Social Studies Education

Social Studies prides itself in offering a rich environment with unparalleled opportunities for graduate students desiring a wide range of backgrounds and interests including visual culture, anti-oppressive education, gender studies, historical consciousness, moral education, and the history and politics of curriculum. In addition to the required coursework, a vibrant graduate student community is fostered through speaker series, research centres, seminars, and study groups. Many social studies faculty and students are actively involved in national and international research projects.

The Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy offers a PhD concentration and MA and MEd specializations in Social Studies Education, along with a secondary Teacher Education (BEd) major, and Diploma in Social Studies Education.

All graduate program applicants in the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy (EDCP) must meet the minimum entry requirements established by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, which oversees graduate work at UBC. Applicants who do not meet the minimum requirements will be considered for admission only in exceptional circumstances.

Master of Arts

In addition to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies requirements, the program normally requires:

1. One-two year/s of teacher education; or a four-year Bachelor’s degree in Education. In special circumstances teacher education may be waived for those applicants who have a university degree with sufficient standing and experience related to their proposed field of study.
2. Normally 18 credits of senior course work or a professional concentration in the area of interest.
3. Normally two years’ teaching experience or other relevant professional experience.

Master of Education

Same as for the MA. However, applicants for MEd must be inclined to focusing their studies on application of educational theory in their professional practice.

Doctor of Philosophy

In addition to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies requirements, the Curriculum Studies graduate program requires a master’s degree with high standing in a relevant educational discipline and evidence of potential to carry out research.

1. a Master’s degree with high standing in a relevant educational discipline,
2. a sample of work demonstrating scholarly writing,
3. a letter of intent describing the focus of the proposed research,
4. The support of three referees, one of which must be from a member of your thesis supervisory committee.
5. For students possessing a thesis-based Master’s degree from other than a relevant educational discipline, it may be possible to proceed into the Ph.D. after taking the core course requirements of an appropriate Master’s degree in education at UBC.

Master of Arts

The program consists of a minimum of 30 credits: 21 credits of coursework plus 9 credits of thesis. A maximum of 6 credits may be taken at the 300-400 level.

REQUIRED COURSESEDCP 562 (3) Introduction to Curriculum Issues and Theories,
EDUC 500 (3) Research Methodologies in Education,
EDCP 541 (3) Problems in Historical Understanding,

3 credits at 500 level of research methodology.

EDCP 599c (9) Thesis.

For more information on requirements, see the master’s program guides:
Master’s Program Guidelines

Master of Education

The program consists of a minimum of 30 credits. Students select either a program consisting entirely of courses (30 credits) or 27 credits of coursework plus a graduating project (3 credits). A maximum of 6 credits may be taken at the 300-400 level.

REQUIRED COURSESEDCP 562 (3) Introduction to Curriculum Issues and Theories,
EDUC 500 (3) Research Methodologies in Education,
EDCP 541 (3) Problems in Historical Understanding,

For B.C. teachers: Teacher Qualification Service requires a capstone experience (e.g., EDCP 590 (3) Graduating Paper).

For more information on requirements, see the master’s program guides:
Master’s Program Guidelines

Doctor of Philosophy

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 your first doctoral seminar in the first term and second doctoral seminar in the second term of the first year. 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 your supervisor(s) or program coordinator, based on your prior academic work and research interests. Students in the PhD program typically reach candidacy by the end of the second year of their studies. In exceptional circumstances, students are allowed to take an additional year to reach candidacy. Normally, students devote two to three years to developing and carrying out research, and writing a dissertation 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 admissions page for more information and applications to the Department.

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, philosophical, 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.

In consultation with a supervisor(s) or program coordinator, 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. Most of the courses in the student’s specialization are completed prior to reaching candidacy. PhD 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. These courses are recommended when they are considered a necessary contribution to the student's scholarship.

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.)

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 research supervisory committee or program advisory, depending on when it is taken. Details about the comprehensive examination and choices that students make related to the format of the examination can be found at

Students develop research proposals which must be presented to and approved by a research supervisory committee. The committee comprises of a research supervisor and at least two other committee members.

Students are recommended to be admitted to candidacy upon completing the required courses, successful completion of comprehensive examination, and successfully defending their research proposal.

The PhD dissertation is an original piece of research that contributes to knowledge in the student’s area of specialization. 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.

All doctoral students are full-time students and are expected to engage in their studies on a full-time basis. All students must register when they begin their studies. Students must remain continuously registered until the degree is completed, except for periods of time for which the student is away on an approved leave of absence. Failure to register for two consecutive terms may result in the student being required to withdraw. Each student’s program of study must be approved by the home graduate program. All doctoral students are assessed fees according to Schedule A. Programs are paid for on a per-degree rather than a per-course basis, and there is no limit on the number of courses taken or audited during a program. Students have six years to graduate from the doctoral program, with extensions granted only under exceptional circumstances. A one-year parental leave from the program is available, and requests made for other special circumstances are considered.

For more information on requirements, see the doctoral program guides:
PhD Program Guidelines

For questions, please email the Graduate Program Assistant.


The most important first step in applying for admission to our graduate program is finding and approaching a potential supervisor in the department. This gives you an opportunity to discuss the research you are interested in completing as a graduate student. We make every effort to match an applicant with a supervisor. However, if there are no supervisors available, we will not be able to offer an admission to an applicant. Anyone interested in applying for admission to graduate program in our department is advised to visit the Curriculum and Pedagogy website via the Faculty page to find faculty whose research aligns with their interests. There is a space in the application form for you to list your preferred supervisors.

Submit your application online

Complete the online application. To be considered for admission, submit your completed application including all supporting documents, by the deadlines noted below. Note: the online application will be open October 1.

For detailed application process and requirements, click here.

Please follow the instructions on the online application portal.

Early submissions are encouraged.

  • The department deadline for receipt of completed, master program applications is December 1.
    References are due December 12.
  • The department deadline for receipt of completed, doctoral program applications is December 1.
    References are due December 7.
Document Type How to Submit
1. Scanned copies of all official transcripts and degree certificates (if any) Online
2. Three letters of recommendation (one of which for doctoral applicant must be from a member of the thesis supervisory committee) Online
3. CV/resume Online
4. Evidence of English language proficiency Online
5. Sample of Writing for doctoral applicants (no more than ten pages) Online
6. Permanent Resident Card (both sides), when applicable Online
7. Any additional information by email attachment to
Transcripts & Degree Certificates

Applicants will be asked to upload transcripts with their grade key (usually located on the back of the transcript). Even if the applicant does not yet have final marks on the transcript, we still require a copy as evidence of registration and academic progress (we do not accept printed student’s records).

Upload scanned transcripts and degree certificates (if any) online. Please be advised that if you are admitted you will be required to submit original transcripts and degree certificates (if any) in the SEALED and ENDORSED envelopes as soon as possible after admission is offered. Students are not allowed to register in courses until this requirement is met.

Statement of Intent for MA and PhD Applicants

In the application portal, you will be given the opportunity to add a Statement of Intent (maximum 2 pages) describing why you choose to pursue graduate studies at UBC and in which area of research you want to concentrate your work. For more information, click here.

Statement of Intent for MEd Applicants

Please write a summary of your reasons for wishing to enroll in the program of your choice, and what it is that you hope to achieve in completing this program.

Letters of Recommendation

We require three letters of recommendation (one of which for doctoral applicant must be from a member of the thesis supervisory committee). See detailed requirements.

Referees will be able to upload their letters once you have submitted your application, so please ensure that they are able to submit by the deadlines noted above and that you provide them with appropriate timelines.

Evidence of English Language Proficiency

Applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must present evidence of competency to pursue studies in the English language prior to the application deadline in December.
Test scores must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application, and official test scores ordered from the testing agency is required.

TOEFL minimum scores
Test Format Minimum Score
Internet-based 92 (minimum 22 on each component)
Computer-based 237
Paper 580

TOEFL Institution Code: 0965
TOEFL Department Code: 85

Detailed language requirements and other acceptable English proficiency tests

Permanent Residents

Permanent Residents are required to provide proof of immigration status and date of landing by submitting a copy of the Record of Landing Form or a copy of both the front and back of their Permanent Resident card.

Additional Information

You are welcome to submit additional information, regarding professional employment experience, publications, or awards, which you feel should be taken into account in considering your application. These can be sent by email attachment to

Mailing Address

Department of Curriculum & Pedagogy
Faculty of Education
University of British Columbia
Scarfe Building 2125 Main Mall
Vancouver BC V6T 1Z4 Canada

Important Numbers

Apply for graduate programs:
Alan Jay

Apply for undergraduate programs:
Contact the Teacher Education Office

Area Coordinator


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