Students preparing for their graduation ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral

Higher Education - PhD

2019

Research on Higher Education at Kent includes work on education policy, the philosophy, economics, management and politics of HE, disciplinary teaching and learning, learning technology, academic practice and sociological perspectives on academic work.

2019

Overview

The Centre for the Study of Higher Education draws on expertise from across the University, so we can offer high-quality PhD supervision; we work very carefully to match you with a supervisory panel that suits your interests and ambitions. There are further details on the research activities and publications of individual members of staff on the Centre’s website.

In addition to regular meetings with supervisors, all research students take part in a tailored research training programme, which can include research methods modules offered by the Centre or by other schools, as appropriate. As well as attending the regular research seminars offered by the Centre, you are encouraged to participate in the seminars, workshops, newer researcher networks and masterclasses offered by the scholarly bodies in the discipline, including the Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE) and the British Educational Research Association (BERA).

About the Centre for the Study of Higher Education

The Centre for the Study of Higher Education provides a base for postgraduate provision with a distinctive focus on the field of Higher Education. CSHE is also a focal point for research in this area, supported by seminars and events to which all postgraduate students and staff are warmly welcomed.

We offer three taught postgraduate programmes (PCert, PDip and MA in Higher Education) and a PhD in Higher Education. Taught programmes are tailored to different levels of experience and designed for you to select subject matter according to your own professional interests and role. The emphasis throughout is on developing an understanding of the Higher Education context, the diversity of provision and the implications for all aspects of academic work in the 21st century.

The PhD programme, offered on a full-time or part-time basis, is aimed at those with a professional or scholarly interest in any aspect of Higher Education who wish to develop as independent researchers in the field. Students on our programmes come from a wide range of subject backgrounds and bring a rich variety of experiences to their work, resulting in a lively interdisciplinary dimension to taught modules and opportunities for debate.

Please note that we are unable to offer tuition or supervision in relation to other phases of education (e.g. schools), or to schoolteacher education.

National ratings

In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, 97% of the University’s research was judged to be of international quality, with 73% of this judged to be internationally excellent.

Careers

Our students are higher education professionals at various stages of their careers, ranging from early career teachers to lecturers to experienced senior leaders. Throughout, we aim to enhance students’ understanding and capacity for critical analysis of the contexts and practices of higher education.

The MA in Higher Education further encourages students to reflect upon their own professional experiences through critical engagement with topics of academic interest. After completing the MA, recent graduates have gained promotion within their existing roles, taken up new employment or commenced PhD study.

Study support

Research expertise and resources

The Centre for the Study of Higher Education has members of staff based in all faculties in the University, as well as a core team of Education specialists. Higher Education is a broad interdisciplinary field, and members of the Centre for the Study of Higher Education research and publish on a wide range of subjects. Full details can be found on individual staff webpages. The Centre draws on expertise from a range of disciplines; we offer joint supervision with other academic schools, and can accommodate a wide range of research topics.

The University library houses a growing collection of books and journals on higher education, many of which can be accessed online. You also have access to the extensive training and other resources provided through the Graduate School.

Research seminars/events

The Centre holds regular research seminars where academic staff and postgraduate students discuss their research and work in progress. Every term we also invite a number of external speakers to give lectures and seminars. Our students have access to lively national and international research networks and conferences through the Centre’s active involvement in the Society for Research into Higher Education, the British Educational Research Association and other scholarly bodies.

Dynamic publishing culture

Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. Recent contributions include: Journal of Workplace Learning; Discourse; Journal of Further and Higher Education; Teaching in Higher Education; International Journal of Lifelong Education.

Researcher Development Programme

Kent's Graduate School co-ordinates the Researcher Development Programme for research students, which includes workshops focused on research, specialist and transferable skills. The programme is mapped to the national Researcher Development Framework and covers a diverse range of topics, including subject-specific research skills, research management, personal effectiveness, communication skills, networking and teamworking, and career management skills.

Entry requirements

A good honours degree or Master’s in a subject relevant to your proposed research topic. We strongly recommend that you contact the Centre to discuss your plans before making a formal application.

All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, and professional qualifications and experience will also be taken into account when considering applications. 

International students

Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information for your country. 

English language entry requirements

The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.

For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages. 

Need help with English?

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.

Staff research interests

Kent’s world-class academics provide research students with excellent supervision. The academic staff in this school and their research interests are shown below. You are strongly encouraged to contact the school to discuss your proposed research and potential supervision prior to making an application. Please note, it is possible for students to be supervised by a member of academic staff from any of Kent’s schools, providing their expertise matches your research interests. Use our ‘find a supervisor’ search to search by staff member or keyword.

Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.

Fran Beaton: Senior Lecturer in Higher Education and Academic Practice; Director of Taught Programmes in Higher Education.

Principal research interest is in the nature of support for early career academics and the impact of this on practice and self-image. 

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Dr Jennifer Leigh: Lecturer in Higher Education and Academic Practice

Research interests include academic practice, programmes for academic development and part-time teachers as well as aspects of teaching and learning in higher education. She has also explored reflexivity and embodiment, and is interested in how this relates to professional practice.

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Dr Janice Malcolm: Reader in Higher Education and Academic Practice

Principal research interest is in academic work and the construction and practice of academic and disciplinary identities. She has a particular interest in the nature of the academic workplace, and the impact of policy and regulation on disciplinary practice.

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Edd Pitt: Lecturer in Higher Education and Academic Practice

Principal research interest is in assessment and feedback in higher education. He has a particular interest in staff and students' emotional processing of feedback and its implications for teaching practice.

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Dr Joanna Williams: Senior Lecturer in Higher Education and Academic Practice; Director, Centre for the Study of Higher Education

Current research interests include the changing construction of students as consumers of higher education and the impact this may have upon students’ attitudes to learning, the purpose of a university, and the concept of public good in higher education.

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Fees

The 2019/20 annual tuition fees for Home/EU PG Research programmes have not yet been set by the Research Councils UK.  This is ordinarily announced in March. 

General additional costs

Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent. 

Funding

Search our scholarships finder for possible funding opportunities. You may find it helpful to look at both: