Western Education'sPhD | 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

Become a valued expert

Possibilities to go to conferences

Possibilities to go to conferences

Extend the reach of research

Extend the reach of research

11 million library items

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

Admissions

Required:

  • 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

Recommended:

  • 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

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.

Funding

PhD students receive a funding package that includes the cost of annual tuition plus an additional $13,000. A portion of the funding package involves either 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 term 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)

For further details about funding opportunities available through the Faculty of Education, please visit this link.

Technology

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 Sakai OWL is found here: https://owl.uwo.ca/portal.

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

Description

The PhD program 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 Research 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.

Milestones

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

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

Timing/delivery

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

Term

Course/milestone

Fall Year 1

ED 9715 Ph.D. Seminar and two electives

Winter Year 1

ED 9715 Ph.D. Seminar (continued from Fall)
One of:

  • A strongly recommended graduate level research course, such as:
    • 9705 - Quantitative Research Methods
    • 9711 - Qualitative Research in Education
  • OR Elective
    • 9730 - Advanced Topics in Curriculum

Summer Year 1

ED 9789 Ph.D. Comprehensive Examination (1-2 terms to complete)

Fall Year 2

ED 9789 Ph.D. Comprehensive Examination (1-2 terms to complete)

Winter Year 2

ED 9790 Ph.D. Thesis
Thesis Proposal Presentation; submit Proposal and ethics, if applicable for approval

Summer Year 2

ED 9790 Ph.D. Thesis
Thesis Proposal Presentation; submit Proposal and ethics, if applicable for approval

Fall Year 3

ED 9790 Ph.D. Thesis

Winter Year 3

ED 9790 Ph.D. Thesis

Summer Year 3

ED 9790 Ph.D. Thesis

Fall Year 4

ED 9790 Ph.D. Thesis

Winter Year 4

ED 9790 Ph.D. Thesis

Summer Year 4

ED 9790 Ph.D. Thesis

Courses

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

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

Details for those who are in the area of Curriculum Studies, you will be required to complete:

    • 6 half courses
      • 2 required courses
        • PhD Seminar in CSSAL- An apprenticeship to doctoral studies and academe with a mixture of methodological, theoretical, and practical content based in the fields. Learning opportunities related to research design and implementation (from conceptualizing problems to writing dissertation), dissemination (e.g., publications and presentations), and writing grant proposals. Students will reflect critically on diverse forms of research, research resources, and their roles and responsibilities as researchers as they plan their own doctoral research.
        • Advanced Topics in Curriculum- A critical study of key concepts in contemporary curricular discourse, beginning with a focus on definitions and conceptions of curriculum ideologies, curricular language, and alternative approaches to curricular research and design. The writings of a variety of Canadian international scholars provide the basis for discussion and critique.
      • 2 Elective Courses, such as:
        • Teaching in a Virtual World
        • Language and Literacy Curriculum, Pedagogy, and Learning in a Changing World
        • Multiliteracies: Texts and Contexts
        • Multilingualism and Multiliteracies: Teaching Language and Literacy in a Globalized World
        • Adolescent Literacy: Curriculum, Pedagogy, and Learning
        • Teaching & Learning in Mathematics
        • Mathematics Curriculum: A Critical Appraisal
        • Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education: Policy and Society
        • Learning in Science
        • Science & Science Teaching
        • Talking About Teaching: Forms of Pedagogic Discourse & Practice
        • The Analysis of Teaching: Bridging Theory & Practice
        • Narrative Inquiry: Teachers, Stories & Critical Pedagogy
        • Action Research: Teachers as Researchers
        • The Education of Teachers
        • Early Literacy Curriculum, Pedagogy, and Learning
        • Adult Education & Lifelong Learning
        • Critical Issues in Language & Literacy Education
        • Assessing and Evaluating Student Learning
        • Curriculum, School & Society
        • Quantitative Research Methods
        • Qualitative Research in Education
        • Special Topics in Curriculum: Inclusive and International Mathematics
        • Special Topics in Curriculum: Understanding the Young Child
      • One or more of the following strongly recommended courses:
        • Elective research methodology courses (e.g., Qualitative Research, Advanced Statistics)
    • Comprehensive Exam

  • Dissertation

Potential Supervisor

Members

Isha DeCoito 

George Gadanidis 

Rachel Heydon

Kathryn Hibbert

Mi Song Kim

Immaculate Kizito Namukasa

Veronica Pacini-Ketchabaw

Anton Puvirajah

Zheng Zhang 

We are always happy to help!

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