The PhD program requires a minimum of 9 graduate courses (0.5 unit weight) beyond the Honours BA level. These must include:
- at least one course in each of the three areas of concentration (Administration and Management of Services, Leisure Behaviour and Cultural Studies, and Recreation and Leisure Resources)
- an advanced research methods course REC 792
- the doctoral seminar REC 700 (Foundations of Knowledge in Leisure Studies)
Students entering the PhD program following completion of the MA degree in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies (University of Waterloo), or its equivalent, will usually have already completed 5 of the 9 required courses, and therefore will need a minimum of 4 additional (0.5 unit weight) graduate courses. Elective courses can be selected from those offered by the Department (typically offered once every 2 years), a "Selected Topics" or "Internship" course, or a graduate course at either the 600 or 700 level from another social science department at the University of Waterloo.
Students entering the PhD program should arrange to meet with their supervisor and the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies as soon as possible after their arrival to talk about specific course selection for their program of study.
The PhD program may be completed either on a full-time or part-time basis, but must be completed within the following time periods from completion of the MA degree unless an extension has been granted (See Graduate Studies Calendar, Academic Regulations, Time Limits):
- Full-time - 12 terms
- Part-time - 18 terms
Students seeking admission to the PhD program should indicate in the letter of application who would be appropriate as a faculty advisor. Based on student and faculty research interests and availability, each student will be assigned an interim advisor when first admitted. This interim advisor, in consultation with the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies, will assist in determining an individualized program of study for the student. The interim advisor may become the supervisor for the comprehensive examination and for the doctoral thesis.
The purpose of the comprehensive examinations is to ensure that doctoral candidates have a broad and comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the field of Recreation and Leisure Studies, including: 1) different methodological and analytical approaches used in the field, and 2) the broad substantive areas of leisure and cultural behaviour, recreation and leisure resources, and policy/management. The process is designed to enable candidates to develop/acquire a solid grounding in and understanding of leisure studies. This then provides a foundation for the critical analysis demanded by the dissertation proposal and final defence.
The comprehensive examination consists of one written and one oral examination, and the process will normally be completed over a period of six months.
A PhD thesis proposal is required of all PhD students after passing the comprehensive examinations, and before proceeding to data collection. The proposal should contain a detailed statement of the research problem and its significance for a body of leisure-related theory, a precise account of the methodology or research techniques to be employed, plus a detailed outline of the proposed data analyses. The candidate will be required to present and defend this proposal before the thesis committee. The final thesis report based on the completed research must also be successfully defended to satisfy the thesis requirement.
A review of each student's progress takes place during the month of May each year. Students are evaluated on several criteria, i.e., coursework and resulting grades, progress with regard to the comprehensive examination and thesis work and, where appropriate, reports submitted by the students regarding their research and teaching assistantship activity. A grade average of at least 75% must be maintained.