Nova Scotia’s PhD in Educational Studies

Taking Courses

In the first year of the PhD Program, you will take a series of courses designed to deepen your knowledge of educational theory and hone your skills as an education researcher. Each year the doctoral program offers courses in a set sequence. In addition to 2.5 credits of core required students, your Plan of Study may require you to take additional special topics and independent studies to develop specialist knowledge or skill. 

Summer Institute

Beginning in the first summer after admission, you will attend a residential Summer Institute in which you will complete two courses: Foundations of Educational Inquiry and Methodological Perspectives in Educational Research. In 2017, Mount Saint Vincent University hosted, in 2018, the summer school was in Antigonish at St. Francis Xavier University, and in 2019 Acadia University will offer the Institute on their campus in Wolfville.

The Summer Institute is an exciting (and demanding) learning event that engages students in intensive on-site study for four weeks. In addition to providing students with a chance to immerse themselves in educational research, the Summer Institute provides them with an opportunity to become part of a supportive scholarly community.

The Doctoral Seminar

The Doctoral Seminar takes place over the fall and winter terms. In this half credit course, students meet bi-weekly using online conferencing software to explore contemporary educational theory.

Fall and Winter Courses

In the fall term, students take a half credit course entitled, Focused Educational Studies. This course is delivered online using web-based conferencing software. In the winter, students take the final core course, the Advanced Research Seminar. This course is also conducted using web-based conferencing software.

Special Topic and Directed Study Courses

As part of your program plan that you develop with your Supervisor, it may be decided that you need to take additional special topic or directed study courses to help you develop specialist knowledge or skills. The course delivery method in the case of these courses will depend on the course instructor.

Registering for Courses

Once you have paid your PhD Program fee, you will be automatically registered in all of the courses of the degree by the Registrars' offices of the three participating universities. Prior to beginning your program, your home university will provide you with an ID number and username. For courses offered by your home university, you will be registered directly as a student of that university. For courses in the program offered by the other two universities, you will be registered as a visiting student. You will receive confirmation (normally by e-mail) of your registration in these courses by the Registrars' offices of the visiting universities.

Taking Courses

Aside from the Summer Institute and some Special Topic/Directed Study courses, the courses you will take in this program are offered using web-based course management and conferencing technology. Other events in the program like Portfolio presentations, Dissertation Proposal presentations, and Dissertation defenses are also supported by web-based conferencing technology. Students are responsible for acquiring required textbooks or readings; registered students may use the inter-library loan service.

The courses that are part of the PhD program require substantial engagement with challenging course materials. Students are expected to participate actively in all aspects of their course work. Please be advised that the time  commitment required to perform well in these courses is large. You should take measures prior to attending the PhD Program to create enough space in your life to adequately attend to the intense demands of the courses and other responsibilities you will have as a PhD student.


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