Doctoral Programs

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Curriculum Studies

The PhD in Curriculum Studies is a flexible, research-oriented doctoral program designed for students interested in the organization of learning within educational settings. If you are admitted, you will take two doctoral seminar courses, EDCP 601 and EDCP 602. In addition to these six credits, you will need two research methodology and two specialization courses (18 credits total). You will select your courses in consultation with a faculty supervisor or program advisory committee, based on your prior academic work and research interests. Students in the PhD program typically devote two years to coursework, and two to three years to developing and carrying out a research project designed to make an original contribution to knowledge in the area of specialization. The university allows doctoral students up to six years to complete program requirements. Please browse our admission page for more information and applications to the Department.

Minimum Funding Policy for PhD Students

All full-time UBC students (domestic and international) newly admitted to start a PhD program of the Vancouver campus as of September 2018 or later will be provided with a Minimum Funding Package equal to $24,000 for each of the first four years of a PhD. This funding can be used to pay for university-related expenses (e.g., tuition, books) as well as general living expenses. The funding package may consist of any combination of internal or external awards, teaching-related work, research assistantships, graduate academic assistantships. If a student receives additional funding (e.g., a scholarship) or other income that elevates his/her package above the minimum funding package, his/her support from on-campus funding sources may be reduced. Please see the Faculty of Graduate + Postdoctoral Studies website for more information.

Doctoral Seminars

The EDCP 601 and 602 doctoral seminars are core academic experiences for students and foster a collaborative environment for learning and research. All students are required to successfully complete both EDCP 601 and EDCP 602. EDCP 601 examines the emergence of contemporary conceptions of curriculum and pedagogy, looking across various historical and theoretical influences. Emphasis is placed on analysis of varied conceptual and political perspectives, explicit and tacit rationales for formal education, and consequent principles that infuse conceptions and enactments of curriculum and pedagogy. EDCP 602 unpacks the epistemological and ontological positions of various paradigms used in contemporary studies of curriculum and pedagogy. These include hermeneutic, critical, feminist, and post-structuralist thought. The course examines how scholars of curriculum and pedagogy interpret educational events, focusing on how methods and claims are informed by notions of truth, reality, and subjectivity.

Coursework and Specialization

Students in the PhD program are expected to take minimum six credits of courses in their specialization so that they are familiar with current theory and research. Courses are selected in consultation with a supervisor or program advisory committee. Most of the courses in the student’s specialization are completed in the first two years of the program. Ph.D. students typically take additional courses to give them the breadth and depth of understanding of contemporary theories, issues and debates expected of those pursuing the highest degree awarded by the university. Doctoral study is oriented toward dissertation research, but coursework beyond the student’s specialization is recommended when it contributes to her or his scholarship.

Research Methods

PhD students are expected to be familiar with the various methods used in contemporary educational research and to become expert in the particular methods they use in their own research. Developing proficiency in research methods—including the strengths and weaknesses of each approach—normally requires enrolling in available courses and reading widely in the research methods literature. Before research proposals are approved, students are expected to demonstrate that they have acquired the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully carry out their research plan.  Students are required to complete a minimum of six credits in research methods courses at 500 – 600 level (excluding EDUC 500 or equivalent.)

Comprehensive Examination

All students in the PhD program are required to successfully complete a comprehensive examination after most of their coursework is completed and before they present their research proposal. The examination is prepared in consultation with the student’s program advisory or research supervisory committee, depending on when it is taken. Details about the of the examination and choices that students make related to the format of the examination can be found here.

PhD Dissertation

The PhD dissertation is an original piece of research that contributes to knowledge in the student’s area of specialization. Students develop research proposals which must be presented to and approved by a research supervisory committee made up of a research supervisor and at least two other committee members. Research supervisory committees provide direction to the student, read and critique drafts of the dissertation, and, when the dissertation is complete, participate in the final oral examination.

PhD Residency

There is no residency requirement per se, but PhD students are expected to make steady progress through their coursework, comprehensive exams and thesis research. Current policies require PhD students to achieve candidacy by the end of their second year of study. Achieving candidacy involves completing all coursework, passing the comprehensive exam and having an approved research proposal (see Statement on PhD Residency and Student Progress in the EDCP Graduate Studies Handbook).

For questions, please email the Graduate Program Assistant.