Doctor of Philosophy in Human Development, Learning, and Culture (PhD)


The Human Development, Learning, and Culture (HDLC) program at UBC addresses the interface of research and practice in education, weaving together theoretical models and concepts in their application to real world educational issues. Investigations of learning and development, including the unique contributions of culture to these processes, are applied to a wide range of contexts including classroom, afterschool, work, and technological contexts. This work is interpreted through a variety of theoretical lenses (e.g., constructivist, cognitive, sociocultural, and social and emotional development). Students are encouraged to participate in research and teaching opportunities throughout their program.

Coursework emphasizes three primary areas: a) learning and development, b) culture and diversity, and c) research methods, including qualitative and quantitative, experimental and developmental. The doctoral program in HDLC weaves together theoretical models and concepts in their application to real world educational issues.

Quick Facts

Doctor of Philosophy
Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities
Mode of delivery
On campus
Registration options
Human Development, Learning, and Culture
Program Components
Faculty of Education


TOEFL (ibT) Overall Score Requirement


IELTS Overall Score Requirement


Funding Sources

All full-time students who begin a UBC-Vancouver PhD program in September 2018 or later will be provided with a funding package of at least $18,000 for each of the first four years of their PhD. The funding package may consist of any combination of internal or external awards, teaching-related work, research assistantships, and graduate academic assistantships. Please note that many graduate programs provide funding packages that are substantially greater than $18,000 per year. Please check with your prospective graduate program for specific details of the funding provided to its PhD students.

Career Outcomes

21 students graduated between 2005 and 2013: 1 is in a non-salaried situation; for 1 we have no data (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016). For the remaining 19 graduates:

RI (Research-Intensive) Faculty: typically tenure-track faculty positions (equivalent of the North American Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor positions) in PhD-granting institutions
TI (Teaching-Intensive) Faculty: typically full-time faculty positions in colleges or in institutions not granting PhDs, and teaching faculty at PhD-granting institutions
Term Faculty: faculty in term appointments (e.g. sessional lecturers, visiting assistant professors, etc.)
Sample Employers in Higher Education
University of British Columbia (4)
University of Alberta
Saint Mary's University
Western University (Ontario) - King's University College
Northwest Community College
Simon Fraser University
University of Northern British Columbia
Wilfrid Laurier University
Dowling College
McGill University
Sample Employers Outside Higher Education
State of Arizona - First Things First
Statistics Canada
Fraser Health
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher Education
Research and Evaluation Project Director
Social Science Researcher
Substance Use\Mental Health Youth and Family counsellor
PhD Career Outcome Survey
You may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on
This program underwent a name or structural change in the study time frame, and all alumni from the previous program were included in these summaries. These data represent historical employment information and do not guarantee future employment prospects for graduates of this program. They are for informational purposes only. Data were collected through either alumni surveys or internet research.
Career Options

HDLC graduates have found careers in a variety of settings including university teaching and research, social policy analysis, curriculum and program evaluation, schools and community organizations, and corporate learning communities.

Tuition / Program Costs

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$102.00$165.00
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,632.61$2,868.22
Tuition per year$4,897.83$8,604.66
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$923.38 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $16,884.10 (check cost calculator)
* Regular, full-time tuition. For on-leave, extension, continuing or part time (if applicable) fees see UBC Calendar.
All fees for the year are subject to adjustment and UBC reserves the right to change any fees without notice at any time, including tuition and student fees. In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.

Statistical Data

Enrolment Data

New registrations41662
Total enrolment2825302825

Completion Rates & Times

Based on 9 graduations between 2013 - 2016 the minimum time to completion is 3.32 years and the maximum time is 7.33 years with an average of 5.49 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each year, May to April [data updated: 9 March 2018]. Enrolment data are based on March 1 snapshots. Program completion data are only provided for datasets comprised of more than 4 individuals. Rates and times of completion depend on a number of variables (e.g. curriculum requirements, student funding), some of which may have changed in recent years for some programs [data updated: 29 September 2017].

Upcoming Doctoral Exams

Friday, 6 April 2018 - 12:30pm - Room 200

Natalia Pavlovna Panina-Beard
Creating a New Vision for an Imagined School: Young People from Alternative Programs Explore their Experiences with Schooling

Research Supervisors

This list shows faculty members with full supervisory privileges who are affiliated with this program. It is not a comprehensive list of all potential supervisors as faculty from other programs or faculty members without full supervisory privileges can request approvals to supervise graduate students in this program.

  • Butler, Deborah (special education, learning disabilities, inclusive educational practices, intervention research for students with learning disabilities, Collaboration and co-regulation in teachers' professional learning, collaborative professional development models, learning disabilities in adolescence and adulhood, mathematics, metagocnition and self-regulated learning, research methods in educaiton, strategic performanc ein reading, writing)
  • Ford, Laurie (Early Childhood Assessment, Youth and Families)
  • Hymel, Shelley (Promotion of social and emotional learning (SEL) in children and youth)
  • Perry, Nancy (motivation and self-regulated learning in young children; social perspectives on teaching and learning, reading and writing; accommodating individual difference in general education classrooms; learning disabilities; special education, Metacognition, motivation, and self-regulated learning in elementary school children Social perspectives on teaching and learning, including social cognitive and sociocultural theories, Teacher development, Individual differences, Learning disabilities)
  • Schonert-Reichl, Kimberly (Children’s social and emotional development, empathy, moral development, bullying, risk and resiliency, adolescent stress and coping, transition to school, transition to adulthood (emerging adulthood), social and emotional learning in school, Social, emotional, and moral development of children and adolescents with an emphasis on identifying the processes and mechanisms that promote positive development)
  • Shapka, Jennifer (Adolescent Development, Cyberbullying and victimization, Online Privacy Behaviours, Parenting, , Social Development, Media, Internet)
  • Vadeboncoeur, Jennifer (cultural-historical psychology, child/parent relationships, student/ teacher relationships, play and performance based learning, bridging school and out of school contexts for learning, Alternative schooling and pedagogies, Critical theory, Discourse and critical discourse analysis, ethnography, Qualitative research, Socially constructing knowledge and identity, Sociocultural approaches to learning and teaching, Young people placed)

Recent Doctoral Citations

  • Dr. Hezron Zacharia Onditi
    "Dr. Onditi explored Tanzanian adolescents' experiences of cyberbullying, how they cope with it, as well as factors that influence their coping strategies. His findings provide further evidence that cyberbullying is a global issue, with no single coping strategy that works for everyone. Results point to the need for culturally relevant interventions." (May 2017)
  • Dr. Monique Helene Gagne
    "Dr. Gagne examined variations in the academic achievement and well-being of foreign-born adolescents in BC and sought to identify predictors of this variation. Through her research, she identified a number of assets and risks associated with variations in outcomes supporting the idea that migration itself is not the main variant." (May 2016)
  • Dr. Gigi Michelle Hofer
    "Little is known about what makes for effective alternative education programs, or AEPs. From the perspective of former students, Dr. Hofer identified effective aspects of AEPs, including caring teachers and life skills learning. Her study revealed AEPs to be positive contexts to support some youth-at-risk, refuting current negative views of AEPs." (May 2016)
  • Dr. Michaela Birgitta Wooldridge
    "Dr. Wooldridge studied how infants and toddlers accessed and used mobile devices at home. She found that infants are provided with tablets and smartphones by parents based on parental technology beliefs, developmental knowledge, and device use habits. This represents a significant shift in the primary ecology for human development from birth." (May 2016)
  • Dr. Kristen Goessling
    "Dr. Goessling studied the ways in which youth activists in a social justice organization construct meaning from their experiences. This research resulted in a set of narratives describing what it means to be a youth in a neoliberal society. These stories of young people's engagement with society reveal ways in which youth transform it, and themselves." (November 2015)

September 2019 Intake

Application Open Date
19 September 2018
Canadian Applicant Deadline
01 December 2018
International Applicant Deadline
01 December 2018

Program Information

Application Enquiries

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