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SOCIAL JUSTICE EDUCATION

Newly Admitted Students

 

*Note to ALL prospective and incoming students*

The Department of Social Justice Education (SJE) brings together two programs formerly housed in two different departments (prior to July 1st, 2012): History & Philosophy of Education (formerly Department of Theory & Policy Studies, TPS) and Sociology in Education (formerly Department of Sociology & Equity Studies in Education, SESE).

Until April 2013, the History and Philosophy courses are going to be offered by the new department of SJE (course codes will be changed to include the prefix ‘HSJ’ in April 2013). Please click on the SJE Fall Timetable link here to get an overview of the available offerings for new students.

*Note: The Timetable link will be restored after certain revisions have been made. Go to RO schedule webpage for updated information: http://www.oise.utoronto.ca/ro/Graduate_Students/Continuing_Students/Course_Information/Course_Schedules/index.html

The School of Graduate Studies (SGS) has compiled several resources to assist incoming students with information on electronic theses, supervision, and English language writing support among many others to assist new graduate students in navigating their way through their major scholarly milestones and buildling career skills here in the FAQ section.
 

For information on conducting research and research standards please visit the University of Toronto's Office of Research Ethics.

SJE has adopted a Graduate Student Life Cycle framework (Edge, 2003) that identifies five different stages that graduate students travel through on their road to convocation.

This cycle serves as a guide as your requirements will be different if you are a Masters or Doctoral student. In the following section, we have attempted to outline the resources available to you for each stage of the cycle. We encourage you to reference these when starting (or continuing) a particular stage. In any stage of the cycle, students should consult their faculty advisor and/or supervisor. Students should also build and nurture social networks, as these support systems become crucial in times of stress. Students are also encouraged to become familiar with the various communication tools (e.g., SJE website, OISE student services website, OISE Registrar’s Office website, etc.) to find up-to-date information about upcoming workshops and events during the year. In subsequent sections of the Handbook, you will find information on academic opportunities, resources, and student services available inside and outside the university.


Faculty Advisor | Academic Journey | Financial Aid & Awards

 

Faculty Advisor


The Role of the Advisor and Supervisor

In any stage of the Graduate Life Cycle, it is important that students consult with their advisor and/or supervisor to ensure that the student is on the right track. Following is a description of the faculty advisor’s role. A more formal description of the faculty supervisor’s role is available in the handbook Graduate Supervision: Guidelines for Students, Faculty and Administrators.

 

Faculty Advisor

Each applicant to the Department is assigned an advisor by the Admissions Committee at the time of admission. Your faculty advisor is there to provide information and suggestions regarding your academic program, and in general, to help you find your way through the degree process including helping you select a thesis supervisor to approach. It is the student’s responsibility to communicate with his/her advisor to discuss aspects of the program. Students should consult with their assigned advisor before the end of their first term or earlier about their program of studies, with particular attention to obtaining a grounding in social theory and research methods appropriate to their program. In assigning advisors, the Admissions Committee attempts to match student interests with those of the faculty advisor, but this is not always practical, as the Committee also needs to ensure that all faculty are involved in student advisement and that no one is overloaded. While your initial faculty advisor is assigned to you, you may later change advisors. Permission must be received from the faculty member whom you wish to be your faculty advisor and you should inform the departmental graduate studies liaison officer of the change in faculty advisor. The faculty advisor may or may not become your thesis/MRP supervisor.

Thesis Supervisor

Your thesis supervisor is someone you choose. It must be someone whom you feel you could speak with openly and freely without any fear. It will probably be someone whose course(s) you have taken and who shares your research interests. It could be someone from a different department. It may also be the same person who was your faculty advisor or not.

Note that some faculty members may only agree to supervise students who have taken their course(s). Take your time to get to know faculty and teachers. Consult with other students about their experiences. 

When the time has come for you to begin planning your Major Research Paper, M.A., Ed.D., or Ph.D. thesis:

  • you must finalize with the faculty/teacher that she/he is willing to be your thesis or MRP supervisor
  • you must formalize the relationship by completing the Approval of Supervisor form and submitting it to your supervisor for approval
  • once your MRP/Thesis supervisor is confirmed, your relationship with the faculty advisor fades away
  • your Supervisor becomes your advisor who will help you set up your thesis committee, ethical review (if necessary), prepare for the review and will generally help you develop, write, and prepare to defend your MRP or thesis
  • while it is generally the department’s responsibility to assist students in finding suitable supervision, no particular faculty member is obliged to supervise or be a member of any particular student’s thesis committee for several reasons, i.e. the faculty member does not feel qualified; will be on academic or personal leave; is over-committed on thesis supervision or committee membership
  • thesis supervision and committee membership must be negotiated between student and faculty member. Again, your Faculty Advisor could help you prepare for this
     

TIP for approaching a potential supervisor:

Have a piece of writing/research in hand (e.g., a rough thesis proposal) to discuss during your meeting. This will give the potential supervisor an idea of your interests and views for your choice of work.

Obligations of Supervisors:

The obligations of supervisors, stated minimally, are as follows:

Supervisors are required to be involved with the development of the thesis proposal, to suggest other committee members, to obtain approval of an acceptable form of the proposal from the full committee, advise the student on submission of the ethical review forms to the ethical review committee, guide the development of the thesis over its various stages, assure that the final draft of the thesis meets with the approval of the full committee, and in the case of doctoral theses, arrange for all requirements to be met for the Senate or OISE Oral defence.

 

Academic Journey

The first stage of your academic journey is to build on your knowledge base in your field of study. During this stage, you should work with you faculty advisor and choose courses to properly develop your course of study. In most cases, you will be required to take some mandatory courses. It is important that you become familiar with your program requirements and ensure that you fulfill all program requirements in a timely manner. See OISE Graduate Studies in The Bulletin.


Some tips to remember when choosing and registering for courses:

Check out course descriptions, available at OISE Registrar's Office, thoroughly. SJE course schedules and descriptions are available at the Registrar's website. The Summer, and Fall and Winter seasons are usually available on the Registrar's website during the last week of March with further modifications up to the start of the course. 

Please check regularly for updates and remember to:

  •     Make sure your SJE course requirements are included in your selection of courses
  •     Meet with your faculty advisor or supervisor if you need help to select the right courses for
        your program of study
  •     Most OISE courses are limited to 20-25 students. Please enroll early to avoid disappointment
  •     Talk to other students who have taken the course. Students can provide valuable insight about
        their experience with a particular course


Comprehensive Exams (Comps)

Students in the Ph.D. programs are required to do one comprehensive examination (Comps). The Comps must be completed before the official formation of the thesis committee. Ph.D. students entering the last year of their course work should contact their faculty member or Program Liasion when they are considering doing this. The faculty member who will be your thesis supervisor is usually one of the two members on the committee involved in the Comps exam. You are responsible for finding two faculty members who will act as your comprehensive committee.

The Comps stage of your academic journey can be overwhelming. To help decrease the anxiety that students often experience, here are some tips to remember when approaching this stage of the cycle:

  • Talk to other students who have completed the Comps in the program. They are usually great resources and can help you understand what the Comps experience is like. Your mentor may also be a good resource or may be able to refer you to someone else
  • Connect with other students who are in the Comp stage. It is always comforting to know that there are other people who are “in the same boat” as you. You may even want to form a study group or meet periodically to support each other
  • Attend workshops that are available during the year. Please check the OISE Student Services website periodically for new announcements of new workshops

  On-line Resources to help with Comps:

  1. The Office of English Language and Writing Support (ELWS) “Preparing to Write Comprehensive Exams” by Tatjana Chorney
  2. OISE Ed Commons which offers valuable workshops and programs to help graduate students survive the program. Information is available on their Workshops page

Thesis Proposals

The thesis proposal is developed in consultation with a member of the faculty, typically your academic advisor or a prospective supervisor. Most students write and revise several draft proposals as their thinking evolves and is shaped by interaction with faculty, peers, research, etc.

When starting the thesis proposal process, please ensure that you have accessed the information in the OISE Guidelines for Theses and Orals. These guidelines provide information about policy and procedures concerning the formal thesis requirements for graduate degrees in education.

The OISE Student Services hosts various Graduate Student Professional Development workshops throughout the year. Announcements of these workshops will generally be found on their website under the Conferences & Workshops section.
 

Ethics Reviews

It is very important that you obtain ethical approval of your research or receive an exemption from the Education Ethics Review Committee (EERC) before you embark on your research. Conducting research with human subjects without prior approval of the EERC is a serious breach of the University of Toronto’s ethical procedures. Thus, all graduate students writing a thesis or major research paper must submit a description of their proposed work, and the appropriate ethical review forms, to the University’s EERC. This is a requirement that applies to all student research, including research that does not involve human subjects.

Procedures

Masters and Doctoral students in SJE work with their thesis/MRP supervisor to prepare all the necessary documents describing ethical considerations in their proposed thesis/MRP research. The procedures and the relevant forms, as well as a sample of completed forms, are available on the SJE website. You and your supervisor must both sign the appropriate ER documents. These documents (described below) are first submitted for pre-review to the SJE Departmental Coordinator. The departmental pre-review for students is designed to facilitate the review process by ensuring that submissions are accurate and complete.

Once the documents have been checked and approved at the departmental level, the student and the supervisor will be notified, usually by email. It is then the student’s responsibility to submit the necessary number of copies for review and approval with the University’s EERC. The EERC reviews all student research proposals for OISE students. When your submission has been considered, the EERC will issue a letter, sent to you with a copy to your thesis supervisor, either approving or exempting your research from an ethical review. In some cases this leter will ask students to make changes to their submission, or to add information to it. Once the appropriate changes have been made, you will receive a letter from the EERC to this effect. You must send a copy of the letter to the OISE Registrar’s Office for their records. You will not be able to to graduate without a letter from the EERC either approving or exempting your research from ethical review, and it is your responsibility to ensure that the Registrar’s Office receives it.

Different levels of ethical review: Which one applies to my research?

Students (and their supervisors) are advised to carefully review the criteria which are used by the EERC to determine the level of review applicable to their proposed research. These criteria are described in detail on their website.

Here you can also find each of the documents that you must complete and include with your ethical review submission. Note that the documents that you must submit, and the procedures you need to follow, will vary somewhat, depending on the kind of review that your research requires. Here is a summary of the three types of review, and the kinds of research that they are applied to. (This is only a summary, the above website has a lot more detail, as well as examples and suggestions that will help you decide where your research fits).

Full review

A full review may be warranted in cases, such as when the research poses risks for the participants, when research involves children, or when confidentiality cannot be guaranteed. The EERC meets monthly to consider those submissions that require a full review. A schedule of these meetings and the deadlines for each of them is available from their website here.

Expedited review

Many of the research studies conducted by graduate students in SJE may be eligible for what the University of Toronto calls expedited review. As the term suggests, this is a ‘simpler’ and quicker form of review than a full review (usually determined on a weekly basis) and it may apply, for example, to interview or survey students where the research poses little or no risk to the participants, or where it is clear that the participants’ anonymity and confidentiality will be protected.

Exempton from Ethical Review

Some student research projects are exempt from review by the EERC. Such studies would typically include MRPs/Theses that deal solely with published works or documents/images in the public domain (for example, critical reading/discussion of published literature or analysis of work of art, media images or policy documents). These students do not need to file an ethical review, but should indicate on Section C of the Formation of Thesis Committee form that no ethical review is needed. The form is located on the Forms page of the Registrar's website. 

Where to Find Forms, Instructions, and Procedures

You can obtain general instruction, forms, and procedures for submission of protocols for ethical review from a variety of sources as listed below. We strongly advise that you make use of the appropriate websites and the documents that can be downloaded from them.

The Department is no longer able to provide students with paper copies of ethical review documents that students are responsible for making all the necessary copies of ethical review documents that they will use. Students can obtain copies which they can then print from the Reference Desk of the OISE Library (ground floor) or the Office of Research Ethics' website.
 

The following workshops are scheduled to help you through the process:

  • The MRP & The Thesis: How do I begin? What is an Ethical Review (date TBA) hosted by OISE Student Services
  • A session on the Ethical Review Process is normally presented at the OISE Student Conference, Diverse Perspectives in March
  • OISE Research Ethics Seminar Series. To visit their Events page click here

Questions? Contact Graduate Liaison Officer Sezen Atacan at (416) 978-0397.


Theses/MRPs Development

The thesis or MRP is developed in consultation with your supervisor. When going through the Thesis/MRP process, please ensure that you have read the OISE Guidelines for Theses and Orals. These guidelines provide information about policy and procedures concerning the formal thesis requirements for graduate degrees in education. They can be found under the Guidelines for Theses and Doctoral Final Oral Exams section of the Registrar's website.

As in the other stages of the life cycle, it is important to keep your social networks intact in this stage. Students often feel isolated when they are writing their thesis or MRP so it is important to‘stay in touch’ with other students. You may even want to form a study group or meet periodically to support each other through this important stage.

Steps in Completing a Thesis

The following steps have been summarized and are described in more detail in the OISE Guidelines for Theses and Orals. You should use this as a checklist and refer to the Guidelines for instruction as you work on your thesis.

  1. Selection / Definition of a Thesis Topic
  2. Selection of a Thesis Supervisor
  3. Developing the Thesis Proposal
  4. Composition of the Thesis Committee
  5. Official Formation of the Thesis Committee*
  6. Securing Approval of the Thesis Proposal*
  7. Ethical Review Procedures
  8. Preparing the Thesis
  9. Submission and Approval of Thesis to Thesis Committee
  10. Doctoral Final Oral Examination (Ph.D. and Ed.D. students only)
  11. Final thesis approval*
  12. Submission of Final Copies of Thesis*

Some advice: Start early…

* Appropriate forms must be completed and submitted. Please consult the  OISE Guidelines for Theses and Orals guide.

The following workshops are scheduled to help you through the process:

  • The MRP and the Thesis: How do I begin? What is an Ethical Review (date TBA), hosted by OISE Student Services.
  • A session on the Thesis Journey is normally presented at the OISE Student Conference, Diverse Perspectives held in March of each year.

Here are some resources that may help you write your thesis or MRP:

Academic & Cultural Support Centre
• The Office of English Language and Writing Support (ELWS)

This website offers many links to various resources about writing. Workshops such as “Thesis writing in the Social Sciences” are offered through the ELWS. Individual consultations can be booked by calling (416) 946-7485 or on the website at www.sgs.utoronto.ca/English.

Writing Support at UofT. This website provides links and information to books on writing, advice for writing, and writing courses and resources available at U of T.
Advice on Academic Writing
• Writing your Dissertation: The Writing Center University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and All-But-Dissertation Survival Guide
 

Oral Examinations

Once your thesis is in its final form, approved by your thesis committee, the thesis is recommended for the Final Oral Examination by your thesis committee, your Department Chair, and the OISE Registrar. At this examination, you must defend your thesis before a Final Oral Examination Committee.

The Oral Examination is applicable to Ph.D. and Ed.D. students only. It is this examination which determines whether you are recommended for the degree. As there are many detailed steps that must be taken in advance of the actual exam, students are strongly encouraged to consult the OISE Guidelines for Theses and Orals for specific procedures of establishing a Final Oral Examination.

 

Financial Aid & Awards

Scholarships

They are various opportunities for students to apply for scholarship. The OISE Graduate Student Funding Information page on the Registrar's website lists various scholarship opportunities, as well as other possible funding sources. 


Academic Opportunities

During your graduate program, you may become involved in funded research or publish articles in journals. Be more visible in the research community by becoming a member of the Community of Science and Papersinvited.com. Find out which journals will be most relevant to you. As a U of T student, you also have the opportunity to study from a different university, city, or country.

Papersinvited

Papersinvited.com was conceived and developed to assist those numerous scientists, professors, and research students who have had a difficult time in tracking the “Calls to Papers” from various universities, professional bodies, and journals. They house an exhaustive list of “Calls for Papers” in all areas of specialization in their database. Students can find calls for papers, calendar of events and even contribute to the database.

Community of Science

The Community of Science, Inc. (COS) is the leading Internet site for the global R&D community. COS brings together the world’s most prominent scientists and researchers at more than 1,300 universities, corporations, and government agencies, worldwide. COS provides tools and services that professionals use to communicate, exchange information, and find the people and technologies that are important to their work. If you require assistant with building your own personal profile please contact the Business Officer for assistance.

Researchers use COS to help them stay current on research activities, news, and publications; track funded research; and purchase supplies and services that are relevant to their work. As members of the U of T community, you have free access to the service.

Canadian Educational Journals

Students have access to a comprehensive list of Canadian educational journals maintained in the OISE Student Services Offices, 4th Floor. Information in this collection includes journal titles, frequency of publications, publishers, editors, and contact information. If you are interested in publishing an article, it’s a good ideal to consult this list to find the most appropriate journals in which you may want to publish.

All-But-Dissertation Survival Guide or email to Editor@mentorcoach.com

The All-But-Dissertation Survival Guide is a free monthly email newsletter with succinct articles devoted to practical strategies for successfully completing your doctoral dissertation. It focuses on ways to overcome the inevitable obstacles you will face along the dissertation marathon including the twin devils of all dissertations: writer’s block and procrastination.