Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Dr Emel Thomas is interested in supervising PhD students examining themes such as race, ethnicity, gender, social class, comparative and international education, education in small states (such as countries within the Caribbean) and higher education policy.

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Research activity per year

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Personal profile


Dr Emel Thomas is a Senior Lecturer in Education at the University of Northampton. She obtained her Doctorate in Education at the University of Cambridge in 2013. She has written and presented papers for various international conferences on education and migration. Emel received her Master’s in Comparative and International Education from the University of Oxford. Prior to this, she taught in a variety of schools in England and has also conducted research for charities that support unreached young people.

Her main teaching and research interests include migration, identity, race, families and communities, intercultural teaching and learning, and education in small states. Other interests include the marketisation of Higher Education in a global context. Her edited book Education in the Commonwealth Caribbean and Netherlands Antilles was published in 2014.

Emel is passionate about research and practice within the discipline of comparative education. She currently co-leads the research Centre for the Advancement of Racial Equality (CARE) at University of Northampton. She is also active within the Centre for Education and Research (CER) co-leading the Special Interest Group (SIG) 'Families and Communities'. 

Research Interests

  • Equality and diversity
  • Race
  • Identity
  • Migration
  • Intercultural teaching and learning
  • Comparative theories
  • Education in small states
  • Higher educational development

Teaching Interests

Dr Emel Thomas teaches on a number of educational modules at postgraduate level. Specifically she is module leader for EDUM074 International Perspectives on Education and EDUM100 Thesis (across several student cohorts on campus and online). She supervises many research students at Masters and PhD level. 


Current PhD Supervision:

Yinka Amure

Identity and culture: exploring Black women dyslexic encounters in education.

Michelle Bye-Gannon

Exploring the role of gender and identity in the experiences of male secondary school students.

Chimeuma Opuwari

Nigerian students mobility to the UK for higher education: Students' perspectives. 

Maria Fox

Digital recordings of lessons as a reflexive tool: improving experienced teachers' classroom practice using Interpersonal Process Recall. 

Ezekiel Delgado Martin

The socio-emotional wellbeing of children in 6th and 7th grade, their families and their teachers during the 2020-2021 pandemic school year. An ethnographic study in a Spanish school.   

Bhuvana Ramakrishnan

An investigation into parental perspective of inclusive education for primary pupils with SEND in Dubai private schools.  

Xianrong Wang

Exploring the perceptions of teachers about the implementation of the SPELL framework for children with autism. 


PhD Completions:

Qiuling Bi

Critical thinking instruction through project-based learning in Chinese EFL classes - A case study in HE. 

Divya Dubey

An investigation into the professional development needs of teachers (upper primary and secondary level) to meet the diverse learning needs in Indian classrooms. 

Hilary Gbedemah

Examining girls' experiences of discrminatory practices in Ghanaian secondary education against International Human Rights Standards.

Emmanuel Maphosa

The Zimbabwean student: examining the experiences of migrant students in English secondary schools.

Yahya Moalin

UK Somali diaspora perspectives on Peace Education as a means of conflict resolution on the National Reconciliation process in Somalia: An exploratory case study.

Rajani Padmanabhan

A case study investigation of a mainstream school that supports inclusion in Bangalore, South India.  

Nicola Preston

Stories of restorative justice and school exclusion: an autoethnography of relational understanding.  

 My Tran Chau

An exploratory inquiry into the adoption of performance based accountability policies for public universities in Vietnam. 

Other Responsibilities

Dr Emel Thomas is an ethics reviewer for the UON Faculty of Health Education and Society Research Ethics Commitee. She is also a longstanding member of the Business and Enterprise Research Degree Committee. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Race, Migration and Education: Examining the Perceptions of British born ‘Minority Ethnic’ and Eastern European ‘Immigrant’ Youth in Buckinghamshire, University of Cambridge

Award Date: 11 May 2013

Master, Examining Experiences and Perceptions when Providing for Minority Ethnic Students in Buckinghamshire, University of Oxford

Award Date: 11 Nov 2011

PGCE, Economics and Business Studies, University of Warwick

Award Date: 1 Aug 2001

External positions

External Examiner MA Education (full time and part time courses), Liverpool John Moores University

9 Sept 2024 → …

External academic reviewer for the periodic partner review of LSCI London, Buckinghamshire New University

1 Mar 202431 Mar 2024

External academic reviewer for the periodic partner review of Regents College London, Buckinghamshire New University

1 Apr 202330 Apr 2023

External Examiner MA Education, University of Bedfordshire

1 Sept 2021 → …

Reviewer, Gender and Education - Taylor and Francis

Reviewer, Journal of International and Comparative Education - University of Malaya

Reviewer, The University of the West Indies Press

Reviewer, Education Sciences


  • HT Communities. Classes. Races
  • H Social Sciences (General)
  • L Education (General)


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