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

Canadian Immigration Updates

Applicants to Master’s and Doctoral degrees are not affected by the recently announced cap on study permits. Review more details

Overview

The Human Development, Learning, and Culture (HDLC) program at UBC advances research and practice in education through the application of theoretical models and concepts to real world educational issues. Investigations of learning and developing, including the unique contributions of culture to these processes, are applied widely to classroom, afterschool, work, and digital contexts. This work is interpreted through a variety of theoretical lenses (e.g., sociocultural, social and emotional, cognitive).  Coursework emphasizes three primary areas: a) learning and developing, b) culture and diversity, and c) research methods, including both qualitative and quantitative research. 

 

Doctoral students are encouraged to participate in research and teaching opportunities throughout their program; it is likely that some of these opportunities may form part of a funding package. 

 
 

Program Enquiries

Still have questions after reviewing this page thoroughly?
Contact the program

Admission Information & Requirements

1) Check Eligibility

Minimum Academic Requirements

The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies establishes the minimum admission requirements common to all applicants, usually a minimum overall average in the B+ range (76% at UBC). The graduate program that you are applying to may have additional requirements. Please review the specific requirements for applicants with credentials from institutions in:

Each program may set higher academic minimum requirements. Please review the program website carefully to understand the program requirements. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitive process.

English Language Test

Applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application. Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application.

Minimum requirements for the two most common English language proficiency tests to apply to this program are listed below:

TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language - internet-based

Overall score requirement: 90

Reading

22

Writing

21

Speaking

21

Listening

22

IELTS: International English Language Testing System

Overall score requirement: 6.5

Reading

6.0

Writing

6.0

Speaking

6.0

Listening

6.0

Other Test Scores

Some programs require additional test scores such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Test (GMAT). The requirements for this program are:

The GRE is not required.

2) Meet Deadlines

Application open dates and deadlines for an upcoming intake have not yet been configured in the admissions system. Please check back later.

3) Prepare Application

Transcripts

All applicants have to submit transcripts from all past post-secondary study. Document submission requirements depend on whether your institution of study is within Canada or outside of Canada.

Letters of Reference

A minimum of three references are required for application to graduate programs at UBC. References should be requested from individuals who are prepared to provide a report on your academic ability and qualifications.

Statement of Interest

Many programs require a statement of interest, sometimes called a "statement of intent", "description of research interests" or something similar.

Supervision

Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their thesis supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

Instructions regarding thesis supervisor contact for Doctor of Philosophy in Human Development, Learning, and Culture (PhD)
Applicants should browse faculty profiles and indicate in their application who they are interested in working with. No commitment from a supervisor prior to applying is necessary, but contacting faculty members is encouraged.

Citizenship Verification

Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.

4) Apply Online

All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.

Tuition & Financial Support

Tuition

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$114.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,838.57$3,230.06
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
$5,515.71$9,690.18
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$1,116.60 (approx.)
Costs of livingEstimate your costs of living with our interactive tool in order to start developing a financial plan for your graduate studies.
* 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. Tuition fees are reviewed annually by the UBC Board of Governors. In recent years, tuition increases have been 2% for continuing domestic students and between 2% and 5% for continuing international students. New students may see higher increases in tuition. Admitted students who defer their admission are subject to the potentially higher tuition fees for incoming students effective at the later program start date. In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.

Financial Support

Applicants to UBC have access to a variety of funding options, including merit-based (i.e. based on your academic performance) and need-based (i.e. based on your financial situation) opportunities.

Program Funding Packages

From September 2024 all full-time students in UBC-Vancouver PhD programs will be provided with a funding package of at least $24,000 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 $24,000 per year. Please check with your prospective graduate program for specific details of the funding provided to its PhD students.

Average Funding
Based on the criteria outlined below, 4 students within this program were included in this study because they received funding through UBC in the form of teaching, research, academic assistantships or internal or external awards averaging $50,041.
  • 3 students received Teaching Assistantships. Average TA funding based on 3 students was $9,334.
  • 2 students received Research Assistantships. Average RA funding based on 2 students was $5,895.
  • 3 students received Academic Assistantships. Average AA funding based on 3 students was $9,645.
  • 4 students received internal awards. Average internal award funding based on 4 students was $17,443.
  • 3 students received external awards. Average external award funding based on 3 students was $20,556.

Study Period: Sep 2022 to Aug 2023 - average funding for full-time PhD students enrolled in three terms per academic year in this program across years 1-4, the period covered by UBC's Minimum Funding Guarantee. Averages might mask variability in sources and amounts of funding received by individual students. Beyond year 4, funding packages become even more individualized.
Review methodology
Scholarships & awards (merit-based funding)

All applicants are encouraged to review the awards listing to identify potential opportunities to fund their graduate education. The database lists merit-based scholarships and awards and allows for filtering by various criteria, such as domestic vs. international or degree level.

Graduate Research Assistantships (GRA)

Many professors are able to provide Research Assistantships (GRA) from their research grants to support full-time graduate students studying under their supervision. The duties constitute part of the student's graduate degree requirements. A Graduate Research Assistantship is considered a form of fellowship for a period of graduate study and is therefore not covered by a collective agreement. Stipends vary widely, and are dependent on the field of study and the type of research grant from which the assistantship is being funded.

Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTA)

Graduate programs may have Teaching Assistantships available for registered full-time graduate students. Full teaching assistantships involve 12 hours work per week in preparation, lecturing, or laboratory instruction although many graduate programs offer partial TA appointments at less than 12 hours per week. Teaching assistantship rates are set by collective bargaining between the University and the Teaching Assistants' Union.

Graduate Academic Assistantships (GAA)

Academic Assistantships are employment opportunities to perform work that is relevant to the university or to an individual faculty member, but not to support the student’s graduate research and thesis. Wages are considered regular earnings and when paid monthly, include vacation pay.

Financial aid (need-based funding)

Canadian and US applicants may qualify for governmental loans to finance their studies. Please review eligibility and types of loans.

All students may be able to access private sector or bank loans.

Foreign government scholarships

Many foreign governments provide support to their citizens in pursuing education abroad. International applicants should check the various governmental resources in their home country, such as the Department of Education, for available scholarships.

Working while studying

The possibility to pursue work to supplement income may depend on the demands the program has on students. It should be carefully weighed if work leads to prolonged program durations or whether work placements can be meaningfully embedded into a program.

International students enrolled as full-time students with a valid study permit can work on campus for unlimited hours and work off-campus for no more than 20 hours a week.

A good starting point to explore student jobs is the UBC Work Learn program or a Co-Op placement.

Tax credits and RRSP withdrawals

Students with taxable income in Canada may be able to claim federal or provincial tax credits.

Canadian residents with RRSP accounts may be able to use the Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) which allows students to withdraw amounts from their registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs) to finance full-time training or education for themselves or their partner.

Please review Filing taxes in Canada on the student services website for more information.

Cost Estimator

Applicants have access to the cost estimator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.

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
Evaluator/Researcher
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 outcomes.grad.ubc.ca.
Disclaimer
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.

Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats

These statistics show data for the Doctor of Philosophy in Human Development, Learning, and Culture (PhD). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.

ENROLMENT DATA

 20232022202120202019
Applications1723273116
Offers22122
New Registrations20112
Total Enrolment1418222429

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 93% based on 15 students admitted between 2011 - 2014. Based on 13 graduations between 2020 - 2023 the minimum time to completion is 4.78 years and the maximum time is 11.27 years with an average of 7.69 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
Disclaimer
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each registration year, May to April, e.g. data for 2022 refers to programs starting in 2022 Summer and 2022 Winter session, i.e. May 1, 2022 to April 30, 2023. Data on total enrolment reflects enrolment in Winter Session Term 1 and are based on snapshots taken on November 1 of each registration year. Program completion data are only provided for datasets comprised of more than 4 individuals. Graduation rates exclude students who transfer out of their programs. 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.

Research Supervisors

Supervision

Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their thesis supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

Instructions regarding thesis supervisor contact for Doctor of Philosophy in Human Development, Learning, and Culture (PhD)
Applicants should browse faculty profiles and indicate in their application who they are interested in working with. No commitment from a supervisor prior to applying is necessary, but contacting faculty members is encouraged.
 
Advice and insights from UBC Faculty on reaching out to supervisors

These videos contain some general advice from faculty across UBC on finding and reaching out to a supervisor. They are not program specific.

 

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)
  • Eryigit Madzwamuse, Suna (Curriculum, pedagogy and didactics)
  • Ford, Laurie (Early Childhood Assessment, Youth and Families)
  • 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)
  • Sam, Johanna (Education; Psychology, social and behavorial aspects; Human Development; Adolescence; technology; Indigenous Education; Digital Pedagogy)
  • Shapka, Jennifer (Affective and Emotional Development; Cognitive Development; New Technology and Social Impacts; Technology, Media, Social Media, Adolescents, Cyberbullying, Self-regulation, Online Privacy)
  • 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)
  • Weber, Barbara (Embodiment and Public Space; ethics; Multiculturalism; Multiculturalism and Recognition; Phenomenology and Hermeneutics; Philosophy for Children; Social justice)

Doctoral Citations

A doctoral citation summarizes the nature of the independent research, provides a high-level overview of the study, states the significance of the work and says who will benefit from the findings in clear, non-specialized language, so that members of a lay audience will understand it.
Year Citation
2023 Dr. Baitz examined the relationship between early experiences of trauma and later relational problems in young adulthood, such as cyber dating violence, insecure attachment, limerence, and internalizing symptoms. Her work informs therapeutic practice by illustrating how early trauma influences young adult relationships in the context of technology.
2023 Dr. Parent examined adolescent development and wellbeing in the current socio-technological context. Her findings illustrate the complex ways in which digital devices contribute to adolescents' wellbeing - suggesting that these may have both positive and negative effects. Her work has important implications for research and practice in adolescence.
2022 Dr. Wolf developed an affective conception of thinking through the work of Gilles Deleuze as a new theory and practice of an education for thinking. Especially in relation to Matthew Lipman's philosophy for children approach, the pedagogical consequence is a thinking that is more inclusive and sensitive to context leading to a richer sensibility.
2022 Dr. Maloney studied factors that contributed to kindergarteners' social competence. She found that children's self-regulation proficiency and the quality of relationship with kindergarten teachers contributed to children's empathy and prosocial behaviour. This knowledge will help educators promote social skills in children.
2022 Dr. Rahal studied the process of designing educational technology with educators. Several factors that facilitate and/or hinder the design process were identified and explicated in his study. The study also contributed methodological guidelines on generating valid and reliable knowledge in participatory design research.
2021 Dr. Whitehead explored early adolescent students' perceptions of their student-teacher relationships in three studies, by developing and validating a new student self-report measure, exploring students' qualitative descriptions of caring teachers, and examining the congruence of student and teachers' perceptions of their relationships.
2021 Dr. Low studied how feeling shame or guilt as a parent impacts their capacity to learn during a parenting program. She found that guilt can be adaptive but shame hijacks learning. Her research showed that shaming parents does not help them learn, and that providing compassionate messages to counter shame led to better learning outcomes for parents.
2020 Dr. Brenner examined how teacher candidates' personal characteristics and features of learning environments shaped their motivation to develop self-regulated learning practices. She identified affordances and constraints for the development of these practices, and identifies how teacher educators may include them in their curricula.
2020 Dr. Kitil studied the role that executive functions play in important developmental outcomes. She found that 4th and 5th grade students who had better executive functions earned higher academic grades eight years later. Given its malleability, this research highlights the importance of finding ways to support executive functions at an early age.
2020 Dr. Kady-Rachid critically examined constructions of people of Arab descent in educational text and talk in secondary schools in British Columbia. Analysis revealed a discourse of othering, barriers to teaching about peoples of Arab descent, and the importance of supporting teachers' efforts to teach in culturally relevant ways.

Pages

Further Information

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., cognitive, sociocultural, and social and emotional development).

Coursework emphasizes three primary areas: a) learning and development; b) culture and diversity; and c) research methods, including qualitative and quantitative, experimental and developmental.

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