.

The word length for EdD theses is: 60,000 words maximum

General assessment standards for doctoral thesis

A doctoral thesis (EdD/PhD) is examined by two examiners, one of whom is usually based overseas. Your Chief supervisor also provides a report. After you have received your examiners’ reports, you also participate in an oral examination. There are three possible outcomes of the examination process: accepted without amendments; accepted with amendments; not accepted.

The examination procedures for the thesis are available by downloading the Handbook for Research Degrees.

The criteria below have been adapted from those used by the New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies for the reviewing of articles. Your lecturer will include similar criteria in course requirements. These give a useful indication of the ‘measures’ used to assess whether or not a paper is written at doctoral level:

  • Some estimation of the importance of the general area of the article;
  • The degree of importance of the author’s own contribution (does it show comprehensive reading of the literature; does it critically engage with the debates, theories and methods in the field?);
  • The fairness and accuracy of the author’s summarising of past work by others (does it engage with the different theories and approaches within the broad field of study; does it engage seriously with differing points of view?);
  • The nature and type of evidence offered to support the arguments of the author’s own contribution; the clarity of presentation of the evidence or argument or analysis (does the author base his or her own conclusions or interpretation on a sound overview of the available evidence or possible approaches?);
  • Any important omissions (are key theories, methods or topics left out?).

Ethical Review

Once your research plan for your thesis is finalised apply to the Faculty of Education’s Research Ethics Committee for ethical review of your project. Note the dates for ethics submission. This Committee meets a certain times of the year.

Ethics Application Form

Postgraduate Support

Staff in the Centre for Postgraduate Studies for all postgraduate enquiries. This includes information about the ethical review process, the supervision process, resources available to postgraduate students such as doctoral workshops, thesis guidelines, scholarship or grant information and information about graduation.