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 2021 the Summer Institute will be held at Saint Francis Xavier University in Antigonish and in 2022 the Summer Institute will be held at Acadia University 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.

Fall and Winter Courses

In the fall term, students take two, half credit, courses entitled, Contemporary Educational Theory and Focused Educational Studies. These courses are 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.


Program at a Glance!

Course Sequence

Question About How We Grade?

Download Grading Scheme