Academic Expectations: Doctor of Education (Child & Family Development)

As a doctorate, our EdD(C&FD) is an advanced degree which will be recognised internationally. The academic expectations are close to those for our PhD(Ed), except that whereas the PhD(Ed) tends to have universal application (i.e. it contributes to the theory of the field), the EdD(C&FD) tends to have local application (i.e. it addresses concerns in a specific, local setting).

Think of the expectations as ‘becoming a full professional in your field’. In practice this means:

  • you have something to say your peers want to listen to.
  • you must have a command of what is happening in your subject so that you can evaluate the worth of what others are doing.
  • you must have the astuteness to discover where you can make a useful contribution.
  • you must have mastery of appropriate techniques that are currently being used, and also be aware of their limitations.
  • you must be able to communicate your results effectively in the professional arena.
  • all this must be carried out in an international context; your professional peer group is world-wide.

(Adapted from Phillips and Pugh, How to get a Ph.D, Buckingham: Open University Press, 1987, pp. 18-19)

Thus, a successful EdD(C&FD) dissertation will demonstrate these skills by the candidate:

  • Able to explicitly set out substantive aims and objectives for the study and has clearly defined its scope, assumptions and limitations.
  • Mastery is reflected in the use and citation of primary and secondary sources.
  • Has clearly marshalled the evidence and formulated the problems raised by it.
  • Has dealt with the problems in an orderly and creative way.
  • Has demonstrated well developed analytical, critical and synthesizing skills.
  • Arguments and supporting evidence are coherent and set out in a logical fashion.
  • The methodology is sound and appropriate to the aims.
  • Key terminology has been clearly outlined and consistently used.
  • Is original, in either (a) enlarging or modifying previous knowledge and/or (b) giving significantly new interpretation of the work of other professionals.

(Adapted from

If this seems to be daunting, don’t despair! We accept you into the EdD(C&FD) program because your previous study and experience has demonstrated that you already have some of these skills. They now need to be honed up further, with diligence and discipline.