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PhD in Health & Society

Students take a critical, interdisciplinary, and social science perspective in the study of health, illness, and health care.

The Department of Health, Aging & Society has recently changed the degree name from PhD in Health Studies to PhD to Health & Society.

Health & Society

Our PhD in Health Studies gives students theoretical and methodological expertise in integrating knowledge and critical approaches to research from a broad range of disciplines in the social sciences.
The PhD program in Health & Society will apply this perspective to analysing and understanding health as a:
  1. a social and cultural process;
  2. a construct;
  3. an outcome.
It's the combination of these three perspectives, the ways that they interact with and build on one another, and a focus on both the social structural and cultural dimensions of health that makes the program distinctive.
Our program is unique and allows students to develop and pursue broader research interests that may be outside the typical focus on public health, demography and service management.

Program Details

The Program

The PhD in Health & Society takes 4 years to complete. Students are required to complete course work (six courses) in their first year of study. All doctoral students will be required to participate in a non-credit research and professional development seminar.

Students will take a comprehensive exam in their area of concentration in Health Studies. The purpose of the exam is to ensure that the student has a sufficient grasp of the relevant scholarly literature in her/his area of research interest and that she/he is able to synthesize and communicate this literature in a critically insightful way. The comprehensive exam will also have an oral component (defence of the written answers) and will be assessed by the supervisory committee.

Candidates for the PhD degree will present a thesis which shows competence in original research and will be required to defend it during a final oral examination.

Application Deadline: January 15 for September entry

Contact Us

For additional information regarding the PhD program, please contact Kristine Espiritu (Graduate Administrative Assistant): or 905-525-9140 x27035.


Applications will be accepted starting in November. Admission to the PhD program requires an average of B+ or better, in a Master’s degree in a related health and/or social sciences discipline. Applicants normally have demonstrated interest and experience in critical approaches to health. Admission to the Ph.D. program in Health & Society will normally be on a full-time basis only.

Applicants are encouraged to contact faculty members in the Department regarding potential PhD supervision as well as the PhD program.

All applications will be submitted to the Department’s Graduate Admissions Committee. You will be expected to include:

  1. all academic transcripts sent directly from the issuing institution;
  2. two confidential letters of recommendation from instructors most familiar with your academic work;
  3. statement of interest (3-4 pages maximum);
  4. a sample of writing;
  5. resumé/CV.

If English is not your native language, an official copy of your TOEFL score or other evidence of competency in English must also be submitted.

Admission Details