New Brock University PhD program a Canadian first

Brock University’s new PhD program in Child and Youth Studies is the first of its kind in Canada. Starting this fall, the new doctoral program will be offering students the advantage of studying children and youth from a variety of disciplinary perspectives.

“We will look at all aspects of children and childhood,” said Tony Volk, Associate Professor in the Department of Child and Youth Studies.

He said this is the first doctoral program in Canada exploring children and youth studies from multi- and transdisciplinary perspectives.

“It will offer students interested in children and youth a diversity of theory, knowledge, and tools that are not available from traditional unidisciplinary degrees,” Volk said. “Our PhD has an inherent focus on applied as well as academic outcomes for our graduates, improving their breadth and marketability.”

Tony Volk

Tony Volk

He said everything from development and mental health to legal rights and societal dynamics will be part of the students’ studies.

“The program responds to a clear societal need. There is a growing awareness of the importance of childhood for children, adults and society in general,” Volk said.

Instead of looking at clarifying a single piece of the puzzle, we are fitting multiple pieces of the puzzle together to create the big picture.

“Instead of looking at clarifying a single piece of the puzzle, we are fitting multiple pieces of the puzzle together to create the big picture.”

The PhD program builds on Brock’s successful master’s program in Child and Youth Studies, he said.

Mike Plyley, Dean of Graduate Studies, said the new PhD is Brock’s ninth doctoral program since it became a comprehensive university in 1999.

“The first of its kind in Canada, this is an exciting program that demonstrates Brock’s vision and leadership to introduce doctoral level studies in Canada that will have an immeasurable impact in pursuing research and scholarship that is important to society now and in the future,” he said. “The programs make Brock a very attractive destination for the best and brightest faculty and students to pursue far-ranging research and scholarship in this highly trans-disciplinary field.”

Mike Plyley

Mike Plyley

Plyley said it is anticipated that there will be huge interest in the program and high-calibre applications are expected from across the country. It will start in September 2016.

“We have a wide range of employment outcomes,” Volk said. “We believe this is a highly marketable degree.”

He said the career possibilities include (but are not limited to): academics, clinical work, education, social work, private and government advocacy and legal work.

“We feel that our flexible program allows students to tailor their doctoral education to their desired outcomes,” he said.

Students will be able to direct their studies based on the issues or problems they are interested in.

Brock University is a comprehensive university located in Ontario’s Niagara region, just an hour from the GTA.

With nearly 600 full-time faculty members and researchers, Brock’s academic scope offers more than 72 undergraduate degree programs and nearly 50 master’s and PhD programs.

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