48 months
17600 GBP/year
4500 GBP/year
Tuition fee
Apply date
Start date


At the Higher Education programme of the University of Surrey, our aim is to produce the next generation of researchers, ready to address the complex problems in higher education, and help shape higher education policy and practice at local, national and international levels.


Why choose this programme

Our Department of Higher Education is one of the largest departments in the UK dedicated to multidisciplinary research solely in higher education, investigating academic identity and development, assessment and feedback, and learning and teaching in the disciplinary context.

We’ve secured research grants from a variety of funders, including the British Academy, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Leverhulme Trust, the Staff and Educational Development Association (SEDA) and the Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE).

In the Higher Education programme of the University of Surrey you’ll benefit from our vibrant research culture and you’ll work alongside leading academics who’re at the forefront of their respective fields, giving you access to expertise in a range of areas of higher education.

What you will study

Our PhD is research-based, so you’ll spend most of your time developing a research question, conducting original research, analysing your results and writing up your research findings, all under the guidance of your project supervisors. We’ll also give you tailored research methods training through online and face-to-face tutorials.

Current students are researching topics including:

  • Pedagogical content knowledge of English as a second or foreign language teachers: effects of teacher education and expertise. 
  • Promoting English foreign language students’ willingness to communicate through teacher classroom behaviour and strategies in the Saudi context.  
  • Re-imagining students’ becomings: new approaches to thinking and doing transition. 
  • Role of self-perception in the reconstruction of teacher’s identity: exploring the impact on foreign trained English teachers in higher education institutions. 

We’ll equip you with the skills and knowledge needed to shape professional practice and policy, allowing you to pursue highly a fulfilling career in academic, research and learning development positions within the higher education sector. Graduates also take up roles as researchers for government think-tanks, as well as policy research advisers.

Programme Structure

Research themes

Our research investigates:
  • Assessment and feedback, including external examiners practice and student engagement with feedback. 
  • Educational transitions, including students and academic staff transitions and mobility, in national and international academic contexts. 
  • Identities and values in education, including professional identity development of academic staff and students. 
  • Language and literacy learning, including students' motivation in learning English Language. 
  • Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and disciplinary education, including girls’ participation in STEM subjects at the higher education level, and the teaching and learning of STEM and disciplinary subjects.

Key information


  • Full-time
    • 48 months
  • Part-time
    • 96 months

Start dates & application deadlines


On Campus

Academic requirements

GPA admission requirements GPA

Other requirements

General requirements

  • Applicants are expected to hold a good honours degree in an appropriate discipline.
  • IELTS Academic of 7.0 overall or above (or equivalent) with at least 6.0 in each individual category.

Tuition Fee

To alway see correct tuition fees
  • International

    17600 GBP/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the tuition of 17600 GBP per year during 48 months.
  • National

    4500 GBP/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the tuition of 4500 GBP per year during 48 months.

Part time:

  • UK: £2,250
  • Overseas: £8,800

Living costs for Guildford

660 - 1140 GBP /month
Living costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

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