Doctor of Education in Child Study & Education

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Doctor of Education in Child Study & Education

Doctor of Education in Child Study & Education Overview

Become a leader in child study and empower change in education

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.

For detailed information about this program, please consult the School of Graduate Studies Calendar or the School of Graduate Studies Program Overview.

The next intake for this program will be Fall 2025.

At a Glance

Study Requirements 
Full-time (4 years)

Funding and Tuition
For current information about tuition fees, funding, and financial support, visit Tuition & Financial Support.  

The next intake for this program will be Fall 2025. Applications to the EdD CSE for the 2025-2026 admissions cycle are set to open early October 2024.


Ready to join one of the world’s top universities? Take the next step in your academic journey and start your application to graduate studies at OISE.

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Why I Chose Applied Psychology & Human Development

Nivatha Moothathamby
Nivatha Moothathamby (Master of Arts 2021)

PhD student in Developmental Psychology and Education

"My journey at OISE has been filled with establishing positive and supportive relationships, learning the nuances of psychology and education, and understanding my role as a scholar and an activist. As a Tamil-Canadian, I come from a community that has faced racial injustices and intergenerational trauma. The Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development has provided me with academic resources and a community to explore and expand on these parts of my identity. Overall, OISE’s deep commitment to inclusion, diversity and equity is what drew me to apply. I found my place here."

The Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study is a Hub for Excellence in Education

The program's location at the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study (JICS) and its onsite laboratory school will allow APHD students to learn and research child development with school community members.

Doctor of Education in Child Study & Education Admission Requirements

General Admission Requirements

Please visit the OISE Admissions website for detailed information about the application process, including general minimum admission requirements and supporting documents. 

Program-Specific Information (Minimum Admission Requirements)

  • Applicants are admitted under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. Please note that applicants will be accepted into this degree program every other year.
  • A master’s degree: an MA or MEd degree in Education (for example, Master of Arts in Child Study and Education, Master of Education degree, Master of Teaching degree) with high academic standing (equivalent to a B+ or better) from a recognized university. 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.
  • Work experience. Normally a minimum of 3 years of current or recent work experience in an education-related field within a school or community setting. They should be able to identify how their work environment would be able to support and facilitate their research related to their problem of practice, which is a major outcome of this degree.

Required Supporting Documents

All applicants must submit: 

  • Transcript(s) from each post-secondary institution attended
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  • Letter of intent
  • Two letters of reference (one academic and one professional) including contact emails.
  • Applicants are asked to answer questions explaining their experiences and how they relate to the program during the application submission process.

Additional Program Information

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.

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

Students must complete a minimum of 4.0 full-course equivalents (FCEs) as follows:

Year 1

  • Fall - APD3301H Issues in Child Study and Education: Research, Policy, and Problems of Practice (RM) (0.5 FCE).
  • Winter - APD3302H Advanced Study of Critical Issues in Special Education, Mental Health, and Child Security (0.5 FCE).
  • Summer - APD3303H Advanced Study of Tools and Research Methods for Investigating Problems of Practice: Data-Driven Research for Decision-Making (0.5 FCE).

Year 2

  • Fall - APD3304H Research Proposal Development (RM) (0.5 FCE).
  • Winter - Research Methods Course (0.5 FCE)
  • Summer - Two half courses (1.0 FCE) from one of the three emphases: 1) Early Learning and Early Years; 2) Mental Health and Wellbeing; or 3) Special Education. See details on each emphasis below.

Year 3

  • Fall - Thesis (Dissertation in Practice)
  • Winter - APD3305H Systems and Organizational Change (0.5 FCE).
  • Summer - Thesis (Dissertation in Practice)

Year 4

  • Thesis (Dissertation in Practice)

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)​

Students will have successfully reached candidacy once their thesis committee is formed and formal approval of the thesis proposal has been given by the committee.

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.

Students cannot transfer between the EdD and PhD programs.

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.


Emphasis in Early Years and Early Learning


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)


Emphases in Special Education


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)


Emphasis in Mental Health and Wellbeing


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)

What is a Qualifying Research Paper (QRP)?
In addition to the standard application process, students who completed a master’s degree that did not require a thesis must submit a Qualifying Research Paper (QRP). 

  • 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.

What questions will be asked during the application process?
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.​

Do I need a faculty advisor?
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.

Must my focus be on early learners?
It’s okay to focus on high school or post-secondary students. Child Study actually includes the full life span.

Where do I learn more about tuition and fees?
Tuition & Financial Support Information. You can opt out of certain fees using Acorn, which is a system used by students to pay tuition, enrol 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.

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

Program Chair: Dr. Richard Volpe

Program Faculty: Dr. Yiola Cleovoulou, Dr. Julie Comay, Dr. Lisa Dack, Dr. Laurie Faith, Dr. Patricia Ganea, Dr. Zack Hawes, Dr. Steven Katz, Dr. Rhonda Martinussen, Dr. Angela Pyle, Dr. Richard Volpe

Ready to join one of the world’s top universities?

Take the next step in your academic journey and start your application to graduate studies at OISE.