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Graduate Studies Calendar 2021-2022 Program Descriptions Education Graduate Programs Educational Research (EDER) Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
1. Degrees and Specializations Offered

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Educational Research – on campus


  • Adult Learning
  • Curriculum and Learning 
  • Language and Literacy 
  • Leadership
  • Learning Sciences

Please note: This degree requires a two year full-time residency. Students must be available during the day to attend research seminars, courses, and to perform teaching and research related duties at the university campus for the first two years of their program.

2. Admission Requirements

In addition to the Faculty of Graduate Studies admission requirements, Graduate Programs in Education requires:

a) A thesis-based master’s degree in an appropriate field. Outstanding applicants holding master’s degrees without thesis may be considered.

b) A minimum grade point average of 3.50 on a four-point scale in a master’s degree program.

c) A written statement indicating the applicant’s reasons for wishing to pursue a graduate program.

d) Where appropriate, candidates will be expected to have, or to obtain, relevant practical experience in their area of specialization.

e) For applicants required to present proficiency in English, a minimum TOEFL (Internet-based) score of 97, an IELTS overall band score of 7.0 or a CAEL overall score of 70 (with no section less than 70). This requirement can also be met by completing the Academic Communication Certificate with a minimum grade of "A-" in each course.

The test must have been taken within the last two years. When requesting that official TOEFL test scores are forwarded to the University of Calgary, please indicate institution code 0813.

f) Two references. Referees will be asked to complete an online reference form.

Admission Portfolio

Applicants to the Doctor of Philosophy program are encouraged to submit an Admission Portfolio containing examples of their work. The purpose of the Admission Portfolio is to give applicants the opportunity to provide additional documentation that demonstrates their suitability and qualification for doctoral studies. The Admission Portfolio is particularly relevant for program applicants who do not hold a thesis-based master’s degree.

The Doctoral Admission Portfolio may contain the following:

a) Thesis (if applicable).

b) Reports.

c) Research grants or scholarships.

d) Articles.

e) Curriculum documents.

f) Non-print materials, (e.g. multimedia).

g) Evidence of relevant prior learning (see below).

h) Personal statement documenting research skills and interests.

The Doctoral Admission Portfolio must include a Table of Contents and an Executive Summary that outlines the contents of the Portfolio.

Relevant Prior Learning Considerations

In exceptional circumstances, individuals who do not meet formal academic requirements but who have significant life achievements may be considered for admission to the program. The candidates must provide Graduate Programs in Education with evidence demonstrating a potential to undertake successfully the proposed program of studies. Such candidates are advised to make early contact with Graduate Programs in Education, and supply additional supporting documents as part of their application package, such as:

a) Evidence of personal continuing education/training.

b) Results in these continuing education efforts.

c) Experience in a field related to the aspired degree.

d) Evidence of successful management of people, resources, finances, situations.

e) Increasing or varying responsible positions in organizations related to the aspired degree.

f) Work-related products, e.g. reports, programs of learning or training, handbooks, videos, manuals, workshops, seminars.

g) Evidence of personal growth in knowledge, understanding, management skills, and intellectual resources.

h) Evidence of innovation.

i) Evidence of leadership or co-ordination responsibilities.

3. Application Deadline

The deadline for the submission of complete applications is available on the Future Students website:

4. Advanced Credit

The applicant must make advanced credit request as part of the admission process. Credit will not be given for course work taken as part of another completed degree/diploma, or for courses taken to bring grade point average to a required level for admission.

5. Program/Course Requirements

In addition to the requirements of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, Graduate Programs in Education requires that students be available on campus for the first two years of their program.

a) Educational Research 700;

b) Additional 9 units of 600 or 700-level thesis-based courses in research methods (excluding EDER 707, 708, 709, 710, 711 and 712);

c) Additional graduate courses or seminars as required by the student's specialization (see below) and any additional courses as determined by the supervisor in consultation with the student.

Courses may be selected from any 600 or 700-level Educational Research courses.

  • Adult Learning requires 6 units, 3 units of which must focus on Adult Learning at the 700-level;
  • Curriculum and Learning requires 9 units, 3 units of which must focus on Curriculum and Learning at the 700-level;
  • Language and Literacy requires 9 units, 3 units of which must focus on Language and Literacy at the 700-level;
  • Leadership requires 9 units, 3 units of which must focus on Leadership and Policy at the 700-level;
  • Learning Sciences requires 9 units, 3 units of which must focus on Learning Sciences at the 700-level.
6. Additional Requirements


7. Credit for Undergraduate Courses

Graduate Programs in Education does not normally accept undergraduate courses for credit toward graduate degrees.

8. Time Limit

Expected completion time for full-time students is four years with a maximum completion time of six years.

9. Supervisory Assignments

A supervisor is normally appointed at the time of admission.

10. Required Examinations

Admission into Candidacy in the Werklund School of Education Graduate Programs: 1) requires that students have abilities to conceptualize, interpret, critique and synthesize comprehensive, substantive knowledge that is relevant to the discipline and practice of educational research; and 2) ensures that students have a well-developed plan for their dissertation research, a sound proposal with a well-developed research question, and appropriate methodology that demonstrates the ability to pursue and complete original independent research at the doctoral level.

In compliance with the Faculty of Graduate Studies Candidacy Regulations, the requirements for Admission to Candidacy at the Werklund School of Education is a 4-stage process:

  1. Completion of all course requirements as identified in the calendar;
  2. Field of study (FoS) written paper;
  3. A research proposal approved by the Supervisory Committee (recognizing changes may be made after successful completion of exams prior to submission for ethics approval);
  4. An oral examination of the research proposal;

All Candidacy requirements must be completed within 28 months of the start of the program.

For further information, please consult the Graduate Programs in Education website

The Doctoral thesis is the focus of the degree program. In consultation with the supervisor, the student should formulate an appropriate thesis topic as early as possible in the program because the thesis proposal affects the choice and number of courses needed in order to complete the program.

Thesis Examination
In addition to the Faculty of Graduate Studies regulations for thesis examinations, the program requires:

Scheduling of the Examination
All members of the Supervisory Committee must have reviewed the student’s draft thesis document before an examination can be scheduled.

Composition of the Committee
The Internal Examiner may be internal to the home program.

11. Research Proposal Requirements

Information on research proposals is available through the interim advisor/supervisor.

Ethics approval is required for all research projects involving the use of human subjects, before data collection begins. In order to submit an ethics application, students are required to complete the TCPS2 tutorial and upload the certificate of completion into their Researcher Profile in IRISS. Register on the TCPS2 website at

To initiate the ethics approval process, the student, in consultation with the supervisor, must submit an application to either the Conjoint Faculties Research Ethics Board or the Conjoint Health Research Ethics Board. Applications to the CFREB or CHREB are created and submitted online using IRISS

12. Financial Assistance

Financial assistance may be available to qualified students. For information on awards, see the Awards and Financial Assistance section of this Calendar. Students applying for scholarships must submit their applications to Graduate Program in Education by the posted deadline dates for individual awards as noted at