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Doctor of Philosophy in Developmental Psychology & Education

studying with view of city

Program Length 4 years  full-time (6 years for flexible-time) Career Path research, university teaching, and other applied careers Program Requirements 4 half-courses, comprehensive exam, thesis Program Highlight all seminar-based courses Scheduling Options and Mode of Delivery Flex-time option available

The Developmental Psychology & Education (DPE) Program is for those who wish to construct an overall perspective on developmental psychology and human development and their implications for practice with children in educational and other applied settings. 

The PhD degree program emphasizes theory and research in the area of developmental psychology and education throughout the life span. It is designed for students who wish to pursue careers in university or community college teaching, and careers that require advanced skills in research and evaluation. 

Program Details

The Developmental Psychology and Education (DPE) program offers both a full-time (4-year) and a flexible-time (6-year) PhD program. Both full-time and flexible-time program options are available for the 2019-2020 academic year.

Flex-Time PhD
DPE admits flexible-time PhD students on a regular basis. The flexible-time PhD program is designed for practicing professionals who with to pursue a PhD degree in areas related to their fields of research. This is a 6-year program. 

In addition, approximately every three years we admit an Early Learning emphasis Flex PhD Cohort. Admission to the Early Learning Flex PhD Emphasis is not open for the 2019-20 academic year.


All OISE graduate studies programs operate under the umbrella of the University of Toronto School of Graduate Studies (SGS). 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.


Early Learning Emphasis Flex-PhD

**Please note, the Early Learning Flex PhD Cohort is not open for 2019-20 academic year.


Approximately every three years, the Developmental Psychology and Education Program (DPE) offers a customized Flextime PhD emphasis for delivery to professionals working in the area of early learning. 

The Emphasis is an option for all PhD students. Note that full-time PhD students interested in the early learning emphasis should consult with the Graduate Coordinator.

Students who complete the emphasis requirements will receive a letter of completion from the department. 


Program Highlights

  • Structured to permit full-time studies with flexibility for students who are also working professionals
  • Intellectual and social connections among a diverse and stimulating group of professional student colleagues and with faculty
  • Meaningful peer learning through
    • customized tailored Early Learning Cohort seminar courses
    • continuing opportunities for cohort meetings to discuss research and developing thesis work
  • Collective expertise of the student cohort is a major source of learning for both students and faculty in the program
  • Courses offered in both face-to-face and online formats
  • Program arrangements and course content are tailored to meet the special interests, talents and demanding lives of the cohort students

Admission Requirements

Minimum admission requirements for this program are:

  • An appropriate bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in Developmental Psychology and Education, Cognitive Psychology, Applied Developmental Psychology or Child Study or equivalent with standing equivalent to a University of Toronto A- or better in the Master’s degree
    • More information available on the SGS Calendar
    • Students who have not done a master's thesis will be required to submit a Qualifying Research Paper prior to final admission to the degree program. 
  • Required letters of recommendation and a second academic letter of recommendation.
  • Applicants to the flexible-time PhD option must be practicing professionals.

How to Apply

Applications for the 2019-2020 academic year are now closed for the PhD program

Applications are open for the Flex-PhD program.


The academic school year for both the PhD and Flex-PhD begins in September 2019. 


**Please note, the Early Learning Flex PhD Cohort is not open for admissions for the 2019-20 academic year.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) for Applicants

Application Instructions

The OISE Registrar’s Office includes step-by-step instructions:

  • choosing your program
  • reviewing admission requirements
  • preparing your application
  • submitting required supporting documents.

Applications are completed online through the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) websiteYou are also able to view your application status from there.

Submit your application

Faculty Supervisors

See a list of which faculty are accepting students

Who's Accepting?


PhD DPE Application Checklist

1) In addition to the required letters of recommendation (1 academic and 1 professional), applicants are requested to submit a second academic letter of recommendation.

2) Flex-time PhD students are accepted under the same admission requirements as applicants to the full-time PhD option.

3) In addition to the standard application process, students applying to the flex PhD-DPE must include in their statement of intent that they:

  • are currently in a career related to the proposed field of study
  • have a desire to continue with their current career
  • have the capacity to secure blocks of time to enable concentrated study (e.g., through the employer’s leave policy or study incentive system). 


Collaborative Specializations (Optional)

Collaborative Specializations provide students with a the opportunity to explore a novel interdisciplinary area or special development that crosses a number of disciplines. 

Collaborative specializations are available with the PhD in Developmental Psychology & Education with the following programs:

Educational Policy 

  • For students interested in the factors associated with educational policy development and implementation, particularly focusing on developing strategies for improving educational processes


  • For graduate students and doctoral fellows who would like to increase their versatility for career development through the scientific study of the nervous system.

Program Fees

Tuition information can be found via the University of Toronto's Office of the Provost.

Fees for Domestic Students

Fees for International Students



Contact the PhD-DPE program liaison, Diana Robinson, at diana.robinson@utoronto.ca

Question about the Flex PhD-DPE cohort can be directed to Jennifer Cho at jennifer.cho@utoronto.ca