Doctor of Philosophy

PhD in Educational Psychology

Method of delivery:
Applications open:
November 1, 2024
Applications close:
January 15, 2025
Next start date:
September 2025

Develop your capacity to enhance educational settings and address issues related to learning and cognition. This small and dynamic program provides the opportunity to work collaboratively with faculty members to deepen your knowledge and advance your career.


Designed for

MA holders who wish to develop specialized knowledge and skills through advanced study in educational psychology.

Program Format

  • 20 units of coursework plus Doctoral exam and thesis
  • In-person classes, typically at the Burnaby campus
  • Late afternoon or evening classes

Intake Schedule

Applications are accepted biennually.

Next Start Term
Fall 2025


Program Design

This program is ideal to prepare you for a variety of roles, including faculty members at universities and colleges, advisory positions, educational consultants, researchers, and training specialists.

Note: A PhD degree in educational psychology at SFU does not meet requirements for the following:

  • Certified school psychologist with the BC Association of School Psychologists
  • Certified counselling psychologist with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors
  • Registered school or clinical psychologist with the BC College of Psychologists

Students interested in becoming registered PhD psychologists are advised to seek admission to Canadian Association of Psychologists accredited programs, such as the clinical psychology PhD program in the Psychology department at SFU. UBC also offers CPA PhD accredited programs in school psychology and counselling psychology.


Students complete:

EDUC 971-4 - Advanced Topics in Educational Psychology

In-depth critical analysis of select topics in educational psychology. Students with credit for EDUC 865 may not take this course for further credit. Prerequisite: EDUC 860.

EDUC 975-4 - Advanced Quantitative Methods in Educational Research

Methods for analyzing multivariate data in educational research, meta-analytic methods, and applications and frailties of advanced quantitative analysis. Illustrations from educational research are used throughout. Students with credit for EDUC 865 may not take this course for further credit. Prerequisite: EDUC 863 and 864 or permission of instructor.


Chosen with the approval of a Senior Supervisor

EDUC 899-18 - Doctoral Thesis

A major part of this program is original research. A thesis describing this is submitted and defended. Normally, before the fourth course a thesis research plan is presented to the supervisory committee. Upon entry to the program, every term students enroll in EDUC 899-18 Doctoral Thesis.

EDUC 983-5 - Doctoral Comprehensive Examination

The examination is graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis.

Normally, the comprehensive examination is completed in the term in which course requirements are completed, or the term immediately following.

Students who wish to register with the BC College of Psychologists will need to meet additional requirements outside the scope of this program.


At SFU, campus life is rich with opportunities to engage with people, ideas and activities that contribute to personal development and a better world.


Perched atop Burnaby Mountain, Simon Fraser University's original Arthur Erickson-designed campus includes more than three dozen academic buildings and a flourishing sustainable residential community.

Simon Fraser University respectfully acknowledges the unceded traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples, including the səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations, on which SFU Burnaby is located.


Faculty members are recognized for their work in developing, advancing and enacting knowledge that makes a difference in public education. We follow a rigorous research program to investigate theory and provide innovative leadership in issues of educational pedagogy.

Educational Psychology Faculty


Where can this program take you? The world is changing rapidly and so is the full range of career and academic opportunities that await. Two-thirds of our graduates work as faculty members at universities and colleges.  


  • Faculty members at universities and colleges
  • Advisory positions for teachers, social workers, parents
  • Educational consultants, analysts
  • Directors of instruction
  • Training and development specialists
  • Researchers


Meet some Educational Psychology PhD alumni.

  • If you didn’t know her, you could easily dismiss Alexandra Patzak as an exceptional doctoral graduate who is being awarded with the top honour of a dean’s convocation medal. This is an incredible achievement to be celebrated—and one that Patzak accomplished alongside her unique experience as a student with a visual impairment navigating university life.

  • "During my program I was fortunate to work with many faculty and administration members in a number of projects within and outside my program, and I feel I’ve learned different sets of academic skills from each and every one of them."

  • "This dialogue with SFU provided me with the opportunity to experience the sort of personal mentoring that is so instrumental in the success of a graduate program."

"I was accepted into several Educational Psychology programs in the U.S. and Canada but felt that SFU would provide me with the best opportunities, resources, and training to support my career goals."

Dominic Trevisan, 2018 Graduate


Curious to know more about the program?