Adult Learning and Education (ALE) Graduate Program

 

UBC Adult Learning and Education Mission

“[Adult Education is] the entire body of organized educational processes, whatever the content, level and method, whether formal or otherwise, whether they prolong or replace initial education in schools, colleges and universities as well as in apprenticeship, whereby persons regarded as adult by the society to which they belong develop their abilities, enrich their knowledge, improve their technical or professional qualifications or turn them in a new direction and bring about changes in their attitudes or behaviour in the twofold perspective of full personal development and participation in balanced and independent social, economic and cultural development.]”

The ALE programs are concerned with the development of scholars and practitioners who will shape society in ways that promote lifelong education for all. Students learn about a wide variety of theoretical, conceptual and philosophical perspectives. Our program has its roots in traditions of social welfare, community development and extension education. Degrees in adult education were first awarded at UBC in 1957, making this program the first in Canada and one of the oldest in North America. The department’s Coolie Verner Memorial Reading Room, which honours our program’s first professor Dr. Verner, is an important collection of print materials related to the development of adult education as a field of study and area of professional practice.

Students enter our programs with a wide variety of educational backgrounds and interests and bring experience in a wide range of contexts including: business, international development, community development, higher education, adult basic education, ESL, and social movements. Some of the topics students have pursued include:

  • patient and health education
  • gender issues & women’s learning (career and social activism)
  • online learning
  • workplace learning
  • intercultural & multicultural issues in adult learning
  • anti-oppression adult education
  • program planning
  • adult literacy and English as an Additional Language
  • environmental adult education
  • internationalization & international students

Download a list of alumni theses here

We have three ALE programs including a Diploma (undergraduate online program), a campus-based MEd program (professional practice focus), and an online MEd program (ALGC; focused on adult learning and global change).

In addition, adult learning and education can be selected as the concentration for the MA and PhD programs.

Download the ALE program flyer.


Diploma in Adult Learning and Education

This 30 credit undergraduate program is designed for professionals wishing to acquire new skills or to build on their current knowledge base regarding adult learning. The Diploma in Adult Learning and Education is particularly appropriate for those who do not want to pursue a graduate degree but are interested in developing skills and knowledge in organizing, conducting, evaluating or administering programs for adult learners.

Masters of Education Program in Adult Learning and Education

The program is a campus-based 30 credit professional degree program for aspiring adult education practitioners who may already be (or wish to be) working as instructors, program planners, consultants, community activists or administrators in a variety of settings. Students learn about ALE history and different philosophical approaches, theories of adult learning, and approaches to program planning and are encouraged to improve their specific area of practice and contribute to public discussions about the significance of adult learning in relation to the economy, social inclusion, community development and cultural diversity.

Masters of Education Program in Adult Learning and Global Change (ALGC)

We also have a completely online 30 credit MEd program that focuses on adult learning and global change. For more information about that program go to the ALGC page.

MA in Educational Studies with Adult Learning and Education Concentration

The MA in EDST is a department-wide program. This research-based degree allows students to undertake original research on a topic of their choosing under the guidance of a supervisor and research committee. For more information about the MA program go to the MA page.


Student Profile

Jay Penner

“Through the diploma program I explored the diverse and multifaceted world of adult education and applied the knowledge to my work in planning programs and workshops. The program was flexible enough to fit with my schedule, and still allowed for me to finish relatively quickly – overall it was a very rewarding experience.”

Jay Penner
ALE Diploma Graduate, 2011

Program Requirements and Course Descriptions

ALE Diploma Requirements

All core courses are offered online; the entire program may be completed through distance education.

Core Courses (12 credits)

  • ADHE 327 (3) Teaching Adults
  • ADHE 329 (3) Developing Short Courses, Workshops and Seminars
  • ADHE 330 (3) The Community Practice of Adult Education
  • ADHE 412 (3) An Overview of Adult Education

Elective Courses (18 credits) In addition to the core courses students must take 18 credits of elective coursework. These courses could include those chosen from the online University Calendar which contains courses such as CNPS (Counselling Psychology)  and EPSE (Education Psychology and Special Education).  Some CNPS and EPSE courses we recommend are:

  • CNPS 363, 364, 365, 433
  • EPSE 303

MEd Program Requirements

Core courses (campus-based): 9 credits

  • EDST 503  (3) Historical and Philosophical Foundations of Adult Learning and Education
  • EDST 514 (3) Adult Education Program Planning Theory
  • EDST 518 (3) Theory and Research on Adult Learning
  • Research Methods: MEd students also complete a 3-credit graduate-level research methods course, either EDUC 500 or methodology another course approved by their advisor.

Electives: (15-18 credits)

MEd students also complete 15-18 credits of elective course work which could include other courses within EDST programs, courses offered in other Faculty of Education departments, and from other UBC departments and faculties. Electives can also include a self-directed reading course (EDST 580) and a practicum course (EDST 561). Students should consult with their advisor before pursuing electives.

MEd students can complete their program choosing three options:

a)      complete a 3-credit graduating paper* (EDST 590)

b)      complete the 3-credit capstone course (EDST 553); EDST 501 is prerequisite.

c)      complete 18 credits of elective courses approved by their adviser.

*Graduating Paper: A 3-credit graduating paper is an in-depth exploration of a topic of interest to the student which usually involves a thorough review of relevant literature and can also involve the creation of policy, curricula, and other materials relevant for the student’s area of practice. Length of written papers varies and depends on the topic. The graduating project can take the form of:

  • A synthesis or critical analysis of some professionally relevant literature
  • An exploration of a practice-based problem that culminates in a proposal for addressing the problem
  • An application of theory to a specific adult education problem
  • A critical analysis of existing policies or programs, culminating in a proposal for an innovative program
  • A personally relevant creative project that also has adult educational application and relevance
  • The production of multi-media materials to be used in an adult educational context
  • Or some other possibility to be discussed with your adviser

Although a formal written paper may be submitted, we also encourage the production of a variety of educational resources materials, exhibitions, journal and magazine articles, multi-media and oral presentations, performances, videos, etc., that can be shared with an audience of adult educators. A written summary document/guide that identifies the need for the project, describes its content, and lists source materials, must accompany all non-print submissions.

For those MEd students who do not wish to write a graduating paper, 18 credits of electives are required (for a total of 30 credits).

Adult Learning and Global Change MEd

For more information about requirements go to ALGC

MA Program Requirements

For more information about the MA program go to Master of Arts degree.

Core Courses (9 credits):

  • EDST 571 (6) Educational Research: Relating Questions, Theory and Methodology (spanning two Winter I & II terms)
  • EDST 572 Research, Writing, and Representation (summer term)
  • Research Methods Course (3 credits) – to be determined in consultation with advisor

ALE Program Concentration courses (9 credits)

  • EDST 503 Foundations of Adult Education
  • EDST 514 Program Planning Theory
  • EDST 518 Theories of Adult Learning
  • Electives (3 credits): to be determined in consultation with advisor

Thesis (6 credits)

Total: 30 credits

Adult Learning and Education Course Descriptions

ADHE 327 Teaching Adults

Planning, conducting and evaluating instruction for adults. Consideration is given to different beliefs and ways of thinking about teaching

ADHE 329 Developing Short Courses, Workshops and Seminars

Organization and administration of adult education events such as short courses, seminars, workshops, conferences and institutes.

ADHE 330 The Community Practice of Adult Education

Community based adult education with particular emphasis on the application of knowledge of the social, economic, cultural and political environment in developing and conducting adult education programs with an for individuals and groups.

ADHE 412 An Overview of Adult Education

Survey of adult education theory and practice in Canada and the world. The focus is on the purpose and participation in, adult education, characteristics of learners, and the training of adult educators.

EDST 503 Foundations of Adult Learning and Education
This course explores the meanings and different philosophies of adult education, how it has functioned to serve diverse interests (e.g. state, civil society, economic or market forces), and examines some historical examples in Canada and elsewhere.

EDST 514 Adult Education Program Planning Theory
The purpose of this course is to provide an opportunity to study the process of program planning from theoretical, conceptual, and philosophical perspectives with the intent of promoting more informed, insightful and reflective practice.

EDST 516 Adult Education and Community
The purpose of this course is to examine adult learning activities and programs that are located in, generated by, and serve the interests of specific communities. Attention is given to adult learning activities that occur outside of formal educational institutions including learning in social movements.

EDST 518 Theory and Research on Adult Learning
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to social theories of learning including an understanding of how learning is a process of acquisition and participation and how competence and identity are learned within communities of practice.

EDST 520 Perspectives on Adult Education Practice
This course serves as a kind of special topics course and thus varies in its focus. Some of the topics explored have included social movement learning, community service learning, and workplace learning.

EDST 535 International and Comparative Adult Education
This course is designed for all those interested in understanding contemporary theories and research in comparative and international adult education. Participants in the course will gain a solid grounding in the traditions and methods of comparative education and have the chance to apply these to topics of both individual and shared interest.

EDST 575 Work and Learning
This course examines the impact of economics and globalization on workplaces and adult learning.


Applying

ALE Diploma

Applicants should have two years of experience designing and delivering learning experiences for adults which could include adult learning that occurs in workplaces, community organizations, civil society groups, international development, and government services, to name a few. This experience can be paid or voluntary or a mix of the two. Because adult education occurs in diverse business, community and numerous other settings, applicants for this program do not need to be qualified teachers; however, teachers are also welcome. Persons with relevant experience will be considered even if they do not have an undergraduate degree.

While we accept applications on an ongoing basis, applicants should apply well before the start of the term in which students which to enroll. Forms are obtainable from:

The Administrator Diploma Program in Adult Education Department of Educational Studies The University of British Columbia 2125 Main Mall, Vancouver BC  V6T 1Z4

For more information, contact Jeannie Young, Adult Education Diploma Program secretary, at 604.822.5881 or jeannie.young@ubc.ca.

ALE Graduate Programs

All graduate program applicants in the Department of Educational Studies (EDST) must meet the minimum entry requirements established by the Faculty of Graduate Studies, which oversees graduate work at UBC. Applicants who do not meet the minimum requirements will be considered for admission only in exceptional circumstances.

For admission to the ALE program, an undergraduate degree in education is not a requirement, however some experience (1–2 years), be it paid or voluntary, with designing, organizing, administering programs for adult learners is required.

Application Deadlines

See here for application deadline dates

General Eligibility

To be eligible for admission to a master’s degree program at UBC, applicants must hold a four-year bachelor’s degree (apart from applicants from Quebec) with a minimum overall average in the B+ range (at UBC 76%) in third- and fourth-year courses prescribed by the Department concerned as prerequisite to the master’s program.

English Requirements

English Proficiency Test Score: Applicants whose degrees are from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must present evidence of competency to pursue studies in the English language prior to being extended an offer of admission. Acceptable English language proficiency tests for applicants to graduate studies are:

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): Minimum score of 600 (paper version), 250 (computer version), 100 (iTB) is required for admission to all programs in Educational Studies. Visit TOEFL’s website

IELTS (International English Language Testing Service): Minimum overall band score of 6.5 with no other component score less than 6.0.

MELAB (Michigan English Language Assessment Battery): Minimum overall score of 81.

The applicants must have an official report of their score on one of these tests sent directly from the testing service to the Graduate Program Assistant, Department of Educational Studies at the address below by the application deadline. Score reports more than two years old will not be accepted.

Process

The number of graduate students who can be accommodated is limited and only the best qualified applicants can hope to secure places. To ensure that all applicants are treated equitably, your application will go through several stages before a decision is made on acceptance or rejection. Once your transcripts have been reviewed to determine if you are eligible for admission to graduate study at UBC, several faculty members in scholarly areas related to your area of interest will read your application and individually assess your suitability for admission.

As well as evaluating all components of your application, we must be convinced by the statement of intent that your academic interests are congruent with those of the department and the ALE program, that your background is adequate for graduate work in your area of interest, and that the department and university possess the necessary resources for you to complete the degree.

You will be informed of the department’s decision by March 31. The department must recommend other applicants to the Faculty of Graduate Studies for admission. If you are admitted conditionally, subject to completing a degree in progress or courses, these conditions will be included in the offer of admission. Successful applicants are asked to inform the department as soon as possible whether they are accepting a place in the Department of Educational Studies. If you decide to accept our offer, you should contact your assigned protem advisor who helps you put together plan a program of study.

Components of an Application

Applications should be submitted online at www.grad.ubc.ca/apply/online. All of the following components of an application must be received by the department’s Graduate Program Assistant before the file can be reviewed by the appropriate admissions committee.

a. Online UBC application form. When you submit an online application at www.grad.ubc.ca/apply/online, the completed form is automatically forwarded to the Graduate Program Assistant. Non-refundable processing fee payable to UBC. See the cover of the official UBC application form for the exact amount.

b. TWO original, official copies of transcripts from each and every college or university that you have previously attended or are currently attending. These must be sent directly from the issuing institution to the Department of Educational Studies. Photocopies are not acceptable. All transcripts from non-English-speaking countries must be accompanied by official certified English translations. Applicants sending transcripts from an institution in the People’s Republic of China must also send an official degree certificate in both Chinese and English. For information on submitting international transcripts please go to www.grad.ubc.ca/prospective-students/application-admission/international-students-transcripts. Without complete documentation, the application review process cannot begin.

c. Three references – The purpose of the references is to give as complete an idea as possible of your relevant background and capacity to complete the degree. At least two of the references should be from course instructors or other persons who are able to assess your academic ability. Other suitable referees include a supervisor, principal, or other person to whom you are, or have been, accountable in employment or as a volunteer. The reference letters must be in English. If the original letter is in another language, the letter must be accompanied by a certified English translation. There are three possible formats for references:

  • Electronic references: In the online application system, applicants are asked to provide an email address for each referee. (Please note that we are unable to accept emails from Hotmail, Yahoo, GMail, MSN or other free email accounts for referees.) Once the online application has been submitted, a unique link will be emailed to each referee, allowing her or him to log in to a secure site and submit an online reference or upload a reference document as an attachment.
  • Paper letters of reference: Your referee may wish to send a paper letter. Paper letters of reference should be on referee’s official letterhead and must be mailed directly to the relevant program (see address below) in a sealed and endorsed envelope by the referee.
  • Paper reference forms: UBC provides a general reference form. Your referee may fill out this form and mail it directly to the relevant program in a sealed and endorsed envelope.

d. Statement of intent. You need to describe in one to two pages your specific interests in pursuing a graduate degree and precisely why you are applying to the Department of Educational Studies and to the ALE program. This statement should highlight the following:

MEd Applicants:

  • your education and work background
  • your experiences related to organizing, designing, and/or providing adult learning experiences (paid or volunteer)
  • why the ALE program is a good match for your background and interests
  • a description of the skills and knowledge in the field of adult learning and education you wish to develop through the program

MA (ALE Concentration) Applicants:

  • your education and work background
  • your experiences related to organizing, designing, and/or providing adult learning experiences (paid or volunteer)
  • why the ALE program is a good match for your background and interests
  • description of your research topic or area of enquiry
  • name(s) of faculty member(s) with whom the applicant has contact and/or may be suitable as research supervisor

Writing Sample

You must provide a writing sample that will serve as evidence of your potential to write at the graduate level in EDST. Normally, the writing sample is 10 to 20 pages in length (e.g., course paper). Please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope if you wish to have submissions returned.

To ensure that all materials have arrived safely, you may want to contact the department’s Graduate Program Assistant at 604.822.6647 or email grad.edst@ubc.ca.

International Applicants

Applicants from outside Canada should be aware of additional requirements that may apply. Please read the following to determine which of these requirements may apply to you.

English Proficiency Test Score: Applicants whose degrees are from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must present evidence of competency to pursue studies in the English language prior to being extended an offer of admission. Acceptable English language proficiency tests for applicants to graduate studies are:

  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): Minimum score of 600 (paper version), 250 (computer version), 100 (ITB) is required for admission to all programs in Educational Studies. Visit TOEFL’s website
  • IELTS (International English Language Testing Service): Minimum overall band score of 6.5 with no other component score less than 6.0.
  • MELAB (Michigan English Language Assessment Battery): Minimum overall score of 81. The applicants must have an official report of their score on one of these tests sent directly from the testing service to the Graduate Program Assistant, Department of Educational Studies at the address below by the application deadline. Score reports more than two years old will not be accepted.

Documents not in English

If any transcripts or diplomas/certificates or letters of reference submitted with an application are not in English, then official documents (not photocopies) must be submitted along with certified translations in English.

All documents are to be sent directly to the department you are applying to from the issuing institution.

Entering Canada

To enter Canada, a “Student Authorization” (Student Visa) is required. Apply as soon as possible to the nearest Canadian Consular or Immigration Office since it may take 8–10 weeks for processing. For applicants applying from the People’s Republic of China it may take 3–6 months. Applying for a Student Authorization requires a UBC letter of admission/acceptance; a valid passport; and evidence of adequate funds for tuition, maintenance of the student and, if married, the student’s spouse and children, plus travel funds to and from Canada. Please consult the Immigration Canada website: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/index.asp.

If the application for a visa is approved, the UBC letter of admission/acceptance will be returned to the student and must be retained for presentation to the Immigration Officer at the Canadian point of entry.

Submitting an Application

All components of the application should be submitted to the department’s graduate program assistant at the following address:

Graduate Program Assistant
Department of Educational Studies
2125 Main Mall
Faculty of Education
The University of British Columbia
Vancouver BC  V6T 1Z4

Tel: 604.822.6647
Fax: 604.822.4244
Email: grad.edst@ubc.ca

Questions and Answers

What’s the difference between an MA and an MEd program?

The MA is designed for students interested in learning more about conducting research and going on to a PhD. The core courses for MA students wanting to specialize in adult education are the same as the core courses for MEd ALE students. MA students must take other required MA courses, find a committee, prepare a research proposal and conduct their research and write up the results and defend their thesis, so the program tends to take longer than the MEd.

The MEd program is for those students whose primary interest is in developing or further developing their professional practice. MEd students complete their programs either by writing a gradating paper (EDST 590) which could be an extended essay on a particular topic that includes a review of relevant literature or perhaps the creation of a curriculum or policy that is directly relevant to their workplace. The other option is for students to take EDST 501 and 553 where they work with a group on a small scale study that leads to improved practice.

Can I transfer credits?

UBC policy allows a transfer of up to 12 credits to a graduate program under certain conditions.

  • these credits have not been applied to a diploma or certificate or other degree
  • the courses are at a senior undergraduate or graduate level (grad programs allow 6 credits of senior undergraduate courses)
  • the courses have been completed within five years of the student’s graduate program start
  • the courses have been completed at a recognized institution
  • the courses haven’t been used to improve the GPA of the applicant

Please check the Faculty of Graduate Studies policy on this www.grad.ubc.ca/faculty-staff/policies-procedures/transfer-credit

Are the courses available online?

Currently the graduate courses in EDST, including those in the Adult Ed program, are all delivered face to face on campus. For your electives you can take online courses. Some of the Masters in Technology courses could be taken but permission is needed from the administration of that program so contact Jeannie Young for help with that. The required courses in our Diploma in Education (ADHE 327, 329, 330 & 412) are all online; you could take two of those courses as you can have a maximum of 6 credits of senior undergraduate courses as part of your master’s program. For more information go to http://pdce.educ.ubc.ca/courses/online-courses

Please note that we have a master’s program in adult education called Adult Learning and Global Change (ALGC) that is entirely online. For more information about that program go to Adult Learning and Global Change.

Can I take courses from another university?

Yes, you can take courses without having to register at the university, if the other university is part of UBC’s Western Dean’s agreement. You’ll need permission from the other institution and the course instructor plus from UBC and the grad adviser in EDST. There is a form to be completed

http://www.grad.ubc.ca/sites/default/files/forms/registration_western_deans.pdf

http://www.grad.ubc.ca/current-students/student-status-classification/vi…

What jobs will I get with this degree?

Graduates with an MEd or MA in Adult Education are highly regarded in the field. There is no one institution, similar to teachers in the K–12 school system, where adult educators practice their craft. And there is no overarching regulatory body that requires adult educators to have certain credentials. The exception is if you are going to teach adult education courses, such as Adult Basic Education, in BC schools. For these jobs you must have teacher certification. Thus adult education positions can be found in a wide variety of contexts and institutions including: college teaching and program planning, continuing education, human resource development, government, health care, international development agencies, and community-based organizations. Most of our students are studying part time and continue to work in their respective institutions where the designing of programs and teaching of adults is often part of their duties. Once they complete their program, many part-time students, with an advanced degree, get a promotion. Some of our graduates change their areas of practice quite significantly and move into new environments. If you see a position that appeals to you as an adult educator, take note of the required qualifications. You can also engage in information interviews, meeting with staff of organizations where you would like to work, exploring with them what kinds of experience, skills, knowledge and credentials they are looking for in their hiring processes.

What if I move away from Vancouver, can I complete the program?

It is possible to complete your UBC degree after you move away from Vancouver. It’s important to discuss this with your pro tem adviser and/or the program coordinator. If you have not completed your course work, in particular your electives, you can take a directed reading (EDST 580), and take courses from other universities through the Western Dean’s Agreement (see above).http://www.grad.ubc.ca/sites/default/files/forms/registration_western_de…

There is a form you must complete with various signatures at UBC and at the host institution. Chris Adams, the Graduate Program Assistant (grad.edst@ubc.ca) can help you with that paperwork.

There is also the option of taking online courses—quite a few are offered at the grad level at Athabasca U. We also offer the required courses of our Adult Education Diploma Program online (ADHE 330, 327, 329 and 412). See above for the regulations for undergraduate credits in a masters program.

Can I take undergraduate courses as part of my master’s degree?

Yes, you can take up to 6 credits at a senior undergraduate level (e.g., third or fourth year) for your master’s degree. As with other issues noted above, please check with your pro tem adviser before registering for these courses.

Can I take a leave from my studies?

Yes, you can request a leave for four, eight or twelve months from your MEd program (the maximum leave is twelve months; exceptions are if your leave relates to matters of health or maternity). If you become ill or a member of your family is sick, or if you have a change in jobs, or you have a child, or another situation that prevents you from devoting your attention to your studies, please get in touch with your pro tem adviser or the graduate adviser of EDST. Paperwork can be submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies (FoGS) requesting a leave from your program. During this time you will pay a smaller continuing fee. NB: You are not to use the resources of the university while on leave so your library card will be inactive during your leave. If you are receiving a student loan, these funds will not be distributed during your leave. You also cannot receive a scholarship during your leave.

Who are the faculty?

Shauna Butterwick, Jennifer Chan, André Mazawi, Dan Pratt, Kjell Rubenson, Tom Sork,  Hongxia Shan, Pierre Walter, and Rob VanWynsberghe.

Who are the admin team?

Adult Education Program Coordinator ale.coordinator@ubc.ca

Jeannie Young (jeannie.young@ubc.ca) Program Secretary

Contact Us

For more information about this program, the department and admission procedures can be found at http://edst.educ.ubc.ca or by contacting

Sandra Abah, Graduate Program Assistant

Department of Educational Studies
Faculty of Education
The University of British Columbia
2125 Main Mall Vancouver, BC  V6T 1Z4
Tel: 604.822.6647
Fax: 604.822.4244
Email: grad.edst@ubc.ca

or

Program Coordinator
Email: pierre.walter@ubc.ca