Ph.D. Program

Specific coursework requirements for the doctoral program are determined on a case-by-case basis, as outlined in an individualized Program of Graduate Studies (PGS) developed for each student, in consultation with his/her Academic Advisor and Faculty Advisory Committee. The PGS specifies the kind and number of courses to be taken by the student for his/her degree, with consideration of (1) Departmental degree requirements specified for all EPSE doctoral students, (2) the requirements specified by the MERM area, and (3) the student’s own background, research interests and preparation at the Master’s level. It is assumed that the student will have taken all required courses (or their equivalents) for the MERM MA.

A typical program would include coursework, seminars, directed readings and, where appropriate, practical and field work related to the student’s major area of interest and selected to prepare the student for his/her Comprehensive Examination and Thesis.

It is expected that all Doctoral students acquire a background in:

  • psycho-educational assessment and measurement
  • quantitative research design and analysis

As a step toward providing such a background, all EPSE doctoral students are required to complete the following coursework and degree requirements

1. Research Methodology Basics
It is assumed that graduate level courses in measurement (e.g., EPSE 528, Basic Principles of Measurement), analysis of variance (e.g., EPSE 592, Analysis of Variance in Educational Research) and correlation/multiple regression (e.g., EPSE 596, Multiple Regression in Educational Research) have already been completed at the Masters level.

2. Additional Advanced Methodology MERM Courses
 Doctoral students are required to complete a minimum of three 600 level MERM courses. Additional 600 level courses may be required by the student’s program advisor, in consultation with the student, based on dissertation research interests and career plans. Students may also take additional advanced courses relevant to their research.

3. Additional non-MERM methodology courses
Additional intermediate and advanced methodology courses may be required by the student’s program advisor, in consultation with the student, based on dissertation research interests and career plans. Students may take appropriate non-MERM methodology courses relevant to their program.

4. Additional courses
It is expected that students will have some knowledge in a non-MERM content area, such as human development, psychology, cultural studies, quality of life, health, policy studies, or higher education. Depending on the student’s prior background in this content area, the program advisor, in consultation with the student, may require additional courses in this area. Courses taken in a content area will be related to the student’s dissertation research and career plans.

5. Comprehensive Exam

  • Eligibility
    Only students who will have obtained 85% or better in the required core MERM courses taken at UBC will be allowed to attempt the Comprehensive Examination. The core MERM courses will be the MERM courses listed in the student’s approved PGS for the MERM program. Students who do not meet this requirement must obtain 85% either by retaking the course(s) or by writing a sit-in examination on material specific to the course(s) prior to starting the Comprehensive Examination.
  • Format
    Eligible students will write a Take-home Examination. This examination will require the student to compose a comprehensive essay/paper on a topic identified by the student’s examining committee comprised of three MERM professors who may be part or all of the student’s supervisory committee. The student will identify one member of the examining committee as the coordinator of the Comprehensive examination.
  • Evaluation
    The content of the paper may be related to student’s dissertation topic, but should not be part of the dissertation. The student must demonstrate depth of understanding and originality via synthesis and application. An Oral Examination will be required as well, where the student will present a brief summary of his/her written material and answer questions from the Examining Committee members who would have read the written answer. An expectation of the scope of the answer will be stated along with the question. Both the written and the oral examination will be considered together for a pass or fail decision.
  • Time
    Students will be given four weeks to complete the paper. Normally, both the written and oral examinations would be completed within six weeks. Students will receive an immediate evaluation of their performance following the oral examination.
  • Re-Examination
    In the case of unsatisfactory performance, the student will be allowed one re-write and/or one oral presentation of the whole examination or the part(s) the examining committee may require. The time for the re-examination will be specified by the examining committee.

6. Doctoral Thesis
All doctoral students are required to complete a doctoral thesis in the student’s area of research and career interests. The thesis supervisor should be a MERM faculty member. There shall be at least two other members of the dissertation committee, one of whom must be a MERM faculty member or a MERM associate faculty member.