While Nova Scotia universities usually compete for students, three universities are partnering together to offer a PhD in educational studies.
“It’s quite innovative. It’s the first PhD program for any of the three universities,” says Jim Sharpe, Mount Saint Vincent University’s (MSVU) dean of education.
Acadia University and St. Francis Xavier University are the other universities involved in the program.
The program will combine the resources of the three universities, including more than 60 faculty members.
Students will focus on six areas of core study: Educational leadership, educational foundations, curriculum, literacy, psychological issues in education and lifelong learning.
“It’s quite broad and rather than a really specialized doctoral program, it’s more of a generalist program where people can specialize in their own area of research,” says Sharpe.
The schedule of the program will involve both traditional classroom learning and the use of distance learning. The first cohort of students will begin an intensive summer session in July 2011 at one of the universities (which will then rotate from university to university every year).
The core courses of the program lasts 14 months and Sharpe says most students will take between three to five years to complete the core program and doctoral thesis.
A lasting effect
The provincial department of education is a big fan of the new PhD in Educational Studies being offered by three of the province’s universities.
“Offering Nova Scotians the opportunity to complete a doctoral degree in education in their home province can only have a positive effect on our education system,” says spokesperson Krista Higdon in an email. “It will mean those wanting to pursue this will not have to relocate to another province.
This program is designed to be among the best in the country, and there is real potential to attract doctoral candidates from across the country to our province.”