Doctor of Philosophy in Adult Education & Community Development

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Doctor of Philosophy in Adult Education & Community Development

Doctor of Philosophy in Adult Education & Community Development Overview

Are you interested in bringing about positive social change where you live or work? Do you want to teach from a cutting-edge perspective and become a leading critical scholar? Consider applying for this program.

The PhD in Adult Education & Community Development (AECD) program focuses on learning that happens individually and collectively among adults in communities, workplaces, social movements, the street, and the virtual world—any place where people come together to create social change.

The PhD degree program is designed to provide opportunities for advanced study in the theoretical foundations of adult education and community development and in the application of such knowledge to practice. Except for the time to completion, requirements for both the full-time and flexible-time programs are the same. 

We welcome applicants with diverse but relevant backgrounds. Indigenous, Marxist, feminist, anti-racist, environmentalist, anarchist, arts-based, anti-psychiatry and other critical perspectives are welcome.

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)

Program Requirements
Coursework
Comprehensive Requirement
Thesis

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

Deadlines
Applications for the 2023-2024 admissions cycle are set to open early October 2022.

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Why I Chose Leadership, Adult & Higher Education

Denise Dwyer
Denise Dwyer (Master of Education 2013)

Assistant Deputy Minister, Indigenous Education and Wellbeing Division, Ministry of Education

"I decided to get my Masters in Adult Education at OISE because of the teaching and learning component. The program opened my mind to a different way of thinking. It gave me a very rounded perspective and a new approach to issues that I had not been trained in as a lawyer. I became a nimbler thinker, and that really prepared me for my role at the Ministry of Education. Above all, I learned that education really is social justice work."

Doctor of Philosophy in Adult Education & Community Development 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:

  • An appropriate master's degree from a recognized university in a relevant discipline or professional program, with a minimum standing equivalent to a University of Toronto B+.
  • Applicants to the flexible-time option should be active professionals who demonstrate connections between their professional work and their proposed course program, and/or between their professional work and their proposed research. Capacity to secure blocks of time to enable concentrated study is required.
  • Applications are assessed based on four criteria: strength of admission documents;  grades; work, community or volunteer experience; and fit with the program offerings.

 


 
Required Supporting Documents

All applicants must submit: 

  • Transcript(s) from each post-secondary institution attended.
  • Two letters of reference (one academic and one professional).
  • Résumé which provides clear and complete information about the applicant's work or field experience related to their proposed studies.
  • Answers to faculty admissions questions (applicants are to answer each question in an essay format).
  • Sample of written work.

Additional Program Information

Except for the time to completion, requirements for both the full-time and flexible-time programs are the same. 


Coursework

Students are required to complete 3.0 full-course equivalents (FCEs), including:

  • Doctoral Thesis Seminar (LHA3102H, 0.5 FCE)
    • Designed for first or second year students, this seminar explores key elements of the doctoral studies journey: crafting a research topic, developing a thesis proposal, choosing a committee, planning for comprehensive, fostering effective writing strategies, and planning for publication.
  • At least 1.5 FCEs from the Adult Education & Community Development program.
  • At least 1 half-course (0.5 FCE) in research methods.
     
Comprehensive Requirement

Normally, a major paper between 5,000 and 7,000 words in length (including tables, figures, and references). It consists of a comprehensive discussion of one or more literatures and/or debates of significance to adult education and community development.
 

Thesis

Collaborative specializations provide graduate students enrolled in participating degree programs with an additional multidisciplinary experience as they complete their home degree program. 

Learn more about the collaborative specializations offered to students in this program:

Faculty in the AECD program have multi-disciplinary teaching and research expertise in a wide range of fields. 

Our faculty's expertise includes, but is not limited to: 

  • Community organizing and development
  • Workplace and organizational learning for social change
  • Social movement learning and the social economy
  • Comparative international education and development
  • Popular education
  • Indigenous education
  • Education for sustainability
  • Community healing and peacebuilding
  • Adult literacy
  • Feminism, anti-racism and migration

Information on scholarships available to OISE students.

The Bonnie Burstow Scholarship is specific to the Adult Education & Community Development program.


The Bonnie Burstow Scholarship for Research into Violence Against Indigenous Women: In Memory of Helen Betty Osborne

This scholarship is to be awarded to an outstanding OISE graduate student whose thesis focuses on the violence itself, or the history underpinning it. Approaches to addressing the aftermath of violence can also be considered only if they are vested exclusively in Indigenous approaches. For the purposes of this Scholarship, violence against Indigenous women, girls, and Indigenous and Two-Spirit/Trans people is defined broadly. It includes not only what is conventionally seen as violence, such as murdered and missing, battery and rape, it also includes such international  violence as imprisonment, psychiatrization, and interference by child welfare. 

If in any given year, there is an applicant to the MA or PhD program in Adult Education at OISE whose intended thesis fits the criteria and is deemed worthy by the University, the Scholarship may be offered to the applicant as part of the admissions package. Otherwise, after a competition in which any current OISE student may apply, the Scholarship will be offered to an OISE student, irrespective of program or department, whose thesis centrally involves research in this area. Preference will be given to Indigenous women students and Indigenous students who identity as Two-Spirit.

There is no automatic application process for this scholarship, but rather as part of the admissions process all new applicants to thesis programs in Adult Education & Community Development, will automatically be considered for the award; nonetheless, prospective students are free to draw attention to their suitability for this award in their Statement of Intent.  In the event that no one is given the award during the admissions process, applications for from students who are already in the program will open in the Spring.

At this time, the Department of Leadership, Higher & Adult Education admits one (1) funded international applicant to its full-time Ph.D. programs each year – rotating between the programs of Adult Education & Community Development (AECD), Education Leadership & Policy (ELP), and Higher Education (HE).  

In doing so, HE will admit one international student in 2023, AECD will admit one international Ph.D. student in 2024, and ELP will admit one international student in 2025, and onwards in the order of HE, AECD, ELP.  

However, the Department may consider applications 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.

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.