Application Instructions

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

Applications for the 2023 Academic Year is now closed. The application portal for the 2024 Academic Year will be available at the bottom of this page beginning in August 2023 and will remain open until November 15, 2023.  

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

The online application process for the Joint PhD in Educational Studies Program is supported by Lakehead University. In your application, you will be asked which University you would like to apply to (Lakehead, Windsor, or Brock). Your selection will be considered your Home University.  Your application will have the Lakehead University logo and contact information on it regardless of which university you apply to.

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 2023 Academic year begins on July 4, 2023.

PLEASE NOTE: You must use Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome browsers to access the online application.

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

  • Program Selection
  • Potential Supervisor Selection
  • Biographical Information
  • Personal Contact Information
  • Citizenship Declaration
  • Academic History
  • Academic Reference Form for Joint PhD
  • Other Information

Submit the application fee:

  • A non-refundable application fee of $110.00 in Canadian funds is required.  This fee is payable to Lakehead University by American Express, Cheque, Direct Deposit, Mastercard, Money Order/Draft 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/Lakehead student number, temporary password, and instructions on how to login to the Lakehead MyInfo portal where you can monitor the status of your application and documents.

Approaching a Potential Supervisor 

Applicants are required to have a confirmed supervisor at the time of application at Lakehead University and the University of Windsor and are strongly encouraged to have a confirmed supervisor at the time of application at Brock University.

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
  • a request to meet in-person, by phone or by videoconferencing to discuss possible supervision

Before sending an email, we recommend visiting the Designated Faculty List to explore faculty research interests and to see who may supervise.

Step 2: Academic References

  • As part of your application, you must submit two Referee Assessment Reports and request two supporting reference letters.
  • It is your responsibility as the applicant to contact your references to make these.
  • References should be from qualified academic scholars attesting to and documenting an applicant’s potential for graduate-level study and research.
  • It is your responsibility to provide your referees with the Referee Assessment Report, instructions for submitting their reference, as well as deadlines for submission.
    • Referees need to complete the Referee Assessment Report as well as write a Support Letter on the associated letterhead on your behalf.
  • Referees can submit via email these documents to or by mail to:
  • The Faculty of Graduate Studies
    Lakehead University
    955 Oliver Road  
    Thunder Bay, ON P7B 5E1
  • References are confidential and may be verified for authenticity

Step 3: Transcripts

  • One official, original copy, of ALL of your academic transcripts and/or degree certificates from each post-secondary institution you have attended.  These documents must be forwarded to:
    The Faculty of Graduate Studies
    Lakehead University
    955 Oliver Road  
    Thunder Bay, ON P7B 5E1
  • If the transcripts/degree certificates are not in English, a notarized translation must also be included with the original documents
  • Transcripts must show all 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 dealt with to the fullest extent possible.
  • 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 offered admission to the program.

Step 4: Supporting Documents

In order to complete your application, you must upload your other supporting documents (listed below). Once you have received your Lakehead username/ID# and password you will be able to activate your Lakehead University MyInfo 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 of the field of study and the literature 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) 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.

4) Proof of English Language Proficiency

English is the primary language of communication and instruction in the program. Applicants from other countries who 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.

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.