Western Education's PhD | Field of Curriculum Studies

The PhD program in the field of Curriculum Studies challenges you to engage with foundational theories and focused areas of educational research. As you develop expertise in a specific field, you will contribute to existing bodies of knowledge and extend the reach of research to influence theory, policy, and practice.

Become a valued expert

Possibilities to go to conferences

Extend the reach of research

11 million library items

Kenan Omercajic

What I like about my PhD program is the sense of community and companionship that are quickly established. The passion that each PhD candidate exudes for their work is nothing short of inspiring.

My PhD degree program helped me engage with the world in a more critical and nuanced capacity, and as an instructor for BEd students, this has also equipped me with more practical means to engage with my students and future educators.

- Kenan Omercajic, Current Student

Beyond the program details



  • Research based Master's degree in Education or equivalent from an accredited university
  • Normally an "A" standing (80%) or equivalent in previous graduate work
  • Evidence of previous scholarly research, such as a Master's Thesis, Masters Research Project, or Qualifying Research Paper acceptable to the Doctoral Admissions Committee and the Associate Dean of Graduate Programs
  • Clear statement of plans for future study and research


  • Professional qualifications and work in an educational setting (teaching experience or other)

Notes & Exceptions:

  • Students with Master's degrees and an excellent academic record in a related field, who have experience in education and teaching in universities, colleges, or organizations other than public schools, and who may not have professional teaching credentials or qualifications, will also be considered for admission.
  • Students may be required to make up for any deficiencies in their specific backgrounds by taking appropriate additional course work.


Tuition amounts are set each year by Senate and then published on the Office of the Registrar's Fees Schedules web page. Fees are assessed once each term (Fall, Winter, Summer).

Current students can access fee information by logging into the Student Centre (use your Western email log in and password). Students are notified each term once fee amounts have been posted in the Student Centre; it is each student's responsibility to log into the Student Centre and pay fees by the due date indicated. Failure to do so may result in a late payment fee or deregistration.

For questions about fees, including how to pay fees and the methods of payment that are accepted, students should go to the Student Financial Services pages of the Office of the Registrar's web site or contact Student Financial Services (Office of the Registrar) at 519-661-2100.

The Graduate Student Affordability Calculator was designed for you to get a better estimate of what it will cost to attend one of Western's graduate programs for one year. The calculator is not a promise of funding or a place to access scholarship support or financial aid; rather, it is intended to provide you with an accurate estimate of how much money you will need to pay for your tuition, fees, housing, food, and many other necessities for a 12-month (three-term) academic year.


PhD students receive a funding package that includes the cost of annual tuition plus an additional $17,000. A portion of the funding package involves an Assistantship Role requiring 10 hours of work per week for 28 weeks (September to April) in the Faculty of Education. Details of the assignments are determined in consultation with students after they have formally accepted the offer of admission from the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Taking on an Assistantship Role provides students with crucial experience for their academic career after completion of the Ph.D.

The maximum time for funding is 4 (four) years or 12 (twelve) terms. Please note that those who win major financial awards (OGS, Tri-Council or other awards valued at $15,000 or more) will be responsible for their own tuition and ancillary fees.

Also, the following funding scholarships are available at the Faculty of Education (The process for each is described in the link below.):

  • Students living with disabilities
  • Indigenous students
  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS)
  • Canadian Graduate Scholarship – Doctoral (CGS-D)

See further details about funding opportunities available through the Faculty of Education.


Instructors of onsite courses use the Sakai OWL platform, although it is not required.  Access to a course in Sakai OWL is typically opened the first business day of each term. Please note that although your own access may be granted prior to the first business day, course content may not be posted until closer to the scheduled term start. Your Western University login and password is required to access the course (your Western email without the @uwo.ca and its accompanying password). Access to the learning management system is found here: Sakai OWL.

For online courses, students are required to have access to the following:

  • High speed Internet access
  • Access to a computer that enables connection to outside websites (flexible firewall restrictions)
  • Multimedia playback capabilities (video/audio)
  • WebCam
  • Computer capable of running a recent version of Internet Explorer, Safari, or Firefox; and/or Cisco MOVI client for PC or Mac
  • Audio headset and microphone for computer

Program information


The PhD program in the field of Curriculum Studies prepares students for advanced study and research at the doctoral level.

Prospective students are strongly encouraged to visit our Faculty Research page for more information on the exciting research being conducted at the Faculty of Education.

Important note: When submitting an application to the PhD in Education Studies program, applicants must indicate their preferred Thesis Supervisor in their Statement of Intent. Applicants are advised to review the Faculty Profiles page and contact faculty in their area of interest to confirm that this potential exists.

Many graduates from this program also hold important roles in various sectors of education at the provincial, national and international levels.


Comprehensive Examination

  1. A comprehensive exam will be implemented in the PhD program to meet requirements for the depth and breadth outcomes from the Graduate Degree Level Expectations The goal of the exam is for students to demonstrate a depth of information concerning their specific program of research and a breath of knowledge of their focus within the field (e.g., mathematics curriculum; ESL/EFL).
  2. Format: One written question that asks students to discuss their program of research and how it relates to their focus within the field.
  3. Length: 8,000-10,000 words.
  4. Curriculum field: Demonstrating knowledge of the history and contemporary state of your focus within curriculum studies (e.g., mathematics in curriculum studies), describe your proposed program of research and how it relates to said focus.  Considerations discussed may include: what is the state of knowledge in your focus relative to your research? Where is your research positioned within the focus? How does it mobilize (or not) historical traditions and/or contemporary practices in the area? How will it advance knowledge in the area?  Students are encouraged to discuss their papers with anyone, including supervisors, but not show them drafts.
  5. Timeframe: As soon as you have completed your coursework, you will start your Comprehensive Exam process and must be completed in one term. Comprehensive Exams are a Milestone and will not show up as a course in your Student Centre. Once you have passed your Comprehensive Exam, it will appear at the end of your transcript under the Milestones area.
  6. Administration: Students must submit the following to the Graduate Programs Office at least four weeks prior to the end of the term of registration: 1 electronic copy of comprehensive examination and Request for Administration of Qualifying Examination form.
  7. Reviewers: The student’s supervisor and one committee member or alternative that has knowledge of the field shall be completed. Each reader will independently determine whether the paper is satisfactory or not and notify the Graduate Programs Office within two weeks after the submission date. The Graduate Programs Office will then notify the Supervisor who will share the results with the student.
  8. Grading: Grading will be satisfactory or unsatisfactory. The paper must be judged satisfactory by both reviewers in order to be marked “Pass”. If a student’s paper does not pass, the student will be permitted to resubmit a revised version of the paper within two weeks of its return. The revised paper will be re-read by the same reader(s) who had marked it unsatisfactory. If the revised paper is not assigned a “Pass”, the student will be asked to withdraw from the program. If the paper is assigned a “Pass”, the student may proceed in the program to complete degree requirements.

Thesis Proposal and Presentation

Within six months following successful completion of the comprehensive examinations, a student must make an oral presentation to their Thesis Advisory Committee, then submit a written research proposal in which the research problem, theoretical framework and methodology are explained and satisfactorily defended. The presentation will be open to all members of graduate faculty and to all graduate students. To schedule a Proposal Presentation a student should work with their Supervisor to set a date and time then please inform the Graduate Programs Office for public announcement.

Thesis Examination/Defence

When the thesis has been completed and approved by the Supervisor and the Thesis Advisory Committee, the candidate may submit the thesis for examination. The candidate submits the Application for Thesis Examination and the Doctoral Thesis Supervisor Approval forms to the Graduate Programs Office. The forms have to be submitted a minimum of seven weeks prior to the defence date. The thesis is uploaded to Scholarship@Western, Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository, a minimum of six weeks prior to the defence date.

The examination includes a Public Lecture which provides both a valuable means of disseminating research findings within the academic community, and an opportunity for all graduate students of education to participate in and contribute to the scholarly discourse of the university. In accordance with the appropriate regulations, the public lecture will be advertised in the University's Western News and on the University's web site, and be open to all members of the community. The examination normally follows within 24 hours of the lecture.

Details of the examination process are located in Section 8 of Graduate Regulations


Below is the typical program of study for a full-time student:

Full-time - 12 terms (4 years)



Fall Year 1

9715 - PhD Seminar and 2 elective courses, which may include:

Strongly recommended: 9580 (this course is the prerequisite for one of the mandatory courses, 9730 - Advanced Topics in Curriculum)

Winter Year 1

9715 - PhD Seminar (continued from Fall), 9730 - Advanced Topics in Curriculum (must have completed 9580) and 1 elective which may include:

Strongly recommended: graduate level research course, such as, 9705 - Advanced Quantitative Research Methods and/or 9711 - Qualitative Research in Education

Summer Year 1

Completion, submission and review of Comprehensive Examination

Fall Year 2

PhD oral Thesis Proposal Presentation, followed by written Proposal submission and ethics approval, if applicable

Winter Year 2

PhD oral Thesis Proposal Presentation, followed by written Proposal submission and ethics approval, if applicable

Summer Year 2


Fall Year 3


Winter Year 3


Summer Year 3


Fall Year 4


Winter Year 4


Summer Year 4

PhD Thesis examination/defense

Full-Time students can take a maximum of 3 course per term.


Curriculum Studies students may focus in one or more of the following:

  1. Early Childhood Education
  2. Multiliteracies
  3. Mathematics Education
  4. Curriculum and Pedagogy

PhD students in the area of Curriculum Studies will be required to complete:

  • 6 half courses
    • 2 required courses:
      • 9715 - PhD Seminar 
      • 9730 - Advanced Topics in Curriculum (must have completed 9580 - Introduction to Curriculum first)
    • 2 or 3  elective half courses (as approved by supervisor), such as:
      • 9580 - Introduction to Curriculum (prerequisite for 9730)
      • 9520 - Teaching in a Virtual World
      • 9535 - Language and Literacy Curriculum, Pedagogy, and Learning in a Changing World
      • 9536 - Multiliteracies: Texts and Contexts
      • 9537 - Multilingualism and Multiliteracies: Teaching Language and Literacy in a Globalized World
      • 9557 - Adolescent Literacy: Curriculum, Pedagogy, and Learning
      • 9564 - Teaching & Learning in Mathematics
      • 9565 - Mathematics Curriculum: A Critical Appraisal
      • 9566 - Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education: Policy and Society
      • 9571 - Learning in Science
      • 9572 - Science & Science Teaching
      • 9574 - Talking About Teaching: Forms of Pedagogic Discourse & Practice
      • 9575 - The Analysis of Teaching: Bridging Theory & Practice
      • 9576 - Narrative Inquiry: Teachers, Stories & Critical Pedagogy
      • 9577 - Action Research: Teachers as Researchers
      • 9579 - The Education of Teachers
      • 9599 - Early Literacy Curriculum, Pedagogy, and Learning
      • 9609 - Adult Education & Lifelong Learning
      • 9625 - Critical Issues in Language & Literacy Education
      • 9641 - Assessing and Evaluating Student Learning
      • 9679 - Curriculum, School & Society
      • 9621/9705 - Quantitative Research Methods
      • 9711 - Qualitative Research in Education
      • 9400 - Understanding the Young Child
    • 1 or more of the following strongly recommended courses:
      • 9580 - Introduction to Curriculum (prerequisite for 9730 - Advanced Topics in Curriculum)
      • other Research Methodology courses as approved by supervisor (e.g., 9711 - Qualitative Research in Education, 9804 - Advanced Statistics and research)
  • Comprehensive Exam
  • Thesis Proposal (oral presentation and written submission)
  • Thesis examination/defense

Note: In lieu of the recommended courses, up to two electives inside or outside the ARC can be taken with the approval of the student's supervisor. Students may also have the option to enroll in an Independent Reading and Research Course as an elective.

Potential Supervisor


Isha DeCoito 

George Gadanidis 

Rachel Heydon

Kathryn Hibbert

Mi Song Kim

Immaculate Namukasa

Veronica Pacini-Ketchabaw

Anton Puvirajah

Nikki Rotas

Danielle Sirek

Zheng Zhang