University of Calgary Educational Research PhD

Educational Research

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Thesis-based program

Program overview

The Doctor of Philosophy degree prepares scholars for leadership careers in research and teaching. Students engage with established and emerging ideas in the theory and practice of pedogogy, leading to comprehensive and specialized understanding of their area of study. Through original research, students help to open and extend the field of educational research. By critiquing and building upon scholarly and practical research and contemporary discourses in education, students will participate in creating the next generation of ethical and ecologically sustainable educational systems. A two-year, on-campus residency is required for this research-intensive and thesis-based program, which is delivered on-campus only.

Completing this program

  • Adult Learning: Students take courses in research methods, advanced topics in adult learning and electives.
  • Language and Literacy: Students take courses in research methods and on theory and research in language and literacy.
  • Learning Sciences: Students take courses in research methods and electives in educational research from the learning sciences specialization.
  • Curriculum and Learning: Students take courses in research methods, interpretive study of curriculum and additional seminars.
  • Leadership: Students take courses in research methods, a seminar in educational leadership and electives in educational research.
  • Candidacy and Thesis: Students complete a research proposal and oral and written candidacy exams, and submit and defend an original thesis.



Professor, Research and Not-for-profit organizations, Bilingual Education, Intercultural Communication, English Language Arts, Media Education, Culture Studies, Curricular Consultant, Public and Private Education, Community and Non-governmental agencies, School management, Policy and governance.

A PhD in educational research is usually considered a final degree.

Thesis-based program

Students are required to prepare a thesis and successfully defend in an open oral defense.


Five core courses, and up to three electives depending on specialization   

Learn more about program requirements in the Academic Calendar

Classroom delivery

Time commitment

Four years full-time; six years maximum; two year residency requirement


A supervisor is required, but is not required prior to the start of the program

Fees and funding

See the Graduate Calendar for information on fees and fee regulations, and for information on awards and financial assistance.

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Learn about faculty available to supervise this degree.
Please note: additional supervisors may be available. Contact the program for more information.

  1. Maren Aukerman

    Maren Aukerman

    Accepting Inquiries
    Meaning-making, literacy, classroom discourse
  2. Subrata Bhowmik

    Subrata Bhowmik

    Accepting Inquiries
    L2 Writing, EAP, Sociocultural Approaches to L2 Learning
  3. Barbara Brown

    Barbara Brown

    Accepting Inquiries
    Learning Sciences, Educational Technology, K-12 Teaching and Leadership
  4. Amy Burns

    Amy Burns

    Accepting Inquiries
    Educational Leadership and Teacher Education
  5. Tonya Callaghan

    Tonya Callaghan

    Anti-Oppression & Anti-Homophobia Education; Critical Social Justice; Critical Theory; Curriculum Theory; Qualitative Research; Women & Gender Studies
  6. Catherine Chua

    Catherine Chua

  7. Roswita Dressler

    Roswita Dressler

    Accepting Inquiries
    Second Language Teaching and Learning, Linguistic Identity
  8. Sarah Elaine Eaton

    Sarah Elaine Eaton

    Accepting Inquiries
    Ethics in Educational Contexts
  9. Placeholder Profile Image

    Janet Groen

    Accepting Inquiries
    Adult Learning
  10. Dr. Michele Jacobsen

    Michele Jacobsen

    Accepting Inquiries
    Learning Sciences, Educational Technology, Graduate Education and Peer Mentoring

Admission Requirements


A minimum of 3.5 GPA on a 4.0 point system, over the past two years of full-time study (a minimum of 10 full-course equivalents or 60 units) of the undergraduate degree.

Minimum education

A thesis-based master's degree in an appropriate field from a recognized institution.

Work samples



  • A statement outlining the applicant's interests and reasons for wishing to pursue graduate work in this department. Clearly identify your thesis research area
  • A C.V

Reference letters


Test scores


Admission Portfolio

Applicants to the Doctor of Philosophy program are encouraged to submit an Admission Portfolio containing examples of their work.The Doctoral Admission Portfolio may contain the following: 

  • Thesis (if applicable).
  • Reports.
  • Research grants or scholarships.
  • Articles.
  • Curriculum documents.
  • Non-print materials, (e.g. multimedia).
  • Evidence of relevant prior learning (see graduate calendar).
  • Personal statement documenting research skills and interests.

English language proficiency

An applicant whose primary language is not English may fulfill the English language proficiency requirement in one of the following ways:

*Please contact your program of interest if you have any questions about ELP requirements.


For admission on September 1:

  • Canadians and permanent residents: Dec. 1 application deadline
  • International students: Dec. 1 application deadline

If you're not a Canadian or permanent resident, or if you have international credentials, make sure to learn about international requirements

Learn more about this program

Educational Research graduate program

Education Tower, Room 114
2500 University Drive NW
Calgary, ABT2N 1N4

Contact the Graduate Program Administrator

Visit the departmental website

Werklund School of Education

University of Calgary
2500 University Drive NW
Calgary, AB, T2N 1N4

Visit the Werklund School of Education's website

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