» What is distinctive about this PhD Program?

The Nova Scotia Inter-University Program in Educational Studies combines the research expertise from three respected Nova Scotia universities to offer a PhD experience of exceptional breadth and depth. The program is delivered using state-of-the-art methods that makes the program both accessible and richly interactive. The six overlapping program themes provide a basis for students to acquire both broad knowledge of educational theory and focused expertise in a specific research area.

» Does this program give me a degree in a program theme area?

The six program themes are specializations but you do not receive a degree specific to one of these focus areas. Your degree will be a PhD in Educational Studies.

»Does the program require coursework or is it thesis-based?

In the first year of study, students take a range of courses that provide a deep and integrated knowledge of educational studies and that enhance research knowledge and skills. Courses include an intensive summer institute and technology-mediated courses that provide an accessible, interactive, and relevant learning experience. Students develop a scholarly portfolio at the conclusion of their first year and then commence dissertation research.

» Is this PhD a distance program?

The program does use distance education technology to provide access for students taking the degree at a distance. However, during the first summer of the program, students attend an intensive, on-site summer institute where they meet their professors and fellow students and develop a facilitative scholarly community. Each participating university provides facilities to support students wanting to work in a university setting during their PhD degree.

» Who will award me my degree?

When you join the program you will be admitted as a student on one of the three participating universities (this depends, for the most part, on the university where your supervisor works). When you graduate, this “home university” will confer your PhD in Educational Studies.

Admission Requirements

» What are the main admission requirements for the PhD Program?

Students with a completed masters degree in education or related discipline are eligible to apply to the program. Successful applicants have a strong GPA (A- or 80%) in their highest degree. The PhD Program is an English language program. Applicants for whom English is a second language must meet criteria for English Language Proficiency.

» What is the minimum GPA needed to apply to the Program?

A minimum of A- or 80% average in your highest degree.

» Do I have to have my master degree completed when I apply?

You can apply to the PhD Program before completion of your masters degree, however, all aspects of your masters degree must be completed before the beginning of the Summer Institute in the year you are accepted.

» Do I need to have a masters thesis to apply?

Applicants must provide evidence that they are capable of conducting research at the doctoral level. Applicants who have not completed a masters thesis must supply a qualifying research paper (QRP) as part of their PhD application.

» I completed a project in my masters degree. Can it be considered in lieu of a thesis?

The QRP requirement can be fulfilled by submitting research that the applicant has conducted prior to applying for admission to the PhD Program. This includes research such as an independent graduate project, an independent or directed studies course project, an arts-based or community-based research initiative, or other artifacts of ways of knowing.

» Do I need to live in Nova Scotia to be admitted to the program?

All qualified applicants are considered for admission. Qualified applicants from the Maritime provinces are given preference during the admission process.

» Can I transfer credits from another institution to the PhD program?

No, you must complete all seven specifically designed courses (plus possible independent studies and special topics) within the time frame of the doctoral program.

» How many students are admitted every year to the program?

10 students are admitted to the Program each year.

» About how many applications does the program receive each year?

About 40 applications are received each year.

» Are all qualified candidates admitted into the program?
The Administration Committee are only able to accept 10 students per year into the Program. With approximately 40 applications received per year, we are not able to admit all qualified candidates.
» English is my second language. What level of English language proficiency is required for admission to the program?

Due to the intense nature of the doctoral program, applicants must possess English language proficiency when they apply for admission to the program. Normally, the program will not require applicants to provide proof of English language proficiency who have completed a 2-3 year program of study (bachelor or masters degree) at a recognized university in an English speaking country where the language of instruction and exams are in English.

IELTS 7.5-9.0 (with score of at least 7 on each test band)

MELAB 85 or higher (and the Speaking Test)

TOEFL (one of three, with IBT preferred because it also tests for speaking):

• IBT 90 or higher

• CBT 237 or higher

• PBT 580 or higher (with a TWE score of 6)

• PTE Academic 84 or higher

CanTest 5 or higher

Fulfillment of one or more of the above English language proficiency assessments does not guarantee admission.

» If I am accepted, can I defer admission until the next year?

The Administration Committee does not recommend deferrals from the program except for bona fide reasons, such as medical reasons with a doctor’s note.
Application Process
» How do I apply to the program?

You can apply by downloading and completing the PhD Application Package. Mail the completed application to the Doctoral Program Office by the application deadline.

» What should I include in my letter of intent?

Your Letter of Intent should identify a program theme(s) related to your research, outline your intended plan for research, and describe:

  • the originality and expected contribution of your research to scholarly knowledge in education;
  • your theoretical research framework;
  • and the research methodology and method(s) you will use in your research.

Your letter of intent should demonstrate ways the Nova Scotia PhD Program in Educational Studies fits well with your research aspirations.

» How do I select a Supervisor for the Program?

Once you have chosen a research area of interest, you can search for a faculty member working in that area from the faculty listings on the website. Faculty can be approached about their willingness to supervise your work, should you be accepted into the Program. If you have not selected a supervisor by the time your application is received, the Administrative Committee will match you with a supervisor that is available.

» How do I chose my home university from the three participating universities?

The university where your Supervisor is employed, becomes the home university. It is the home university that awards the degree.

» Is there any advantage to trying to choose one university over another for my home university?

No. Faculty from all three universities teach, supervise and serve on committees. Classes are held at each of the universities, rotating between sites for the Summer Institute.

» Can my supervisor come from a university that is not one of the three participating universities?

No, your supervisor must come from one of the three participating universities. Your committee members may be from other universities.

» How will I be notified of my acceptance to the Program?

Letters of Offer are normally sent by March 1 each year.

Normally, once the IDAC has made decisions about admission to the cohort, applicants are advised of the offer by e-mail or telephone. This is followed up by a Letter of Offer sent by the home university’s registrar’s office.

» What happens if I get placed in the wait pool?

The Doctoral Program Office will notify you if you are in the wait pool. Prior to May 1, you may receive a Letter of Offer if another applicant declines an offer and a space opens for another admission and appropriate supervisor for you can be secured.

» What happens if I cannot accept your offer to study in the program this year?

Applicants who cannot accept a Letter of Offer for a given year will have to reapply in another year, in a new competition.

» What happens if I miss the application deadline?

The application must be postmarked by November 15 for each intake. Applications postmarked after November 15 are returned to the applicant.

Program Delivery

» May I work full time while enrolled in the doctoral program?

This degree was designed to be a full-time degree, with the option for part-time studies after completing the initial 14-month, full-time residency. All doctoral students are strongly encouraged not to work full-time during their 14-month, full-time residency. Decisions about balancing work and study should be discussed with your supervisor.

» How long does it take to complete the degree?

For most students, the doctoral program will take from three and a half to six years to complete. Students have six years to complete their degree beyond which extensions must be sought.

» Is this degree available online?

Our doctoral program includes face-to-face and online components. Doctoral students complete two courses of their program at a residential summer institute in their first summer in the program. The fall and winter semesters courses are delivered using a state-of-the-art online conferencing software called Collaborate combined with an e-learning platform called Moodle.

» What are the residency requirements for the PhD program?

The program commences with a 14 month period of full-time residency extending over two summer seminars and one academic year. During that period, students attend a residential summer institute in their first summer and participate in online courses during the academic year. All doctoral students are expected to be fully engaged with the doctoral program during their residency. Beyond the full-time residency period, doctoral students can opt to remain full-or part-time students.

» Can I take the first year of the Program part-time?

The first year of the program is full-time. The course work must be completed sequentially, beginning with the Summer Institute.

» Do I need to be on campus for the entire 14-month period of my residency?

No. You must attend the first two courses (Summer Institute) face-to-face at the designated university. The location of the Summer Institute rotates each year between the three campuses. The last three courses are delivered via Collaborate at a distance.

» Do I take courses at all three universities?

This is an inter-university doctoral program. Responsibilities for doctoral program courses rotate amongst the three universities, using a combination of face-to-face and modes of e-learning

»What is a research portfolio?

The research portfolio serves the same purpose as comprehensive examinations in other doctoral programs. Students gather materials to demonstrate expertise in five areas:

  • general knowledge about educational theories and trends;
  • in-depth knowledge about a range of educational issues specific to a student’s chosen theme/research focus;
  • research knowledge and competencies;
  • professional and collegial competencies;
  • and, teaching and instructional competencies.

Tuition and Funding

» How much is tuition and how, to whom, do I pay it? 

Tuition fees are paid to the doctoral student’s home institution (home of the Supervisor). Each student pays $10,770 for each of the first two years and then a $3,075 continuation fee for each year thereafter, until completion. International students are charged a tuition fee of $21,540 for each of the first two years, and a $6,150 continuation free. Tuition fees may change without prior notice.

» Are there scholarship monies or fellowships for doctoral students?

Potential sources of funding for doctoral students include:

(a) assistantships (teaching and/or research), especially from faculty grants, if available;

(b) scholarships (especially SSHRC, but from other granting agencies and institutions as well);

(c) loans (government, financial institutions and/or personal sources);

(d) research grants obtained by students;

(e) sabbatical leaves and professional development leaves; and,

(f) employment earnings (normally not full-time employment).

» May I get a student loan if I am a doctoral student?

Doctoral students in our program can apply for a student loan from the Nova Scotia government.

» Are there entrance scholarships available?

Unfortunately, there are no entrance scholarships or grants available for the Program. At this time, the IDAC can only inform applicants of potential sources of funding that may be available after they have been accepted.

» Can I take the first year of the Program part-time?

The first year of the program is full-time. The course work must be completed sequentially, beginning with the Summer Institute.

» Are the tuition fees different amongst the participating universities?

No. The tuition and fees are the same at each of the participating universities.