Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Learning Sciences

Thesis-based, on campus degree

Learning Sciences is an interdisciplinary field of scholarship that works to further scientific, humanistic, and critical theoretical understandings of learning as well as to engage in the design and implementation of pedagogical innovations to support learning. The primary mission of the Learning Sciences PhD program is the advancement of knowledge and the preparation of future researchers and scholars of the discipline. In this research-intensive program, students will engage with and advance the field’s understanding of the cultural, social, cognitive, affective, political, technological, and economic dimensions of learning, teaching, design, and assessment, both within and across diverse settings. Applicants from all disciplinary backgrounds are encouraged to apply, and doctoral students in the program are encouraged and supported to work in interdisciplinary areas and projects. 

This is a research intensive program where students work closely with their supervisors. Applicants are encouraged to go through the list of faculty members associated with the program in the link below, including the “full profile” information link for each faculty member. You are also encouraged to contact faculty members that might be a good fit for your research interests to explore potential connections. If you choose to apply, we expect that you will have discussed your research interests with potential supervisors, and you should explain the potential matches in your statement of purpose. Students’ experience in this research intensive program is dramatically enhanced by a strong complementarity of research interests and strengths of students and supervisors.

Program Information for Current Students

Please refer to the University Calendar to view official program requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy degree.

In addition to the requirements of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, Graduate Programs in Education requires that students be available on campus for the first two years of their program.

a) Educational Research 702 and 704;

b) Additional 9 units of 700-level thesis-based courses in research methods (excluding EDER 707, 708, 709, 710, 711 and 712);

c) Additional graduate courses or seminars as required by the student's specialization.  Courses may be selected from any 700-level Education Research courses:

  • Learning Sciences requires 9 units which must focus on Learning Sciences.

Course requirements

You can view current Graduate Programs in Education course schedules by visiting the PhD homepage.

Graduate courses from other departments, faculties, or universities may be taken to partially fulfill your degree requirements. Approval from your supervisor and the unit in question are required to take these courses. Please ensure that your Graduate Program Administrator in Graduate Programs in Education receives written confirmation of these approvals. 

Time Limit

Expected completion time for full-time students is four years with a maximum completion time of six years.

Supervisory Assignments

A supervisor is normally appointed at the time of admission.

Doctoral Procedures Checklist

At the beginning of program:

  • Register for an eID to access myUCalgary. Keep your eID and password confidential.
  • Accept your Offer of Admission in the online Student Centre.
  • Activate your UCalgary IT computing account that comes with a UofC email. We strongly encourage you to use this email while in program.
  • Before you start utilizing your UofC email, update your email address in the online Student Centre.
  • Confirm your current e-mail address to your Graduate Program Administrator (see your Admission Letter for contact information). Please include your full name, UCID number, program, and specialization.
  • Attend one of the scheduled Virtual Welcome Sessions for Graduate Programs: Education (GPE) students.
  • Attend one of the scheduled Student Orientations to GPE Online Delivery Tools. We recommend this for students in on-campus programs, due to the fact that online tools may be utilized in on-campus courses.
  • Connect with your supervisor to plan your program.
  • Initialize your registration.
  • Register for courses.
  • Check with FGS, Research Services and SSHRC for possible research funding.

Within 12 months:

  • Confirm the number of courses required for program completion with the supervisor.

Every May:

  • Submit the online Annual Progress Report form through student centre, approved by supervisor, and Graduate Program Director of GPE or designate.

Every 12 Months:

Within 15 months:

  • Consult with supervisor regarding the appointment of the supervisory committee. Complete the Appointment of Supervisory Committee form.

Within 28 months:

  • Request candidacy examination guidelines.
  • Complete all course work prior to the candidacy examination.
  • Submit a research proposal to the supervisory committee. If acceptable, this proposal is signed by the members of the supervisory committee and placed in the student's file.
  • Complete candidacy requirements and examination.

Within 4 to 6 years:

  • Have ethics application approved before collection of data.
  • Complete thesis and final oral examination.
  • Submit two unbound copies of the thesis to the Faculty of Graduate Studies along with the Thesis Clearance form.
  • Submit an Application for Degree through your Student Centre.
  • Attend convocation and celebrate.

Program Forms

There are various forms related to a student’s progress through their graduate degree. Please refer to the forms for detailed instructions on their proper completion. Students who have any questions or concerns should contact their Graduate Program Administrator. Required forms are available in the GPE office and some can be accessed by downloading them from Faculty of Graduate Studies.

Contact Us


Have Questions?

Sylvia Parks Graduate Program Administrator (GPA) 403.220.4105,


Academic Coordinator

Dr. Douglas Clark,

Program details

Complete Program Details