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Doctor of Education in Child Study and Education

educator on a laptop in a classroom setting

Program Length 4 years  full-time Career Path

For future leaders in child study areas 

Program Requirements

8 half-courses (4.0 FCE), plus
Thesis (Dissertation in Practice)

Program Highlight All seminar based courses Scheduling Options and Mode of Delivery Online, flex and on-site courses
The EdD in Child Study and Education is a cohort based program designed for professionals working in education or related fields looking to enrich their practice and advance their careers. This program offers students the opportunity to extend and expand their knowledge and expertise in two major and interrelated domains: (1) Special Education (e.g., policy, perspectives, contexts and pedagogy); and (2) Security, Child and Youth Wellbeing (child and teacher mental health, resilience, learning environments, prevention and intervention and equity). Through applying a child study lens to the study of these domains, students will be empowered to become change agents in education and bring about systematic change in organizations and communities.

The Doctor of Education (EdD) program is only available on a full-time basis.

Program Chair: Rhonda Martinussen

Core Faculty:  
Anne Claude BedardJody ChongYiola Cleovoulou,  Eunice Jang Steven KatzClare Kosnik, Rhonda MartinussenAngela PyleRichard Volpe

Program Length: 
4 years full-time (program can be completed in under four years)

Time Limit:
6 years full-time

NOTE: This program is not funded.

Program Highlights

  • Cohort model: Students move through the program together as a cohort. This provides students with a supportive peer learning environment and enhanced networking opportunities.

  • Blended delivery mode: With the combination in-class, online and flexible courses (combination of online and in-person), working professionals will be able to work and study at the same time.

  • Nursery to grade 6 laboratory school: The program’s location at OISE's Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study and its onsite laboratory school, will allow students to engage in learning and research about child development with members of the school community.

  • Thesis (Dissertation in Practice): This culminating component of the program differs from a traditional doctoral thesis in that it focuses on identifying solutions to problems of practice drawing on theory, research and practitioner knowledge. Students will be required to frame the problem of practice, investigate it using multiple data sources including existing research and policy and create a proposed plan for action to address the problem of practice.

  • Areas of emphases: In the second year of the program, students will complete two half-courses in one of three emphasis: 1) ​Early Years and Early Learning, 2) Special Education; and 3) Mental Health and Wellbeing.

Program Overview

Two Key Streams

1. Special education (e.g., policy, perspectives, contexts, pedagogy)

2. Security, child and youth wellbeing (child and teacher mental health, resilience, learning environments, early years, equity)
*Will choose electives as area of emphasis to support dissertation of practice – recorded on transcripts.

You may be a good fit for this program if:

  • You want to earn a doctorate degree
  • You are interested in pursuing a leadership position (Ex. – principal, director, college & university lecturer, consultant, developer of policy or curriculum)
  • You are looking to gain expertise in your field
  • You wish to solve a problem of practice in your field
  • You have at least three years of work experience

How is the EdD different from a PhD?

  • Just as academically rigorous as a PhD
  • The EdD is less theoretical and more applied – meant to address problems of practice 
  • Set do-able goals that can be accomplished while you are working
  • Designed to move working professionals efficiently through doctoral degree while you are working – guide you through the research process
  • Aim is to build knowledge and skills in a particular area

Program Requirements


Year 1



Summer (May to Aug)


Issues in Child Study and Education: Research and Professional Inquiry

APD 3302H

Advanced Study of Critical Issues in Special Education, Mental Health and Security


Advanced Study of Tools and Research Methods for Investigating Problems of Practice: Data-Driven Research for Decision-Making

Year 2





Research Proposal Development

Research Methods course selection from list

Elective – select from list

Elective – select from list

Year 3



Summer (May to Aug)

Thesis (Dissertation in Practice)


Systems and Organizational Change

Thesis (Dissertation in Practice)

Year 4  



Summer (May to Aug)

Thesis (Dissertation in Practice)

*Please note that course timing may shift as we organize this new program.
*Summer half courses run from May to June or July to August


After students complete: APD3302H Advanced Study of Critical Issues in Special Education, Mental Health and Security, students will then be able to select an area of Emphasis that complements their identified problem of practice: 

  • Early Learning and Early Years: (eg. social emotional wellbeing in the early years)

  • Special Education: (eg. supporting advocacy and self-determination in adolescents with neurodevelopmental disorders)

  • Mental Health and Wellbeing: (eg. tracking the connection between physical activity and wellbeing in adolescents)​


Thesis (Dissertation in Practice)

The thesis (Dissertation in Practice) shall include an identification and investigation of a problem of practice, the application of theory and research to problems of practice and/or policy and a design for implementation of ideas arising. Specifically, the thesis (Dissertation in Practice) consists of original research in the form of a written proposal or plan for innovative and impactful educational policy, guideline, advocacy, development project, or activism within an education related field, aimed at improving practice at local, regional, national, or international levels.

Students are required to maintain continuous full-time registration and pay full-time fees until all degree requirements, including the thesis (Dissertation in Practice), are completed.


Program Structure

1. Coursework: Students must complete 8-half courses (4.0 full-course equivalents-FCEs). Please refer to the Program Structure tab for more information.

  • Program is 3 or 4 years in length (normally 4 but can be completed in 3 years)

  • One half course per term (including spring/summer):

    • In-person in year-1 (subject to change due to COVID-19)

    • Then flex or online

Flex = synchronous (can attend class in person or online at the time lecture is happening)

Online = asynchronous (attend online at no particular time)

  • Year 1 fall and winter: Foundation courses

  • Spring/Summer and Year 2: Guided through research methods and proposal in courses plus 2 half course electives (focus on one of three areas of emphasis – spec ed, early childhood, well-being)

  • Year 3 and 4: Development of dissertation in practice – applied (not theoretical) and course to help with applying to practice

2. Structure of Dissertation of Practice:

  • Coherent topic highlighting a challenge in educational practice
  • Research proposal – situate prob of practice in the specific context of the field
  • Agree upon focus with committee
  • Ethics submission
  • Dissertation of practice paper
    • Literature review and/or policy analysis related to challenge
    • Methods section (methodology) - investigation of challenge and possibly solutions
    • Results
    • Extension of results (how applies to your practice)

Areas of Emphases

Students will choose an area of emphasis to gain a deeper understanding and expertise within their stream: 1) Special Education or 2) Security, Child and Youth Wellbeing.

Students are required to complete two elective half-courses in one of three areas of emphasis:1) Early Years and Early Learning or 2) Special Education; and 3) Mental Health and Wellbeing.

*Elective offerings are subject to change each year.



Psychological Foundations of Early Development and Education (0.5 FCE)


Development and Learning (0.5 FCE)


Social-Emotional Development and Applications (0.5 FCE)


Family Relationships with Early Childhood Services and Schools (0.5 FCE)


Children's Theory of Mind (0.5 FCE)


Play and Education (0.5 FCE)


Symbolic Development and Learning (0.5 FCE)


Foundations of Literacy Development for School Age Children (0.5 FCE)


Language Acquisition and Development in Early Childhood (0.5 FCE)


Research Early Learning: An Overview of Quantitative and Qualitative Methodology (0.5 FCE)


Early Learning Practice, Research & Policy (0.5 FCE)



Biological and Psychological Foundations of Low Incidence Disorders (0.5 FCE)         


Perspectives on Executive Functions in Education: From Theory to Practice (0.5 FCE)


Psychology and Education of Children and Adolescents with Behaviour Disorders (0.5 FCE)


Psychology and Education of Children and Adolescents with Learning Disabilities (0.5 FCE)


Assessing School-Aged Language Learners (0.5 FCE)


Technology for Adaptive Instruction and Special Education (0.5 FCE)


Reading and Writing Difficulties (0.5 FCE)



Child Abuse: Intervention and Prevention (0.5 FCE)


Preventative Interventions for Children at Risk (0.5 FCE)


Adolescent Mental Health: An Examination of Risk and Resilience (0.5 FCE)


Mental Health in the Classroom: How Educators Can Help Our Most Vulnerable Students (0.5 FCE)


Cross-cultural Perspectives on Children's Problems (0.5 FCE)


Developmental Trajectories and High Risk Environments (0.5 FCE)


Assessment and Intervention with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Children, 
Youth and Families 
(0.5 FCE)


Developmental Psychopathology (0.5 FCE)



Admission Requirements

Applicants must satisfy the admission requirements of the School of Graduate Studies as well as the following admission requirements of the Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development.

We encourage equity-seeking groups to identify themselves in their application.

Items to Submit when Applying:

  1. CV
  2. Transcripts (undergraduate and graduate level)
  3. Letter of Reference from Employer
  4. Academic Letter of Reference from a professor
  5. Writing sample (MRP, QRP, Master’s level paper, something you’ve written to contribute to a board, a policy document, an article you’ve written, etc.) 
  6. Faculty Questions

Master's Degree

  • MA in Child Study & Education/Master of Teaching degree OR  MEd degree in Education OR Master of Arts degree in education or psychology
  • MEd or other non-thesis master’s degree – Application components must provide evidence of your ability to identify a research question or problem, to design and conduct a research study and to report the findings in a rigorous manner.
  • Applicants with master’s degrees in other disciplines may be eligible to apply for admission, but may have to complete additional courses in Developmental Psychology and/or Child Study.
  • High academic standing (equivalent to a B+ or better) from a recognized university.​

Work Experience

  • Normally applicants will have in-depth work experience (minimum of 3 years of current/recent work experience) in an education related field within a school or community setting.
  • Identify how work environment will be able to support and facilitate research related to your problem of practice, which is a major outcome of this degree

Letter of Reference from Employer

The overall aim of the letter from the employer is to verify that they support your goals and believe in your ability to conduct applied research within the school or community setting. They can comment on things like:

  • Interpersonal skills
  • Professionalism and work ethic
  • Organization, problem-solving, and planning
  • Ability to adapt to changing circumstances and response to stress
  • Ability to take direction and feedback
  • Curiosity, leadership, creativity


Academic Letter of Reference

Providing a letter from a former professor or instructor is the strongest way to represent your academic abilities.

You can remind the instructor of your capabilities by providing transcripts, a past essay or assignment or a list of academic awards and achievements. If it’s just not possible to have a professor or instructor write the letter, perhaps a supervisor/employer could provide the reference. It is appropriate for the professor or employer to comment on academically focused characteristics such as:

  • General impressions of your ability to collaborate with others
  • Oral and written language proficiency
  • Problem solving ability, creativity
  • Organizational skills
  • Research ability
  • Technical expertise
  • Research software knowledge
  • Any other academic assets you would bring to our program

Qualifying Research Paper (QRP) Requirement for those with non-thesis Master's Degree

  • Can take many forms
  • Looking for evidence of scholarship
  • Demonstrate that you can identify a research question or problem, to design and conduct a research study or project, and to report the findings or results, all in a rigorous manner.
  • Provide a writing sample that highlights your ability to write clearly and analytically about issues in education and/or child study
  • Can be a qualifying research paper, a great Master’s level paper, something you’ve written to contribute to a board, a policy document, an article you’ve written, etc.

Faculty Questions


  • Please clearly outline your program intentions. You should include the following: highlight your research interests; describe your professional experiences and how these relate to your research interests and proposed problem of practice; state the problem of practice you have in mind/what it is you want to study; what focus do you have in mind; what do you want to improve; what do you need to know to take action; what do you want to think more deeply about; what skills do you want to develop?
  • How will your work environment be able to support and facilitate research related to your problem of practice.​

How to Apply

The next start date for this program is September 2022.

Applications for Fall 2022 are now open.

Apply Now
Application Details

The academic school year for this program begins only in September. 

We encourage equity-seeking groups to identify themselves in their application.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) for Applicants

Program Specific FAQ



  • It’s not necessary to connect with a faculty member. You may, however, wish to consider who could act as your supervisor in the field. This person would mentor you and attend occasional meetings to provide a field perspective. You may wish to ask your reference if they would be willing to take on this role.

  • It’s okay to focus on high school or post-secondary students. Child Study actually includes the full life span.

  • Tuition and Financial Support Information (click Tuition and Fees tab for chart)

  • You can opt out of certain fees using Acorn, which is a system used by students to pay tuition, enroll in courses, etc. Acorn provides a breakdown of fees.

  • What if I am not currently working?
    This is not ideal, but is okay as long as you have at least 3 years of work in your field to draw upon and will be able to apply a problem of practice.

  • How do I submit transcripts during Covid-19?
    The Office of the Registrar and Student Services (ORSS) is still accepting hard-copy official transcripts. Processing is significantly delayed, but this won’t negatively impact your application.

    Graduate Admissions Unit
    8th Floor, 252 Bloor St. West

    Toronto, ON M5S 1V6

    The ORSS can also accept secured/encrypted CONFERRED e-transcripts if your university can provide them directly with a passcode. E-transcripts can be sent to

Contact Us

Program Inquiries: 
APHD Department 
General Inquiries

ORSS Contact:
Anil Purandaré
Doctoral Registration Specialist (EdD & PhD)

If you are a current student, you may contact the program coordinator below, otherwise please email us at for your program inquiries.

Program Coordinator: 

Program Chair: 
Dr. Rhonda