Graduate Diploma in Education

SFU's Faculty of Education Place and Nature-Based Experiential Learning GDE at X̱wáýx̱way (Stanley Park) with Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) Knowledge Holders.

Graduate Diploma in Advanced Professional Studies in Education (GDE) programs are designed in collaboration with BC school districts for educators whose primary focus is school-based practice. Through graduate level course work, the GDE provides educators with an extended professional development opportunity focusing on inquiry and professional questions of interest. GDE themes explore current theories and principles within content-specific and interdisciplinary learning.

At this time new GDE program intakes are paused, as we re-imagine our programs to better suit the needs of our learning communities. We encourage you to sign up for our interest list to learn about future programming.


Graduate Diploma in Education (GDE) programs allow you to “live the work” in a collaborative learning community, with the support of colleagues, mentors, and instructors. Our cohorts tend to attract educators with a range of experiences and backgrounds, including new teachers and TTOCs. Join us for this unique opportunity to connect with educators who share your curiosity and passion for building belonging in your educational communities.

Courses explore different approaches to teaching and learning while examining the research, theories and pedagogical principles on which effective educational practices are based. 

Field Studies provide an opportunity for you to develop an inquiry plan around a question or issue of particular importance to you. You will implement this plan in your educational setting and critically reflect on growth and changes in your practice. Field studies are supported by an experienced mentor, and you will meet regularly in small study groups. 

Assessment and Evaluation are the means for you to synthesize and self-assess your learning. You will develop and maintain a portfolio throughout the program that will be shared with peers and mentors and evaluated on a satisfactory / unsatisfactory basis. 

Program Features

What Makes Our GDE Students Unique? Our Students ...

  • Are self-directed: You decide what aspects of your practice you inquire into, investigate and research;
  • Learn what matters: Our programs have direct application to your practice as an educator;
  • Know community matters: As a member of a cohort model, you'll be in the same collaborative learning community throughout your program;
  • Utilize foundations of support: You will receive support from instructors and mentors who are, or have recently been, educators in BC's K-12 system;
  • Are practitioner-inquirers: You'll engage in practitioner-inquiry to investigate your interests and passions;
  • Start where they are: GDE programs welcome all experience levels;
  • Strive to be the teacher they desire: You can work to better align your values and practice.

TQS Upgrade Opportunity

Completion of the 2-yr (6-term) 30-credit diploma allows teachers to:

  • upgrade from TQS category 4 to TQS category 5 or
  • from TQS 5 to TQS 5+

Applicants who wish to pursue a TQS upgrade must possess both an undergraduate degree and a valid British Columbia teaching certificate. Those without an undergraduate degree should review the requirements for professional upgrading before considering this program.

Note: credits from other programs or institutions are not transferrable to this program.



School District Partners & Community Members

Prospective Students

Past program themes have included:
  • Curriculum Design & Learning
  • Exploring Making
  • Inclusion, Interaction and Connection in the French Classroom
  • Inclusive Education
  • Indigenous Education: Wholistic Teachings and Transformative Pedagogies
  • Inquiry and Learning in the Early Years, K-3
  • Inquiry-Based Learning and the Reggio-Inspired Classroom
  • Language, Literacy and Learning in the Early Years
  • Leadership et Pratique Innovante en Education Francophone en Milieu minoritaire (CSF)
  • Place and Nature-based Experiential Learning
  • Social Emotional Well-being and Wholistic Trauma-sensitive Practices
  • Supporting Diversity: Communities of Belonging
  • Teaching and Learning in Multilingual, Multicultural Classrooms
  • Teaching for Equity in Social Justice


  • "My colleagues in the cohort quickly became like a family. We all hailed from different places and roles, yet we all understood the 'teacher’s life' ... Being with each other weekly was some of the best professional development I’ve ever experienced."

  • "Although there is always room to grow as a leader and mentor, I can honestly say that the two years spent in the program have offered me countless opportunities to be a better teacher, colleague and leader at my school ... and within my district."

  • "The program involved vulnerable, yet deeply cathartic work, and it was transformative both professionally and personally. I learned so much about myself, and it was therapeutic as much as it was educational."

"The field studies at the core of this GDE have given me both the structure and the freedom to explore teaching practices that have an immediate impact on my daily work in the classroom." 

Tanya Virani, 2018 Graduate (Frameworks for Innovative Collaboration  and Inquiry, GDE)


For GDE admissions and program information, contact: