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PHD COURSE PLAN
 

For information on coursework and other program requirements, please see the SGS Calendar.

SGS Calendar

For full course descriptions, please see the Registrar's Office and course listings page.

 


The full-time DPE PhD is a 4-year program.

Recommended Course of Study:

PhD 1 APD3200H: Research Proseminar on Human Development and Applied Psychology
  0.5 FCE Statistics and Research Methods (recommended) 
 

1.0 FCE Elective courses if desired (recommended)

Begin planning for thesis and comprehensive

PhD 2 Complete courses if needed
  Complete comprehensive examination
  Form thesis committee, begin formal thesis proposal
PhD 3 Obtain thesis  proposal  approval
  Obtain  ethics  approval
  Collect  data, analyse data, begin write-up for thesis
PhD 4 Complete thesis and oral defence
 

Academic Monitoring

*The School of Graduate Studies requires that academic progress of all doctoral is monitored. Beginning in the second year for full-time PhD students (the third year for flexible-time PhD students), the thesis committee meet yearly to complete the Doctoral Monitoring Form (link to this document is available at top of this page). 

Minimum requirements for adequate progress

  • By April 30 of Year One: Complete at least four half courses.
  • By April 30 of Year Two: Complete any remaining courses; select a thesis topic (a tentative thesis title and an abstract of between 250 and 350 words); form a tentative thesis committee (supervisor and at least one additional member).
     
  • By April 30 of Year Three: Form a full thesis committee (supervisor and at least two additional members); prepare a formal thesis proposal (drafts of the introductory, literature review, and methods chapters of the thesis); obtain approval of the formal thesis proposal from the full committee; complete the comprehensive examination.
     
  • All additional requirements, including the completion and defence of the thesis, should be completed by the end of Year Four and must be completed by the end of Year Six.

Achieving Candidacy: Requirements and Time Limit​

Candidacy must be achieved by the end of Year 3 for the PhD DPE Program.

Note: The foregoing time limits do not apply to courses that run continuously throughout the program.

More details on the Achieving Candidacy and Maintaining Good Academic Standing are available on The School of Graduate Studies website.

 

PhD FLEX COURSE PLAN
 

Degree requirements for the flexible-time PhD are the same as for the full-time PhD program.

Flexible-time PhD students register full-time during the first four years and part-time during subsequent years of the program. This is a 6-year program.


Recommended Course of Study (Flexible-Time):

Note: Usually, all course work is completed in Year 1.

PhD 1 APD3200H: Research Proseminar on Human Development and Applied Psychology
  0.5 FCE Statistics and Research Methods (recommended) 
 

1.0 FCE Elective courses if desired (recommended)

Begin planning for thesis and comprehensive

PhD 2 Complete courses if needed
  Complete comprehensive examination
  Continue thesis planning
PhD 3

Form thesis committee

  Begin formal thesis proposal
PhD 4 Obtain thesis  proposal  approval
  Obtain  ethics  approval
  Begin collecting and analysing data
PhD 5

Complete data collection and analysis

Begin write-up for thesis

PhD 6 Complete thesis and oral defence


Academic Monitoring

*The School of Graduate Studies requires that academic progress of all doctoral is monitored. Beginning in the second year for full-time PhD students (the third year for flexible-time PhD students), the thesis committee meet yearly to complete the Doctoral Monitoring Form (link to this document is available at top of this page)

Minimum requirements for adequate progress

  • By April 30 of Year One: Complete at least four half courses.
     
  • By April 30 of Year Two: Complete any remaining courses.
     
  • By April 30 of Year Three: Select a thesis topic (a tentative thesis title and an abstract of between 250 and 350 words); form a tentative thesis committee (supervisor and at least one additional member).
     
  • By April 30 of Year Four: Form a full thesis committee (supervisor and at least two additional members); prepare a formal thesis proposal (drafts of the introductory, literature review, and methods chapters of the thesis); obtain approval of the formal thesis proposal from the full committee.
     
  • By April 30 of Year Five: Complete the comprehensive examination.
     
  • All additional requirements, including the completion and defence of the thesis, should be completed by the end of Year Six and must be completed by the end of Year Eight.

Achieving Candidacy: Requirements and Time Limit​

Candidacy must be achieved by the end of Year 4 for the flexible-time PhD DPE Program.

Note: The foregoing time limits do not apply to courses that run continuously throughout the program.

More details on the Achieving Candidacy and Maintaining Good Academic Standing are available on The School of Graduate Studies website.

 
 

COMPREHENSIVE COMPONENT
 

Overview

The purposes of the comprehensive examination are threefold:

  1. to demonstrate the student’s ability to work independently within an area of concern in the field of human development;
  2. to gain knowledge of a new area, a new technique or method in a specified area in the field of human development; and
  3. to demonstrate the ability to integrate information at the accepted standard for a PhD student.

The comprehensive will be planned during the first year of the PhD and executed in the second year for those in the full-time PhD. For those in the Flex-PhD the comprehensive will be planned in year 3 and executed in year 4.

Please can all students discuss with their academic supervisor whether they will need to go through REB for their comprehensive proposal. 

The comprehensive should represent approximately 4 months of work full time. The breakdown of this work will vary across the two internship options. The time breakdown needs to be specified in the proposal and agreed by the committee. 

Comprehensive Presentation Forum. DPE students and faculty will be invited to the comprehensive forum (held yearly in 2ndweek of April). Students who have completed their comp in the previous academic year will present their work in a 15 minute timeslot.  

Students have two options when fulfilling their PhD comprehensive requirement. Consult the Career Goals Appendix before making a decision about Option 1 or Option 2. Your career goals will guide your choice. Students targeting an academic career are advised to choose option 1: Empirical research paper.  Those targeting a career in Government, NGO or a non-profit, are advised to choose option 2: Internship + appropriate policy or practice contribution. For those targeting a research job within an applied research settingseither option 1 or option 2 will be appropriate, depending on your own expertise and the setting in which you hope to work.

https://www.oise.utoronto.ca/aphd/UserFiles/File/Appendix_Career_Goals.pdf


Option 1: Empirical Research Paper

The comprehensive requirement may be met by an empirical research paper. This should be completed  to the standard of a publishable paper. The paper MUST relate to a new area of investigation for the student and cannot be carried out in the same area as the thesis. This is because it contributes to the breadth requirement for the PhD. 

The topic and written research plan must be approved in advance by a committee of two faculty members:

  • The student will have one Supervisor for the comprehensive. This person must be a Faculty member at University of Toronto and must be different from the Thesis Supervisor. The student will work with this Faculty member to craft the comprehensive proposal. The comprehensive proposal needs to be signed by the comprehensive committee, which includes the Comprehensive Supervisor, the student’s Thesis Supervisor and the DPE Program Chair.
  • The paper submitted in fulfillment of the comprehensive requirement should be a full report, in form and length appropriate to a research journal. This should be submitted to the comp supervisor and DPE Program Chair prior to April 1 of the academic year in which the comprehensive has been carried out.
  • A presentation of the results will be given at the Comprehensive Presentation Forum in the 2ndWeek of April.  
  • The standard for passing the comprehensive is the level of research papers presented at conventions of major professional organizations (e.g. American Educational Research Association, Canadian Psychological Association, Cognitive Science Society, Scientific Studies of Reading). The Comprehensive Supervisor and the DPE Program Chair will award a pass/fail on the basis of the submitted paper and the oral presentation. If the comprehensive is not passed on the first round, it can be retaken once.
  • Actual acceptance at a conference and submission for publication in a peer-reviewed journal are strongly encouraged.

 

Format of comprehensive proposal (max of 8 single spaced pages)

  • Background to the research questions
  • Research question to be addressed
  • Design of study
  • Data to be used
  • Whether your project will need to go through research ethics board approval
  • Proposed analysis
  • Proposed journal
  • Provide an account of how this question is different from your thesis topic
  • Proposal needs to be signed by the Comprehensive Committee and given to DPE Program Liaison before the start of the comprehensive.

It is the student’s responsibility to find a supervisor for the comprehensive and get all appropriate signatures for the proposal before the comprehensive is started.  

If the Comprehensive Supervisor does not have Graduate Faculty Membership at U of T, consult with the DPE Program Chair before writing the comprehensive proposal.
 

Academic Standard

The standard for passing is the level of research papers presented at refereed conventions of major professional organizations (e.g. American Educational Research Association, Canadian Psychological Association, Cognitive Science Society, Scientific Studies of Reading). Essentially, this means that the paper should meet the quality standards of journals of these organizations.

  • Actual acceptance at a conference and submission for publication in a peer-reviewed journal are strongly encouraged.
  • In all cases, judgment of acceptability is the responsibility of the Comprehensive Supervisor and the DPE Program Chair.

The paper submitted in fulfillment of the comprehensive requirement should be a full report, in form and length appropriate to a research journal. This means, in the case of a conference presentation, that it should not be the abstract submitted as a proposal but rather the full paper that is commonly required after acceptance.

Additional Notes

It is permissible for several students to plan related studies with the intention of later combining them to make a joint publication, or for a student’s study to be similarly related to research being carried out by a faculty member. In all such cases, however, the paper submitted to fulfill the comprehensive requirement must have been completely written by the student. If there is an intention to combine the extent of work on a manuscript may be less.
 

The comprehensive study cannot be used as part of a student’s dissertation thesis.


Option 2: Internship + Appropriate Policy or Practice Contribution  

The goal of the internship is for the student to work on a theoretical or empirical problem in human development and propose an improvement. Students can work in a field-based setting.  This internship should represent approximately 4 months of work full time. The breakdown of this work will vary across settings and must be specified in the proposal and agreed by both Supervisors. The internship MUST relate to a new area of investigation for the student. This is because it contributes to the breadth requirement for the PhD. It can be carried out in a setting that is new for the student or it can be carried out in a student’s previous or current workplace (but in a novel area). 

Appropriate settings include school boards, mental health clinics, government departments, child-focused agencies dealing with social policy, community organizations prevention or intervention projects, settings with technological innovation geared to human development. Administrative, research or classrooms are all appropriate.

Other settings will be acceptable as long as the student can demonstrate the relevance of the setting to a theoretical or empirical problem in human development. Such internships must be discussed with the student’s Faculty Supervisor before being arranged.

The student will have two supervisors for the internship (1 faculty member from APHD and a senior employee from the internship setting). The student will work with both supervisors to craft and implement the proposal.  

A proposal needs to be submitted to the DPE Program Chair 1 month before the start of the internship. As the internship proceeds the goals and methods of implementation for the internship may change. Any changes to the goals or implementation of the internship plan need to be signed off by both supervisors and submitted to the DPE Program Chair as soon as this occurs.

The proposal needs to follow the structure below. (max 8, single-spaced, pages). Students should provide a rough timeline (or schedule) for the different aspects of the project:

  • Description of Internship setting

  • Question(s) to be addressed

  • Background to the question (draw on theoretical and empirical work in human development)

  • Provide a specific account of how this question is different from your thesis topic and any practical experience that you have had previously

  • Specific goals for the internship

  • Whether your project will need to go through research ethics board approval

  • Implementation of goals. Specify all your plans to meet the goals (e.g. Literature review, meta-analyses, program implementation, qualitative interviews following program implementation, etc.)

  • Describe how the achievement of goals be evaluated

  • Explain what the output of the internship. This might include a paper for presentation at a conference, an Op-Ed, a peer reviewed article for a policy or practice journal, a film posted on YouTube, a series of position papers that informs a policy brief, a manual and video for a newly developed program. This must be submitted to the comprehensive supervisor and the DPE Program Chair by April 1

  • Please be aware that your internship project may need to undergo full or delegated ethics review. You will need to discuss this with your U of T supervisor. Please consult the Ethics in Human Research website at University of Toronto. There you can download the Quality Control Assurance and Research Checklist.

  • Comprehensive Presentation Forum. DPE students and faculty will be invited to the comprehensive forum (held yearly in the 2ndweek of April). Students who have completed their comp in the previous academic year will present their work in a 15 minute timeslot and the work will be graded pass/fail by DPE faculty.  

 

Examples of Comprehensive internships + policy/practice contribution. 

Examples of internship:

  • Pilot of a remedial reading program
  • Adaptation and implementation of a new e-system for tracking development in children in schools
  • Development of a culturally-sensitive parenting program
  • Assessing fidelity in the implementation of a novel school curriculum
  • Carrying out a meta-analysis or systematic review for optimal mental health services for externalizing children
  • Development of a new tool to assess math performance in grade 4 based on EQAO findings

 

On completion of the internship

  1. The output of the internship must be presented to the comprehensive supervisor by mid-March of the academic year in which the comprehensive has been carried out. The student must submit comprehensive output/paper to the DPE Program Chair by April 1 of the academic year in which the comprehensive has been carried out. 
  1. A presentation of the results will be given at the Comprehensive Presentation Forum in the 2ndWeek of April.
  1. The standard for passing the comprehensive is that the student used developmental theory and research to make a significant contribution to the organization in which the internship was undertaken or to the field of developmental psychology and education more generally. 
  1. Students are encouraged to submit their comprehensive project to an appropriate publication outlet in consultation with the internship supervisor. 
  1. The student’s Thesis Supervisor and the DPE Program Chair will award a pass/fail on the basis of the submitted output and the oral presentation. Upon successful completion of the comprehensive, the Thesis Supervisor will complete the Office of the Registrar and Student Service Comprehensive Completion Form and submit to Program Administrator for processing. 
     

Quicklinks:

 

 

THESIS
 

The PhD Oral Examination Nomination Form and timetables are available from the Registrar’s Office. The specific procedures for establishing a final oral examination are quite detailed. Planning for the final oral exam must be undertaken at least two months in advance of the actual examination.

When preparing a thesis, a student works in consultation with his/her thesis supervisor until a committee is formed and, after that, with his/her thesis committee.


Process

1. Review of OISE/UT Guidelines for Theses and Orals
 

2. Establishment of a thesis topic
 

3. Selection of a thesis supervisor (normally the student’s Faculty Advisor)
 

4. Formation of a thesis committee (form to be completed)

  • The thesis supervisor must hold a Full appointment to the School of Graduate Studies
  • The other two committee members must hold at least Associate appointments
  • At least one member must be from APHD
     

5. Ethical review, if required (forms to be completed)
 

6. Thesis proposal approval (form to be completed)
 

7. Thesis work
 

8. Final thesis approval and submission (form to be completed)

 

The student and the thesis committee members must complete a thesis approval form and an ethical review approval before any data collection commences.

 

Evaluation

  • PhD program theses are evaluated at an oral examination by the students’ thesis committee, which includes the student’s supervisor, plus a minimum of two faculty members, both holding either Full or Associate School of Graduate Studies appointments. At least one thesis committee member must be from APHD.
     
  • Once a student’s thesis is in its final form and has been approved by the thesis committee, the final oral examination is scheduled
    • A student defends his/her thesis at an examination conducted by a Final Oral Examination Committee.
       
    • It is this exam that will determine whether or not a student may be recommended for his/her degree.
       
    • PhD Oral Examination Nomination Form and timetables are available from the Registrar’s Office