Graduates of the PhD in Educational Studies degree program develop the competence and expertise needed to assume positions of leadership, such as educational researchers in institutional and non-institutional contexts; teacher educators; curriculum and instructional leaders in school boards and private industry; and school, school board, and governmental educational administrators. This program also promotes collaborative work with colleagues in educational endeavours and lifelong professional development.

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Course Structure
PhD Program

Note: Current UPEI students should refer to Student Planning in myUPEI and the UPEI Academic Calendar governing their entry year, and speak to an academic advisor about course requirements. The course structure presented for this program is a recommended, unofficial progression for prospective students.

The degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Educational Studies is a research degree requiring a dissertation on original and significant research within traditional educational and community-based educational contexts extending from early childhood through mature adulthood.

The general goal of the Doctor of Philosophy program in Educational Studies at the University of Prince Edward Island is to examine education at an advanced level from a variety of perspectives, including, but not limited to, the investigation of theoretical and practical aspects of policy, curricula, teaching and teacher education, administration, and professionalism.

Graduates of the PhD in Educational Studies develop the competence and expertise needed to assume positions of leadership, such as educational researchers in institutional and non-institutional contexts; teacher educators; curriculum and instructional leaders in school boards and private industry; and school, school board, and governmental educational administrators. This program also promotes collaborative work with colleagues in educational endeavours and lifelong professional development. The program provides learning opportunities in which the candidate, in supervisory and collegial relationships with one or more faculty members:

  1. develops a critical and comprehensive understanding of significant trends and major concerns in the field of education, and formulates and expresses, both orally and in writing, personal and professional positions in relation to how these trends and concerns are manifested in their area of interest;
  2. develops in-depth knowledge and understanding of different philosophical stances in education and educational research and their sociopolitical and practical implications;
  3. develops an understanding of, and ability to use and evaluate, a wide range of research methodologies used in educational research;
  4. designs and presents a proposal for an original research project of significance in the field of education;
  5. completes the proposed research under faculty supervision, then writes and orally defends a dissertation;
  6. develops competencies in clear and logical writing skills that allow for disseminating knowledge to a variety of audiences;
  7. develops competencies in leadership roles within formal and/or informal educational institutions, agencies, or communities.

Submission of Dissertation

When the dissertation, in its final form, has been prepared after the final oral examination, the student brings six unbound copies to the Co-ordinator of Graduate Studies at least four weeks prior to Convocation.

Each copy must be submitted in a separate folder with the pages numbered and arranged in the appropriate order. The dissertation must be free from typographical and other errors. All copies must include the Certificate of Approval signed by the Examination Committee and the members of the Supervisory Committee. Also included must be a brief Abstract and a copy of the circulation waiver and the copying licence.

When accepted by the Coordinator of Graduate Studies, one copy is retained for microfilming and deposited to the University Library after being bound. A second copy is released to the Faculty of Education. A third copy is released to the student’s supervisor and three copies are released to the student.


The University requires publication of the dissertation in the following manner:

One unbound copy of the dissertation is forwarded to Library and Archives Canada, together with an agreement form signed by the candidate authorizing Library and Archives Canada to microfilm the dissertation and make microfilm copies available for sale on request. Library and Archives Canada film the dissertation exactly as it is and list the dissertation in Canadiana as a publication of Library and Archives Canada. A fee is charged by Library and Archives Canada to offset the cost of microfilming.

A Library and Archives Canada Microfilm Agreement form is sent to the candidate prior to the PhD Dissertation, to be signed and submitted to the Coordinator of Graduate Studies immediately after the successful completion of the examination.

The student, in consultation with the Supervisor and the Coordinator of Graduate Studies, shall have the right to request that circulation and/or copying of the dissertation in any form be withheld.

Circulation and Copying of Dissertation

In normal circumstances, as a condition of engaging in graduate study at the University, the author of a dissertation grants certain licences and waivers in respect to the circulation and copying of the dissertation:

  • to the University Librarian, a waiver permitting the circulation of the dissertation as part of the Library collection;
  • to the University, a licence to make single copies of the dissertation under carefully specified conditions;
  • to Library and Archives Canada, a licence to microfilm the dissertation under carefully specified conditions.

Copyright Provision
Copies of the dissertation shall have on the title page the words “In partial fulfilment of requirements for the degree of PhD in Educational Studies.” The international copyright notice, which consists of three elements in the same line — the © symbol (the letter “C” enclosed in a circle), the name of the copyright owner (the student), and the year — should appear as a bottom line on the title page of the dissertation.




Students are enrolled in the UPEI PhD program in Educational Studies as a full-time student for three years. This program also requires a residency of three semesters, normally completed consecutively. If, after three years, students have not completed all degree requirements, they continue to pay a maintenance fee to UPEI until all requirements are completed. Students have a maximum of seven years to complete all degree requirements.

The UPEI PhD in Educational Studies includes these courses, a comprehensive examination consisting of an ePortfolio and oral defence, and a dissertation.

Required courses:

  • ED 7000 - Advanced Quantitative Methodology and Methods in Education Research
  • ED 7010 - Advanced Qualitative Methodology and Methods in Education Research
  • ED 7020 - Directed Studies in Educational Research Methodology and Methods
  • ED 7034 - Theory in Education Research
  • ED 7040 - Graduate Seminar in Educational Studies
  • ED 7050 - Comprehensive Examination (ePortfolio and oral defence)
  • ED 7060 - PhD Dissertation
Admissions Criteria
What's Required for Admission?

Candidates for admission to the PhD in Educational Studies must have demonstrated high academic standing and evidence of ability to conduct original, independent and sustained research. Normally, the basic requirements are:

(i) First class standing (e.g., a minimum academic average of 80%, or A-, or a GPA of 3.7) or equivalent, in a Masters program conferred by an accredited university (students with Pass grades must request that former professors complete a narrative assessment form to confirm first class standing equivalence and potential for admission to a PhD program).

(ii) A Masters thesis. An equivalent research report such as a Masters project, or a substantial research-focused technical report, authored solely by the applicant, may also be considered.

(iii) Evidence of a minimum of 5 years professional experience in field deemed relevant to the field of educational studies.

In addition, prospective students must complete a Statement of Intent as part of their application materials. 

All applications to the PhD program are assessed on a competitive basis. Satisfaction of the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission to the program. Due to the nature of the program, deferral of admission will normally not be possible. Although the Faculty of Education endeavours to provide some financial support to candidates admitted in the PhD program, students should be prepared to fully self-finance their tuition and cost of living in PEI, as funding is not guaranteed nor sufficient to address tuition responsibilities.

Please refer to the UPEI Academic Calendar for complete admissions information.

Students are expected to be proficient in the use of English, both written and oral, when they begin their studies at the University of Prince Edward Island. Please review the English Language Requirements for graduate programs.

Applicants do not require a supervisor in advance of this application, upon successful acceptance to the program a supervisor will be assigned.

Application Deadline
Make sure you apply before the deadline!

Application opens July 1, and closes January 15 (program begins the same year in September).

All application documents and materials must be received no later than January 15 of the year for which admission is sought.

Fees and Funding


PhD in Educational Studies - $13,815 per 3 year program
International students pay $8,010 per year in addition to full-time student tuition.

For a complete breakdown of part-time or full-time study as a student in the Faculty of Science, visit our Tuition and Fees page.

Scholarships and Awards

UPEI supports you and your educational goals. We administer millions of dollars in scholarships and awards to our undergraduate and graduate students every year. Depending on your faculty or program, and year of study, you may be eligible for available awards.

Search the complete list of scholarships for information and application forms.  

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