Application Instructions

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Thank you for your interest in the Joint PhD in Educational Studies Program.

The online application system for the 2025 Academic Year is now open.  The deadline to receive all required documents, including all references is October 1, 2024  at 11:59pm (EST). 

The Joint PhD program is offered jointly through the University of Windsor, Brock University and Lakehead University.

The online application process for the Joint PhD in Educational Studies Program is supported by the University of Windsor. So your application will have the University of Windsor logo and contact information on it regardless of which university you apply to.

See this knowledge based article with instructions: “How to fill out a graduate application?”

In your application, you will be asked which  University you would like to apply to (Brock, Lakehead, or Windsor) – this is done by completing the Supplementary Admissions Form. Your selection will be considered your Home University.

All applications to the Joint PhD Program will automatically be forwarded to the Office of the Joint PhD Secretariat for assessment.  Please review all information below carefully prior to proceeding with your application.

Please Note: The 2025 Academic year begins on July 2, 2025.


Step 1: Complete the online application including the following sections:

  • Supplementary Admissions Form
  • Program Selection
  • Potential Supervisor Selection
  • Biographical Information
  • Personal Contact Information
  • Citizenship Declaration
  • Academic History
  • References
  • Other Information

Submit the application fee:

  • A non-refundable application fee of $125.00 in Canadian funds is required.  This fee is payable to University of Windsor by American Express, Mastercard, and Visa.
  • Applications will not be processed without the application fee.

You will be contacted by email (within one week) when we have received your paid application informing you of the required application materials you must submit.  This email will also provide you with your username/Windsor student number, temporary password, and instructions on how to login to University of Windsor’s application portal where you can monitor the status of your application and documents.

Approaching a Potential Supervisor 

If your first choice of home university is Brock University, Lakehead University or the University of Windsor, you must have a confirmed supervisor at the time of your application to the program. 
It is recommended to review the Designated Faculty List to explore faculty research interests and to see whose research interests match with yours, and who is available to supervise. This list also includes the faculty member’s contact information.

While there is no one correct way to approach a potential PhD Supervisor, we recommend that you send an email to your prospective supervisor that includes the following:

  • a brief description of who you are and your background.
  • a brief description of your proposed dissertation research, including a proposed research question. Tip: Review recent publications of the potential supervisor – provide comments/insight how this research relates to your proposed research question.
  • a request to meet in-person, by phone or by videoconferencing to discuss possible supervision.

Step 2: Academic References

    • As part of your application, two academic references are required.
    • In the online application, you will be asked to indicate the referee names, positions, and academic institution contact information. References should be from qualified academic scholars attesting to and documenting an applicant’s potential for graduate-level study and research.
    • It is suggested that you reach out to your referees (before submitting their names/contact information in the application portal) to ask if they would be willing to submit a positive reference report on your behalf.
    • If they agree to submit a reference on your behalf, provide them with the following information:
      • Your home university choice: Brock University, Lakehead University or the University of Windsor.
      • Your Field of Study (FoS): Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, Social/Cultural/Political Contexts of Education or Cognition and Learning.
      • Also, provide your referee this information if you feel it would augment your application package: Some gifted individuals have mediocre scholastic records. If you believe that the applicant’s academic record is not an accurate indicator of his/her academic ability, please provide additional information to this in Section #5 of the referee report.
    • The referees will be emailed an invitation by the Graduate Application system to complete a reference report form on your behalf.
    • CAUTION: The online system will provide referees with a default of 21 days to complete the reference and submit to the system. However, dependent on when you begin your application, the actual timeline for referees to submit could be shortened. For example if you start your application 2 days before the deadline, the referees will only have 2 days to complete and submit the reference on your behalf.  Be sure to advise your referees if there is a shortened timeline to submit their references as the deadline for receiving all required documents and references is firm.
    • References are confidential and may be verified for authenticity.

Step 3: Transcripts

  • Unofficial transcripts and/or degree certificates from each post-secondary institution you have attended need to be uploaded to your application. Be sure to include the grading scale of the transcript.
  • Transcripts uploaded must show all semesters, courses, marks, grading scales, and awarding of degree(s) (if applicable).
  • Transcripts will be verified for authenticity – misrepresentation, fraudulent or falsified documents are considered serious offenses and will be fully dealt with.
  • In-progress transcripts are acceptable in the event you are currently completing a program.  Please submit your in-progress transcripts with your application, however, please note, final official copies of your transcripts and proof of degree(s) will be required if admitted to the program.
  • If you are accepted into the program, one official original copy of ALL of your academic transcripts and/or proof of degree completion (i.e.. Certificates) from each post-secondary institution you have attended are required once you are accepted into the program.
  • In each offer of admission, check the conditions which will tell you how/where the official documents are to be submitted.
  • Reminder: All transcripts/degree certificates not in English, must include a notarized translation.


Step 4: Supporting Documents

In order to complete your application, you must upload your other supporting documents (listed below). Once you have received your Windsor username/ID# and password you will be able to activate your University Windsor Portal where you can upload your documents including:

1) Research Plan

  • Your Research Plan should be a brief (1500 words maximum) description of your proposed area of research.  It should discuss the topic that is of most interest to you in the context your chosen field of study, relevant literature in the field of study, and refer to relevant research methodologies.
  • Please see the Research Plan Template for reference.
  • Please reiterate your intended field of study, potential supervisor, and the home universities you would like to consider for your application.

2) Academic CV

3) Supplementary Admissions Form

4) Proof of Research Competency

  • Evidence of research competence is usually demonstrated by a Master’s thesis, those who have not completed a thesis must submit evidence of equivalent research capability. For example, additional proof of research capacity could be major paper, peer reviewed journal articles or published papers. These can be merged to the Research Plan.

5) Proof of English Language Proficiency

English is the primary language of communication and instruction in the program. Applicants from other countries whose official language is not English, and/or have not completed a degree at a university where the primary language of instruction is English must demonstrate proficiency in English to be considered for admission. This can be demonstrated in one of the following ways:

  • A minimum score of 7.0 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), with no individual sub-category score less than 6.5.
  • A minimum score of 100 on the Internet-Based Test (iBT) version of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), including a minimum score of 27 in the Written component and a minimum score of 27 in the Reading component.
  • A minimum score of 60 (Brock & Lakehead University) and 70 (University of Windsor) on the Canadian Academic English Language (CAEL) examination.

In some cases, home university regulations require the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) for students with degrees from overseas universities, even where the language of instruction is English. Please check the home university websites for specific requirements. Please consult the Office of the Secretariat to submit an equivalent demonstration of proficiency. Note that the Duolingo English Language Test is not accepted.

Please note that transcripts and materials submitted in support of an application to the Joint PhD in Educational Studies become the property of the Secretariat of the Joint PhD in Educational Studies Program and will not be returned.

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