Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum & Pedagogy

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Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum & Pedagogy

Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum & Pedagogy Overview

The Curriculum & Pedagogy Program (C&P) is a forum for systematic reflection on curriculum, viewed in the broadest sense as educational experiences that occur in both formal and informal settings.  This includes a critical examination of the substance (subject matter, courses, programs of study), purposes, and practices used for bringing about learning in educational settings.

The PhD in Curriculum & Pedagogy program offers the degree both full-time and flexible-time.  Full-time PhD students have a maximum time of six years to complete their degree (although most complete in 4 years), while flexible-time PhD students have a maximum time to complete their degree within eight years (most complete well before then as well). Students in both cases are required to complete:

  • 3.5 full-course equivalents (FCEs, or 7 half-courses)
  • A comprehensive examination - Download the comprehensive exam guideline
  • A thesis embodying the results of an original investigation 
  • A final oral examination on the content and implications of the thesis


Curriculum & Pedagogy Program Emphases

The Curriculum & Pedagogy program (C&P) offers the following six optional program Emphases to all students admitted to the program:

Students interested in completing a C&P Emphasis must take 3 courses from a list of courses affiliated with the Emphasis. Students who successfully complete Emphasis coursework as part of their C&P degree requirements may request a notation of the Emphasis on their transcript.

For detailed information about the program, please consult the School of Graduate Studies Calendar.

At a Glance

Study Options
Full-time (6 years - maximum)
Flexible-time (8 years - maximum)
Requires: 7 half courses, comprehensive examination, thesis

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

Applications to the Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum & Pedagogy for the 2024-2025 admissions cycle is open

To view updated program deadlines, visit the OISE application deadlines and closing dates page.

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Have a question about admissions requirements?  Drop-in (online) and speak to program staff. 

Every Wednesday from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. (EST) 

Why I Chose Curriculum, Teaching & Learning

Themis Aravossitas
Themis Aravossitas (Master of Arts 2010, Doctor of Philosophy 2016)

Curriculum & Pedagogy

"I was admitted into the Master of Education program… an internationally educated teacher who needed to gain experience in the Canadian context. CTL's faculty, staff and fellow students gave me a sense of belonging within an inclusive and supportive academic community. I worked with and got inspired by world class scholars, and participated in the organization of conferences and symposia, book publications, grant submissions and educational collaboration involving new technologies. Through OISE and particularly CTL, I built a professional network and became confident about my studies and potential career."

Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum & Pedagogy 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)

Minimum admission requirements for this program are:

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



Required Supporting Documents

All applicants must submit: 

  • Online Application
  • Transcript(s) from each post-secondary institution attended
  • Two letters of reference from two separate people (one academic and one professional)
  • A résumé that provides clear and complete information about the applicant's work or field experience related to their proposed studies
  • Completion of program application questions (called "Faculty Questions: CTL")
    1. In 1,000-1,500 words, describe why you wish to undertake a research-oriented program of study. Discuss your academic interests, experience and professional concerns.
    2. Please review the CTL faculty research information. If you identify Curriculum & Pedagogy faculty members whose research interests align with yours, you will be asked to list only their first and last names.
    3. Based on your described program of study, list 3-5 keywords to let us know what are your research interests.
    4. If you are interested in a Program Emphasis, you will be asked to indicate them.
    5. If you will have funding from your home government, international organization or funding agencies, you will be asked to provide details (Name of funding agency, value and duration). If this does not apply, this section will remain blank.
    6. Is there any additional information you would like to share with the Admissions Committee that will inform their review of your application?
  • An academic writing sample
  • View FAQ for other important application notes.

Additional Degree Information

We are looking for applicants who have a sound academic background and a deep interest in education. The degree is designed to provide opportunities for advanced study, original research, and theoretical analysis. 

Applicants should have demonstrated commitment to education prior to applying. Please note, the C&P program is not a teacher certification program. For more information on our teacher certification programs please visit: OISE Teacher Education Degrees.

The C&P program offers both a full-time and a flexible-time PhD program option. Full-time PhD students must complete their degree within six years, while flexible-time PhD students must complete their degree within eight years. Degree requirements for both programs are the same. The program details are as follows:

  • The C&P Ph.D. degree normally requires seven completed courses, a completed Comprehensives exam and a Doctoral thesis. Additional courses may be required of some candidates.
  • Students are required to successfully complete CTL1000H (Foundations of Curriculum) and a course in research methods from the Curriculum & Pedagogy Approved Research Methods course list.
  • Ph.D. students are required to complete CTL1899H, the doctoral proseminar course.
  • At least five of the courses must be Curriculum & Pedagogy courses. C&P courses are identified with CTL1000-level course codes (i.e CTL1000H to CTL1999H) and Special Topics courses in C&P are identified as CTL5000H to CTL5299H (Masters Level) and CTL6000H to CTL6299H (Doctoral Level).
  • The remaining 2 courses can be electives
  • Non-C&P courses (if you choose to take them) can include Masters or Doctoral level courses from the Languages and Literacies Education program or from any other OISE department: Social Justice EducationApplied Psychology & Human Development, and Leadership, Higher, and Adult Education.

Note: For the flexible-time PhD program option, a minimum residency of four years of full-time registration is required at the beginning of the program. Candidates may apply for part-time status after this four year-residency.

The Doctor of Philosophy program can be taken on a full-time or flex-time basis. Full-time Ph.D. students must complete their degree within six years. Flexible-time Ph.D. students must complete their degree within eight years. Degree requirements for both programs are the same. Doctoral students usually take two or three courses per session. A typical course involves 12 classes. During the fall and winter session, a class will meet once each week. The summer session has a first term (May to June) and a second term (July to August), during which time if you choose to take courses, classes meet twice a week for six weeks per term.

Classes are normally scheduled for the early evening (e.g., 5pm to 8pm) or the early afternoon (e.g., 1pm to 4pm), Monday through Thursday. We also offer a large selection of online courses, which allow you to participate from home.

Thesis-track students routinely meet with their supervisor and thesis committee to discuss their progress in the program. Once a year, this progress is documented in an annual review meeting. 

At this meeting, students report on their progress, and their committee provides guidance, advice, and recommendations. The committee also determines whether the student's progress is satisfactory or requiring additional support. 

Students are required to bring the annual review form with pages 1-2 completed, to the annual review meeting. Supervisors will complete relevant sections of the form, documenting what was discussed at the meeting, and evaluating progress.

Both the student and the thesis supervisor must sign the form. The signed form must be submitted to CTL Student Forms at (Along with your email subject, including your name, degree, program in the subject header is much appreciated).

Given the diverse academic and research interests of our faculty, the program is organized into seven constituent but optional program Emphases.

The Curriculum & Pedagogy program offers the following six program Emphases:

Students in the C&P program interested in a C&P Emphasis are required to take 3 courses from a list of courses affiliated with the Emphasis. Students who successfully complete Emphasis coursework as part of their C&P degree requirements may contact a department administrator, prior to graduation, to request a notation of the Emphasis on their transcript.

Interested in interdisciplinary study?

UofT offers collaborative specializations which involve the cooperation of two or more graduate units (i.e Departments, programs, or centres). Students admitted to C&P have the opportunity to discover the research possibilities available with the following collaborative programs: 

Full-time doctoral students (but not Flex-time doctoral students) receive a graduate funding package equal to the cost of academic tuition and fees, plus support as a Graduate Assistant or Teaching Assistant, in each of the first four years of their program. Some limited funding may also be available in year 5. The average time to completion is 5.70 years. 

There are admission awards available for International applicants who are applying to doctoral programs. Visit the SGS International Awards web page for more details. 

International applicants are students who are neither a Canadian citizen nor a permanent resident of Canada.  Admission to the PhD full-time funded program is highly competitive. We recommend that applicants make contact with a faculty member whose research interests coincide with their own, before applying to the program. For more on international student admissions please review International Applicants on the OISE Registrar's office website.

At this time, the Department of Curriculum, Teaching & Learning admits one (1) funded international applicant to its full-time Ph.D. programs each year - alternate years for the Language & Literacies Education (LLE) program and the Curriculum & Pedagogy (C&P) program. In doing so, C&P will admit one international student in odd years (i.e. 2021, 2023, etc.) and LLE will admit one international Ph.D. student in even years (i.e. 2022, 2024, etc.).

In any given year, the Department may also consider applications to either program from international applicants where home governments, international organizations or funding agencies can provide them with funding. The funding must minimally have the value and duration of the graduate funding package that is offered and should be indicated on the application. Please review the Graduate Funding Package website

The following is the result of a question and answer (Q&A) discussion which took place following a C&P Open House presentation.

Can i switch from the full-time option to the flexible-time option for this program?
No, students may not transfer from the full-time to the flexible-time PhD or vice versa.

How do students find a thesis supervisor?
At the point of admission successful applicants to the C&P PhD are assigned a Faculty Advisor whom you can speak with if you have questions regarding program requirements, course selection etc. Your Faculty Advisor will often become your Thesis Supervisor, however if you find that your academic interests necessitate that you work with a different faculty member as thesis supervisor, your faculty advisor will help you to find an appropriate faculty member to take on that role.

If unable to provide an academic reference, would two professional ones work instead? 
While a minimum of two letters of reference – one academic and one professional – should be included in your application, sometimes applicants experience difficulty obtaining a letter of reference. For example, if you graduated many years ago and have since not been active in an academic setting you may be unable to call upon a university instructor with whom you studied. You're strongly encouraged to obtain one academic and one professional letter of reference, but you may submit an alternative combination such as two reference letters from a professional source. Tip: for two professional letters direct the most suitable referee to include comments pertaining to your intellectual abilities and potential. 

What is an Academic Writing Sample?
A typical sample is about 5,000 words (for example, an excerpt from a master's thesis).  Acceptable formats are MA Word (.docx) and PDF (.pdf) files.

Criteria for the writing sample:

  • It must be single-authored
  • It must demonstrate quality writing - i.e., logical, clear and well-written
  • It must be academically rigorous
  • It must be a theoretical or empirical study
  • It must demonstrate the ability to analyze and synthesize concepts, ideads and/or data
  • It must contact a solid bibliography

The following samples are acceptable:

  • Master's thesis
  • Major paper
  • Refereed article
  • Refereed conference paper
  • Conference proceedings publication
  • Book chapter
  • Research paper

What are collaborative specializations?
Collaborative Specialization programs are created by participating graduate units to explore a novel interdisciplinary area or special development that crosses a number of disciplines.  If you are admitted into a graduate program that participates in a collaborative specialization; many of which are actually University of Toronto wide specializations to which CTL is very closely connected; you can apply to a collaborative specialization, but you need to apply to them directly.  If you review our website, and websites of affiliated collaborative specializations, you’ll see C&P participates in a number of collaborative specializations. 

I have a question about language proficiency.  I’ve been working as an occasional teacher for four years here, but finished education outside of Canada.  Do I still need to prove language proficiency?
As English is the primary language of instruction and communication at the University of Toronto, applicants must demonstrate an adequate level of proficiency in English, regardless of their citizenship status or country of origin. It is important that these students follow School of Graduate Studies (SGS) policies on English Language Proficiency (ELP) testing requirements and take one of the required tests for admission to a graduate program.  Applicants from universities outside Canada where English is not the primary language of instruction must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application. Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of their application.

The determination of whether an English language proficiency test is required is determined by the admissions division of the OISE Registrar's Office & Student Experience, but only after the application has been submitted.  Visit the SGS webpage on English language proficiency for more information.

What happens after I submit my applications?
Once you've completed your application, understand what happens next by visiting After Submitting Your Application

I was offered admission, what are my next steps?
Applicants who receive an official "Offer of Admission" result letter can view the Newly Admitted Students webpage for information on next steps.

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.