Degree Requirements – HPER

Students will be required to complete a minimum of ten (10) half-credit (0.5 FCE) courses (including a comprehensive examination), a research thesis proposal, and a thesis.

Five (5) half-credit (0.5 FCE) courses will be core courses, four (4) half-credit (0.5FCE) courses will be electives and one (1) half-credit (0.5 FCE) will be the comprehensive course.

Students meet annually with their supervisor and the HPER Program Director to review their progress and to plan course work and other activities for the following year.

The following items are required for all students:

HAD5011H: Canada’s Health Care System
This course provides an overview of Canada’s rapidly changing and increasingly politicized health care environment. Students will develop policy analysis skills and mastery of a variety of analytical approaches.

Hot Topics in Health Professions Education Research (Comprehensive Course)
The course will examine some of the hot topics in the field of health professions education research, highlighting how these are being examined from a variety of disciplinary perspectives and helping students understand some of the current foci, controversies in the field. Topics may include: The role of health professional  training in contemporary society; current theories on learning and skill development; the socio-politics of knowledge production in health; simulation and e-learning in the health professions; the social organization of the health professions and inter-professionalism; formative and summative assessment of performance, the social construction of the medical curriculum and the hidden curriculum; the study of competence and expertise; the effects of globalization on health professions education among other topics.

HAD6501H: Introduction to Methods/ Methodologies for HPER
This course provides an introduction to research methods and designs relevant to health professions education research. The course introduces the elements of the research process and includes a survey of quantitative and qualitative approaches. It will expose students to the planning and design of common research methodologies in HPE. In the process, students will learn to situate their own research interests and develop the competence to design and carry out their own research

HAD6500H: Essential Skills in HPER
This course is a professional development course. It will provide students with information and experiences on how to write a successful grant application, ethics application, how to write abstracts and papers, and will encourage critical reading of the health professions literature. It will also include oral presentations skills, career planning and other topics and experiences of interest to HPER students.

Plus one (1) of:

  1. HAD6502H: Survey of Critical and Interpretive Social Science Theory for HPER
    The course will provide an overview of key theories and theorists in the Critical and Interpretive Social Sciences stream in the interdisciplinary field of Health Professions Education.
  2. HAD6503H: Survey of Cognitive & Behavioural Sciences Theory for HPER
    The course will provide an overview of key theories in the Cognitive, Behavioural & Epidemiological Sciences stream in the interdisciplinary field of Health Professions Education.

Plus one (1) of:

  1. HAD6504H: Intermediate Critical and Interpretive Social Science Methods/ Methodologies for HPER
    This course will immerse students into the variety of research methods social scientists use in HPE research.  The course will start with an overview of the concepts of ontology, epistemology and methodology. Then, various data collection and analytical approaches will be introduced. Exploration of approaches may include, grounded theory traditions, ethnographic traditions, critical approaches, textual and discourse analytical approaches. Students will also gain deeper exposure to conducting observations, interviews, surveys and other data collections approaches used in social science research.
  2. HAD6505H: Intermediate Cognitive & Behavioural Sciences Methods/Methodologies for HPER
    This course will expose student to the various research designs used in experimental methods, including randomized control trials and quasi-experimental designs, as well as regression and survey designs. The course will then cover statistical analyses, including an introduction to descriptive and inferential statistics, review of parametric and non-parametric statistical tests. The focus will be on providing students with the ability to match experimental designs to the research question, and to select appropriate statistical tests for various experimental and association research designs.

Elective Courses

  • Clinical Reasoning and Expertise
  • Motor Learning and Control
  • Pierre Bourdieu’s Social Theory
  • Foucault and the Health Professions
  • Advanced Statistics Regression Designs
  • Globalization and its Effects in Health Professions Education
  • Historical and Textual Approaches in Health Professions Education Research
  • Institutional Ethnography for Health Professions Research
  • Instructional Innovations in Health Professions Education (HPE)
  • Constructivist Grounded Theory Methodology in Health Professional Research
  • Assessment of Competency
  • Research with Big Data Sets
  • Proposal Development/ Academic Writing


The purpose of the dissertation is to undertake an original theory-driven investigation characterized by rigorous methodology and capable of making a significant contribution to knowledge about the subject under study. The dissertation supervisor must have their primary graduate appointment in the Institute of HPME. The dissertation process includes:

  1. Preparation and oral defence of a dissertation proposal
  2. Preparation of the written dissertation
  3. Presentation and oral defence of the dissertation.