IX. Graduate Programs

Social Practice and Transformational Change

PhD Program

The objective of the PhD in Social Practice and Transformational is to build competency in research, practice (as a specific kind of professional activity) and engagement across these areas:

  1. the critical theorization of social practice and its relationship to policy, programs and service delivery and to transformational change;

  2. the design and implementation of practice-based research projects and research-based practices; and

  3. the development of principled, ethical and sustainable frameworks for collaborative, community-engaged initiatives.

Admission Requirements

Applicants to the PhD program should have a recognized course or thesis-based master’s degree with a minimum average of at least 78% average in their postgraduate studies. Applicants who have not completed a masters’ degree but have considerable relevant professional experience outside the academy may be considered for direct entry into the doctoral program. Applicants must submit a statement of their research interests including evidence of experience in their chosen research field. It is essential that applicants contact potential advisors in the department prior to submission of an application. Students are admitted in September. The program office should be consulted for admission deadlines.

Program Requirements

The PhD in Social Practice is comprised of 1.5 credits of coursework, a qualifying examination (QE), and thesis. Individual students may elect to take courses offered as part of other University of Guelph programs that are relevant to their research interests and development, as determined by students and their advisory committees.

The QE involves four components:

  1. a letter of promise, addressed to the Program Director, signed by all members of the advisory committee, evaluating the student’s research performance to date and the student’s potential as a researcher;

  2. a QE proposal approved by the student’s advisory committee which includes area(s) of specialization, proposed form of presentation, and proposed oral examination format;

  3. the presentation of literature related to, but broader than, the student’s specific area of research to be pursued in the dissertation, including preliminary thesis statement; and

  4. an oral examination of c) the presentation including the following components to be determined in b) the proposal: student reflections on the presentation (oral or other formal); committee questions about the presentation (shared ahead of exam or during the exam); and discussion of preliminary dissertation research focus.

The QE is evaluated as pass or fail. The student passes the QE if no more than one member of the QE committee votes unsatisfactory. An abstention is considered an unsatisfactory vote. If the QE has been deemed by examiners as a fail, the QE committee will provide clear feedback to the student through the advisor on the quality issues that need to be addressed in a second examination no later than six months from the failed attempt. Failure of the QE oral the second time constitutes a recommendation to the Board of Graduate Studies that the student be required to withdraw.

University of Guelph
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Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1