Human Ecology

Study mode:On campus Study type:Full-time Languages: English
Local:$ 4.06 k / Year(s) Foreign:$ 7.07 k / Year(s) Deadline: Feb 1, 2025
131 place StudyQA ranking:6245 Duration:4 years

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The University of Alberta is the only university in Canada offering a PhD in Human Ecology. It has a long and proud history as an academic discipline and remains tremendously relevant for today's multiple challenges in our daily lives. The PhD in Human Ecology is a research degree taking a multi-disciplinary approach to studying the interrelationships among people and their near environments with specific research foci in the following four areas:

  • Aging
  • Children, Youth and Families
  • Material Culture
  • Textile and Apparel Science

The time to complete the doctoral degree will vary with the individual candidate; however, for those entering the program with a thesis-based Masters degree in a related discipline, it normally takes three to four years of full time study to complete the Phd. All requirements for the degree must be completed within six years. 

On completion of the PhD program all students are expected to possess competencies in the discipline of Human Ecology, research methods and/or statistics, and the substantive area of the student's research. 
Students take a minimum of 20 course credits in three areas:

  • 3 credits HECOL 601, Ways of Knowing in Human Ecology;
  • 2 credits HECOL 693 and 694, Graduate Professional Seminar;
  • 9 credits in courses that support the student's content area (aging; children youth and families; material culture; textile and apparel science) and dissertation research;
  • 6 credits in research methods and/or statistics.

Doctoral students also conduct dissertation research, write a comprehensive examination, and complete an oral candidacy examination and a doctoral dissertation defence. 


The doctoral program in Human Ecology is a research degree. Thus, the Department of Human Ecology requires that students entering the doctoral program in Human Ecology have a thesis-based Master’s degree in a relevant discipline with a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale over the last 60 credits.

Applicants who have not completed original empirical, academic research (thesis or equivalent), will not be considered for direct admission into the doctoral program. Instead, if they meet all other admission criteria, they may be considered for admission into a Master’s program. 

Additional Requirements

  • A description of research interests (Why are you interested in their work and why do you feel you would be a good fit?);
  • Curriculum Vitae, including any publications;
  • Scanned copy of transcripts.

English Requirements

English is the primary language of instruction and communication at the U of A. All applicants must be proficient in English prior to admission. Applicants with scores lower than these cut-offs will not be considered for acceptance to graduate programs in Human Ecology:

  • TOEFL: Internet-Based: Minimum Total Score of 92; Paper-Based: Minimum score of 580; Computer-Based: Minimum score of 237;
  • IELTS: Academic: Minimum overall band score of 6.5.

Department of Human Ecology Graduate Student Research Grant

The Department will award graduate students small grants (maximum $500.00 for Master's students and $1000.00 for Doctoral students) for research expenses associated with theses, course-based applied research projects, or for travel expenses in accordance with the Human Ecology Graduate Student Research and Travel Fund Policy.

Dianne Kieren Graduate Award in Human Ecology 

Awarded to a doctoral student in Human Ecology who has an excellent academic record, research potential and who has made a significant contribution to his/her profession and community.  Preference will be given to a student beginning a doctoral program.

Myer Horowitz Graduate Scholarship  

Awarded annually in the fall on the basis of academic merit to full-time students in graduate degree programs who have received no or limited financial support from the University of Alberta.

Ivy A Thomson and William A Thomson Graduate Scholarship 

Awarded annually to three academically outstanding students registered full-time in, or admissible to a, 
full-time master's or doctoral program at the U of A.  Recipients are expected to carry out full-time research during the tenure of the scholarship

Doris Badir Graduate Research Fellowship in Human Ecology 

Awarded to a full-time graduate student in Human Ecology who has outstanding academic potential.  
The student must be involved in or planning to conduct research with an emphasis on Human Ecology.

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