Last updated: March 23, 2023 @ 11:48AM

Educational Studies

Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Studies (Joint Program)

Fields of Study
Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
Social/Cultural/Political Contexts of Education
Cognition and Learning

Interim Dean
Mary-Louise Vanderlee
Faculty of Education

Associate Dean, Professional Undergraduate & Student Services
Mary-Louise Vanderlee
Faculty of Education

Associate Dean, Research and Graduate Studies
Catherine Hands
Faculty of Education

Core Faculty


Sheila M. Bennett, Fiona M. Blaikie, Sandra Bosacki, Lorenzo Cherubini, Darlene Ciuffetelli Parker, Susan M, Drake, Xavier Fazio, Tiffany Gallagher, Shelley Griffin, Debra Harwood, David Hutchison, Kamini Jaipal-Jamani, Julian Kitchen, Chunlei Lu, Michelle McGinn, Ruth McQuirter, Dolana Mogadime, Michael Owen, Lissa Paul, Nancy Taber, Susan Tilley, Mary-Louise Vanderlee, Louis Volante, Kari-Lynn Winters, Vera Woloshyn

Associate Professors
Joe Barrett, Hilary Brown, Diane Collier, Ann-Marie DiBiase, Tony Di Petta, Catherine Hands, Doug Karrow, Xiaobin Li, Robert McGray, Joyce Mgombelo, Trevor Norris, Michael O'Sullivan, Camille Rutherford, Michael Savage, Leanne Taylor, Peter Vietgen

Assistant Professors
Steven Khan, Sandra Della Porta, Dane Marco DiCesare, Monique Somma, Henry Stanley, Sherri Vansickle

Professors Emeriti

Sharon M. Abbey, Denise Armstrong, Ralph Connelly, Anne Elliott, Candace Figg, James Heap, Michael Manley-Casimir, Coral Mitchell, John M. Novak, Patrick O'Neill, Merle Richards, Alan R. Wheeler, Sybil E. Wilson

See for a list of Graduate Faculty.

Administrative Offices

David Hutchison
905-688-5550 ext. 3354

Graduate Program Director
Diane Collier

Research Officer
Snezana Ratkovic
905-688-5550 ext. 4793
WH 107

Graduate Student Coordinator
Wanda Burger
905-688-5550, extension 5496

Administrative Assistant, Graduate Programs
Natalie Reynolds
905-688-5550, extension 6276

Program Description
The PhD in Educational Studies is offered jointly by Brock University, Lakehead University, and the University of Windsor. The program prepares graduates to contribute to the development of knowledge and expertise in teaching/learning across all levels of the education continuum, to promote scholarly enquiry, and to participate in the development of methodological advances in the study of education. For further program and policy information, refer to the Joint PhD Handbook.

Admission Requirements

The minimum academic requirement for admission to the PhD is successful completion of a Master of Education or a Master's degree in a cognate discipline, normally with an A standing. Applicants must provide evidence of research competence, which is normally demonstrated by a master's thesis.

English is the primary language of communication and instruction in the program. For students who must provide proof of English Language Proficiency, the minimum TOEFL score of 100 (with no section under 27) or IELTS 7.0 (with no section under 6.5) or equivalent score on other tests of ELP accepted by Brock University is required. For full listing of accepted tests see:

Access to the internet is required.

Fields of Study
There are three broad fields of study in the program: Cognition and Learning, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, and Social/Cultural/Political Contexts of Education. Study within each field is complex and multifaceted, involving critical review and deliberation of vital issues related to theory, practice, pedagogy/curriculum, and methodologies. The fields of study provide a foundation for students to engage in scholarly activities and explore their research interests. As part of this process, students may find that their explorations cut across one or more fields of study. In this way, the fields of study are considered permeable, allowing for the interchange of foundational theories, concepts, and methodologies. Students are required to declare a field of study as part of the application and admission process to the Joint PhD in Educational Studies program.

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
Educational Leadership and Policy Studies encompasses four broad content areas: policy, organizational theory, leadership, and change. The field of study explores the ethical, social, cultural, philosophical, and historical aspects of educational policy, leadership, and organizations. It draws upon the theoretical and methodological frameworks that situate the major issues, challenging institutional and community educational systems and practices within their larger socio-political, socio-cultural, and curricular contexts.

Social/Cultural/Political Contexts of Education
Socio/Cultural/Political Contexts of Education draws upon the humanities, sociology, cultural studies, anthropology, history, politics, and arts in relation to education. Our aim is to foster emancipatory research and democratic practice in institutional and community settings. Consideration is given but not limited to social constructs of race, class, gender, sexuality, and ability/disability, and how they intersect with and influence educational experience and practice.

Cognition and Learning
Cognition and learning critically examines the cognitive, behavioural, social-emotional, and cultural processes of educators and students by drawing upon psychology, philosophy, sociology, sciences and other disciplines. Integral components of this field include an examination of contemporary and inclusive instruction, wellness, assessment and evaluation, professional development, curriculum development and implementation, metacognition and executive function, and learning theories.

Degree Requirements
PhD students complete the following course requirements: Doctoral Seminars I and II (2 full-course credits), Field of Study course (one half-course credit), specialization elective/directed study (one half-course credit) and research proposal colloquium (one half-course credit). Students must also complete a comprehensive portfolio (one and a half course credit) as well as the PhD dissertation (5 full-course credits).
For full time students, the program is a twelve term or four year program.

Course Descriptions

Note that not all courses are offered in every session. Refer to the applicable timetable for details.

Students must ensure that prerequisites are met. Students may be deregistered, at the request of the instructor, from any course for which prerequisites and/or restrictions have not been met.
Comprehensive Portfolio
(Lakehead 6080 and Windsor 680)
A portfolio of documents and academic artifacts that demonstrate research skills and knowledge of the field of study. Comprehensive Portfolios are defended in a public forum.

Doctoral Seminar I: Research, Theories, and Issues
(Lakehead 6020 and Windsor 602)
Examination of the history and philosophical foundations of education through the three fields of study. Students are introduced to qualitative methods of research in education.

Doctoral Seminar II: Research, Theories, and Issues
(Lakehead 6040 and Windsor 604)
Quantitative methods of research in education, encompassing true experiments, quasi experiments, and correlational studies. Students examine research, theories, and issues in the three fields of study.

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
(Lakehead 6211 and Windsor 621)
Introduces students to the origins and intellectual traditions that influence how we organize education. Students develop an understanding of sociological paradigms that have influenced educational systems over time and develop perspectives that enable them to think critically and creatively about issues in educational leadership, policy, and organizations.
Note: This is an online course.

Social/Cultural/Political Contexts of Education
(Lakehead 6311 and Windsor 631)
Centers on a critical examination of cultural, historical, and theoretical perspectives in education. Bodies of knowledge related to the complexities of sociocultural influences in education are the main focus. Using the sociocultural frame work developed in the course, students also investigate their specific areas of interest (for example, curriculum theory and practice).
Note: This is an online course.

Cognition and Learning
(Lakehead 6411 and Windsor 641)
Provides an analysis of epistemological theories through a critical examination of foundational and current research and a reflection on historical and philosophical orientations as they relate to contemporary issues in cognition and learning.
Note: This is an online course.

The Specialization Elective/Directed Study
(Lakehead 6511 and Windsor 651)
Sustained program of study relating to a topic of current theoretical and/or empirical interest leading to the production of a substantial research paper. Students may complete either a specialization elective or directed study that relates to their field of study, dissertation topic, and related research methodologies.

Research Proposal Colloquium
(Lakehead 6719 and Windsor 669)
In this course students examine theory and research in relation to their intended dissertation topic. Students develop a topic idea in the form of a dissertation proposal, defining a research question and a theoretical base for intended study. Students examine research questions in relation to varied methodologies, so that a diverse examination of research frameworks takes place through online discourse.
Note: This is an online course.

PhD Dissertation
(Lakehead 6901 and Windsor 798)
Preparation of a dissertation investigating a relevant issue in education. Demonstration of knowledge of relevant educational theory and research methods. Public defense of the dissertation.
Prerequisite(s): Successful completion of EDUC 7D80.