3 universities launch education PhD program

MSVU, St. Fx, Acadia combine forces to bring new program to N.S.


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MSVU will welcome students next July to the first sessions of a PhD in education program. (Photo: Brittney Teasdale)

Nova Scotia now has the PhD in education program it has lacked since 1995.

The program is an inter-university program shared among Mount Saint Vincent, St. Francis Xavier and Acadia universities. It will prepare students and teachers to do in-depth analysis and research in education.

"We are only one of a few schools that are doing this. We want to build a community of learners," says Sue McGregor, professor and doctoral program co-ordinator.

"The Maritime provinces have historically been characterized as users of knowledge, not producers of knowledge."

The program's areas of focus include:
• Counselling education
• Inclusive education
• Educational leadership
• Rural and sustainability education
• Technology curriculum

"We need more research in education," says Jim Sharpe, dean of the faculty of education at MSVU.

This is exactly what the new program will prepare students to do, as courses explore the foundations of research methods and theories of education.

The program aims to equip graduates with skills necessary to become "a true citizen and an educated individual," says Sharpe.

Students from Nova Scotia can now study education close to home.

Nova Scotia has been without an education PhD for the past 15 years. Restructuring based on the Shapiro Report, which analyzed the education system, shut down the Nova Scotia Teachers College and Dalhousie's education PhD program in 1995.

In 2000, the Post-Shapiro Review of Teacher Education in Nova Scotia recommended a joint PhD in education program in the province.

The report's recommendation 25 reads: "Acadia University, Mount Saint Vincent and St. Francis Xavier University should quickly develop a joint doctoral program in education. This program should be funded at up to six students a year as soon as all three universities can agree on a proposal."

The program will only be accepting people who live in the Maritime provinces for its first three years even though it has received inquiries from people around the world who want to apply.

McGregor says Canadian students from outside the Maritimes will have to wait until year four. International students will likely have to wait until year six, she added.

"It's to deal with the backlog of people from within Nova Scotia who may apply," says McGregor.

For those interested and living in the Maritimes, applications are due Nov. 15.

The program will accept 14 students in its first year and about 10 students in subsequent years. It's a full-time program and students have three-and-a-half to four years to complete it.

Tuition for both the first and second year is $8,500, then $2,500 for each year until students complete their dissertation.

Classes will begin in July at MSVU, which is where the first session will take place.

Classes will rotate among the three campuses, giving students a chance to learn from various professors and to study at all three universities.



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