The Culture, Health, and Human Development Program is an interdisciplinary program that combines expertise in social, cultural, health and lifespan developmental psychology, as well as medical, psychological, and cultural anthropology. The program offers both Masters and PhD degrees in psychology, and provides students with the skills and knowledge to conduct social scientific research in a variety of cultural contexts.

The program has three core faculty members, several affiliates from other programs and departments, and approximately 12 graduate students. Members of the program examine cultural issues related to human development, physical and mental health and well-being, and indigenous peoples, employing qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. As well, faculty and students conduct research in rural and urban communities, academic settings, workplace environments, institutions, and health facilities at local, national, and international levels.

The Culture, Health, and Human Development program emphasizes and values intellectual flexibility and openness to diverse approaches and worldviews.

About Culture, Health, and Human Development

This is a comprehensive program which is built upon interdisciplinary research and training with primary strengths in lifespan developmental, social, cultural, and health psychology, as well as cultural, psychological, and medical anthropology. We believe that concepts such as culture, health, and human development are complex and multifaceted.

Human Development...

Traditionally, human development has been concerned with the conditions under which humans can develop to their full potential by achieving milestones and stages. In the program, however, we examine critically how such traditional concepts of development can result in the inclusion and exclusion of people.


Culture is understood to reflect the range of historical, social, ethnic, political and economic contexts and processes within which human development takes place. Typically, we now think of culture not so much in terms of national and ethnic boundaries, but at the level of daily lives and lived experience where cultural processes play out.


The understanding of health has evolved from biomedical ideas of health as the mere absence of illness to the view of health as dynamic, involving the interplay of biological, psychological, cultural, and social processes.

Goals of the program: 

The program aims to expose students to the diverse theoretical and methodological perspectives that form the foundation for, and challenge, the assumptions of research in the area of culture, health, and human development. This means putting interdisciplinary into action: we encourage students to seek out ideas on specific topics that will transcend their own discipline and/or theoretical background.

Specifically, the program is designed to:

  • Familiarize students with the current theoretical debates at the intersections of culture, health, and human development.
  • Train students to undertake research in a variety of cultural contexts and be able to conduct their research in academic , institutional, or community settings.
  • Foster an environment in which students can challenge their personal worldviews, and recognize and critically analyze their own intellectual assumptions, thereby promoting new ways of thinking about old questions.

Program of Study

Degrees and Programs Offered

There are two degrees offered to the Culture, Health, and Human Development Program: Master of Arts (Psychology) and a Doctor of Philosophy (Psychology).  Students who wish to complete only a Master of Arts Degree (ie., terminal Master's), should enroll in the M.A. program. Students who wish to complete a Ph.D. may enroll in either the M.A./Ph.D. Transfer program (if they have completed a Bachelor's degree in Psychology or a relevant field) or the Ph.D. program (if they have completed a Master's degree in Psychology or a relevant field).


Master of Arts (M.A.) - Culture, Health, & Human Development

  • The M.A. program is designed for students interested in a brief exploration of culture and human development across the lifespan. The program promotes interdisciplinarity and mixed method approach within a Psychology framework.

Admission Requirements

  • Undergraduate Honours degree in any relevant field
  • Honours training should demonstrate a substantial research component
  • TOEFL (for international students) 550 for paper or 213 for computer version
  • GREs are not required.

Degree Requirements (15 credit units)

 Required Courses (6 credit units):

  • PSY 803.3 (Culture and Human Development)
  • One of PSY 805.3, PSY 809.3, PSY 810.3, ERES 840.3, ERES 841.1, ERES 845.3, EPSE 843.3, ANTH 802.3, NURS 893.3,, or any quantitative or qualitative research methods course as approved by the Department

Electives (9 credit units)

  • Elective courses may be chosen to fit with a student's program of research and academic goals, and should be discussed with the student's supervisor

Required Non-Credit Courses

  • PSY 900.0 (Culture, Health, and Human Development Seminar). Please note: Students are required to register and attend PSY 900 for two years.
  • PSY 994.0 Master's Thesis Research (thesis based upon original research)
  • GSR 960.0  (Introduction to Ethics and Integrity)
  • GSR 961.0 (if research involves human subjects)


MA/PhD Transfer program - Culture, Health, & Human Development

  • The Culture, Health, and Human development program offers an M.A./Ph.D transfer program. The program is designed for students interested in completing a PhD exploring the intersection of culture and human development across the lifespan. The program promotes interdisciplinary and a mixed methods approach within a Psychology framework. Students can undertake research work locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally.

Admission Requirements

  • Undergraduate Honours degree in any relevant field.
  • Honours training should demonstrate a substantial research component.
  • TOEFL (for international students) 550 for paper or 213 for computer version.
  • GREs are not required

Degree Requirements (21 credit units)

Required Credit Courses (9 credit units)

  • PSY 803.3 (Culture and Human Development)
  • One of PSY 805.3, PSY 810.3, ERES 840.3, ERES 841.3, ESPS 843.3, or another quantitative research methods course as approved by the Department.
  • One of PSY 809.3, ERES 845.3, ANTH 802.3, NURS 893.3, or another qualitative research methods course as approved by the Department.

Electives (12 credit units)

  • Elective courses may be chosen to fit with a student's program of research and academic goals, and should be discussed with the student's supervisor.

Required Non-Credit Courses

  • PSY 900.0 (Culture, Health and Human Development Seminar). Please note: Students are required to register and attend PSY 900 for four years
  • PSY 996.0  Doctoral Thesis Research (thesis based upon original research)
  • GSR 960.0 (Introduction to Ethics and Integrity)
  • GSR 961.0 (if research involves human subjects)


Choose 9 Credit Units. The following are recommended but not required:

  • PSY 801.3
  • PSY 832.3
  • PSY 810.3
  • PSY 811.3

Other Requirements

  • Transfer to the Ph.D. is predicated on;
  1. Completion of 9 credit units of course work;
  2. Completion of the Master's level project within the first two program years. The Master's project counts as a qualifying exam for entry into the Ph.D. program. See description below for more detail.
  • Comprehensive exams


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) – Culture, Health, & Human Development

  • The Culture, Health and Human Development program offers a direct entry Ph.D. program. The Ph.D program is designed for students who already hold a Master's degree in either Psychology or a related field. Students are expected to undertake in-depth research, theory development, and other scholarly activities at the local, regional, national or international level.

Admission Requirements

  • Master’s degree in any relevant field.
  • TOEFL (for international students) 550 for paper or 213 for computer version.
  • GREs are not required

Degree Requirements (6 credit units)

 Required Credit Courses (at least 6 credit units)

  • Required courses will be determined on a case by case basis, and may exceed 6 credit units depending on the nature of training and coursed completed at the Master’s level.

 Required Non-Credit Courses

  • PSY 900.0  (Culture, Health, and Human Development Seminar). Please note: Students are required to register and attend PSY 900 for two years
  • PSY 996.0 Doctoral Thesis Research (thesis based upon original research)
  • GSR 960.0 (Introduction to Ethics and Integrity)
  • GSR 961.0 (if research involves human subjects)

Other Requirements

  • Comprehensive exams


Policies and Regulations regarding M.A. projects and comprehensive examination

M.A. Project:

Goals and Objectives 

The M.A. project is designed for those students planning to apply for transfer to the Ph.D. program after their first year.  Students also have the option of completing a M.A. thesis and obtaining a Masters degree.  In this case, normal regulations governing the research and production of the thesis shall apply.
The goal of the M.A. project is to provide students with an opportunity to expand upon their undergraduate research training.

This project will involve a critical analysis paper or empirical research project related to the student's dissertation research question. This paper will represent the beginning of a program of research at the doctoral level and will require that students demonstrate an interdisciplinary understanding of both theoretical and methodological aspects of the topic. The specific topic and parameters will be determined by the supervisory committee in consultation with the student during term one of the first year. The Master's project must be completed before the beginning of the first term in year two to allow for transfer to the PhD program. The Master's project will represent the PhD qualifying examination.
The department does not recognize an M.A. project as being equivalent to an M.A. thesis.

Unlike a master's thesis, the Masters project does not consist of an extensive review of the literature and involves greater involvement from the supervisor.  The project is not, therefore, considered to be an "independent" project but, rather, a training opportunity between students and research adviser.  Further, the project provides an opportunity for the student to demonstrate his or her ability to design, implement, and defend an analytical paper or research project.


By the end of the first semester of the first year of graduate study, the Masters student and his or her supervisor will establish a topic area for the research project.  Under the supervisor's guidance, a brief proposal (i.e. a 5 to 10 pages) for a research project will be completed by the student.  Committee members will be identified and a meeting organized to review, comment upon, and approve this brief proposal.  
The project should be conceptually limited in scope to that which could normally constitute an acceptable paper for publication in the student's area of scholarship.  Thus, it is up to the student and his or her supervisor to demonstrate to the advisory committee that the scope of the project (and, inherently, the length of the submitted paper) is sufficiently broad enough to have the possibility to contribute to knowledge.  

Process for Approval of Master's Projects 
Projects will be approved by the student's supervisory committee at a meeting called for this purpose. The student will provide a short (15 minute) presentation of the project, which will be followed by questions by the members of the supervisory committee, and general discussion. The student will then be requested to leave the room while the supervisory committee discusses their evaluation of the project. Once their deliberations have been concluded, the student will be invited to return and receive the evaluation. 
Projects will be evaluated on the following basis:

1.    Approved as is. Transfer to PhD recommended 
2.    Approved with revisions. Revisions to be undertaken in conjunction with the supervisor. Under this category, the project need not go back to the committee. Once the supervisor is satisfied, the student is recommended for transfer to the PhD. 
3.    Requires revisions. The project, in this case, must be reviewed again by the committee. 
4.    Not approved. In this case the supervisory committee will subsequently meet with the student to discuss program options. 

It is an expectation of the Culture and Human Development Program that all students will present a version of their MA projects in the Program seminar series in Term 1 of the year of their transfer to the PhD.

Culture and Human Development PhD Comprehensive Exam Policy 

All regulations of the College of Graduate Studies and Research shall apply.

Purpose: The purpose of the comprehensive exams is to provide students with the opportunity:

1. To demonstrate depth and breadth of knowledge in the area of Culture and Human Development
2. To demonstrate critical thinking skills and intellectual rigour
3. To demonstrate interdisciplinary via a critical synthesis and integration of literature from relevant disciplines on the topics selected
4. To identify and rectify gaps in the student’s knowledge

To meet the stated goals above, students will be required to (a) conduct a thorough review of the literature in two separate content areas that are related to but not directly focused on his/her dissertation topic; (b) to generate two research questions; and (c) complete two separate comprehensive, critical review essays to address each of the research questions raised.  At least one of the topics raised must, clearly, demonstrate an examination of the intersection between Culture and Human Development.  Thus, if a student’s primary area is developmental science, at least one question must examine an issue related to the cultural context for human development.  Similarly, if a students’ primary area is in the area of culture, at least one question must examine an issue related to human development.  
Each paper will present a clear examination of the student’s own perspectives and reflect their position vís a vís the extant theoretical and empirical literature from disciplines relevant to the topic.  Exemplars of the type of paper required for the comprehensive exam can be found in essays written for the following journals:  Psychological Bulletin, Human Development, Journal of Higher Education,  Current Anthropology, Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry, and Ethos. 

Comprehensive exam papers must be typewritten and submitted in hard copy, one copy for each examiner.  Each paper should be no longer than 25 pages (double-spaced), exclusive of references.  Papers should follow appropriate discipline guidelines for publication (e.g., APA).  

Both exams should normally be graded by committee members within one month following completion of the second exam.  
Each exam shall be given one of the following designations: Pass, Revise and Resubmit, and Fail
In the event of Revise and Resubmit, the student shall receive direction from the examiners, as well as his or her supervisor, with respect to the changes which are required. This designation shall only be made when a Pass or Fail does not seem appropriate, and it must be justified.
A student who receives a Fail on any exam will be provided with one additional opportunity to successfully complete another paper on a new topic.  Both exams must receive a Pass in order to meet the comprehensive exam requirement. The student must present one of the exams to the CHD seminar series, to be determined in consultation with his/her supervisor. This presentation is not subject to evaluation

1. The candidate’s dissertation advisor will identify comprehensive committee members in consultation with the graduate student.  Committee membership will include the dissertation advisor and two faculty members from the Culture and Human Development program or any other qualified faculty members who are also member of CGSR.  The dissertation advisor will serve as coordinator of the comprehensive exams, assist in determining the area of examination, and as consultant to the student but will not serve as an examiner for the exam.  The committee members (2) will serve as examiners for both exam papers. However, there may be situations in which the examination committee is expanded to three members in order to include the expertise of a particular examiner. In such cases, the committee will determine which two members are responsible for each question.  
2. At least one member of the comprehensive examination committee should not also be a member of the supervisory committee. However, this policy recognizes that it is most imperative that comprehensive examination committee members have the necessary expertise to guide the student and evaluate the examinations. Therefore it is possible that the examination committee may consist of members who are also members of the supervisory committee.
3. The comprehensive exam is normally written  after all required course work is completed and prior to approval of the student’s Ph.D. proposal
4. The comprehensive exams will proceed as follows:
a. The examination committee, in consultation with the student, will meet to determine the two areas for examination
b. The student will prepare a bibliography relevant to each area, in consultation with members of the examination committee and, where warranted, others
c. The examination committee will approve the final bibliographies
d. The student will undertake the reading preparation for the first area. This should normally take from four to six weeks.
e. The examination committee will meet to determine the two questions. While student input may be solicited, responsibility for framing the questions will be the responsibility of the examination committee. The student will not know the exact question until he/she receives it at the start of the writing period.
f. The student will receive the first area question from the supervisor, and will have seven days to write an answer.
g. The student will prepare the second area. This should normally take from four to six weeks.
h. The student will receive the second area question from the supervisor, and will have seven days to write an answer.
i. The exact date for each examination (that is, when the student receives a question) shall be determined by the comprehensive examination committee in consultation with the student.

Preparation will include conducting an extensive literature review that will be used to prepare the research question to be addressed by the comprehensive exam essay.  A reference list will be presented to the committee  This list, if approved, will form the final list of readings required and expected for the comprehensive exam.  This literature review must demonstrate a reasonable understanding of the topic area as addressed by two or three different disciplines. Students should prepare a brief statement describing and justifying the disciplines that have been included in the review.  (Note: Consultation with committee members regarding the appropriate literature to be covered is expected to establish expectations regarding the appropriate disciplines to be examined for relevant literature.)

Preparation will also include ongoing consultation with committee members regarding direction, potential research questions, and additional reference material.  Consultation with committee members is expected (but not inherently required) during the four week period prior to the presentation of the research question.  Committee members must be available for consultation (e.g., via email, phone, in person).

Admissions and Applications

Degrees Offered

  • Master of Arts in Psychology (MA)
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD)

Programs Offered

  • Terminal MA
  • Transfer PhD (first year in MA program'; subsequent years in PhD program)
  • Direct Entry PhD

Admissions Criteria

Applicants should contact faculty in the program to enquire about the compatibility of their interests and research plans. Some of the faculty may not be available for graduate supervision in a given academic year.

The following components are required for being admitted to the Culture, Health and Human Development Program:

  • A statement of interest is required in which the student articulates very clearly why they want to enter the program and their goals for further studies and scholarly work.
  • An overall academic standing of 80% or better is expected. Scholarships from national and international funding agencies have high prestige and importance during the admission process. High grades are important to secure funding from the Department, University, or funding agencies.
  • For admission to the M.A. program or the M.A./Ph.D. Transfer program, a 4-year/Honour's undergraduate degree in Psychology or other relevant discipline is required. For admission to the Ph.D. program, a Master's degree in Psychology or other relevant discipline is required.
  • GREs are not required, but the TOEFL is required for International students. For the TOFEL, scores on each of the four subtests must be at least 20, with an overall total score of 80 or better.
  • Letters of reference are important in our evaluation of students' potential for academic success. Three letters of reference, preferably from academic sources, are required.

Experience in conducting independent theoretical and/or empirical studies in psychology, or in any other social science (such as completion of a thesis or conducting an independent research project), is considered an asset.

Additional Information:

Faculty and Research Interests

Michel Desjardins

  • Dr. Desjardins’ program of research considers the processes of exclusion/inclusion that modern democratic societies use to control otherness, notably in the case of people classified as having an intellectual disability and people who have experienced a brain injury. In previous research, he has examined notably the veiled exclusion of people labeled as other; the transformation of those people within democratic societies into ‘shadows’; the new ‘extraordinary sexuality’ that we have invented in the last 40 years for people with an intellectual disability; the new ‘veiled imposed sterilization’ that we impose to those people; the motherhood among that population; the tactics that the families of disabled children use to bypass the control of public agencies; the inclusion/exclusion of the people labeled disabled within the public school system and public places; art therapy, resilience and acquired brain injury; the empowerment of disabled people within disability services.

Ulrich Teucher

  • The focus of Dr. Teucher’s work is on narratives of Crisis and Identity. That is, how people struggle to give word, form, and meaning to experiences of displacement, serious illness, medical assistance in dying, or bereavement. He also studies how children and adolescents make sense of themselves and others as concepts of time and self-change, as well as how indigenous lives are affected by losses of language, knowledge of culture and food, and health and land.

Carie Buchanan

  • Dr. Buchanan’s research activities aim to explore the developmental significance of peers particularly during adolescence and emerging adulthood.  She is currently conducting research on friendships and romantic relationships in the context of university, and examining the possible associations among positive peer interactions (friendships and romantic relationships), negative peer interactions (peer victimization and bullying), and students’ psychosocial well-being and adjustment to university.  This research has recently led to involvement in a collaborative longitudinal study (College of Education and the University of Saskatchewan senior administration) examining how university students' perceptions of their current well-being relate to possible developmental changes in the perceived needs and challenges across the university student life cycle (i.e., entering university to degree completion).


  • Dr. Buchanan is also lead investigator in evaluating the impact and effectiveness of the University of Saskatchewan’s efforts to raise sexual assault awareness and implement educational programming aimed to prevent sexual violence on campus.  The research also focusses on how current and past experiences may predict bystander attitudes and behaviours.  Based on the developmental intergroup theory, Dr. Buchanan is interested in exploring if perceived gender typicality predicts university students’ bystander attitudes and behaviours.

Our Students

Current Students

Sasha Sukkhu (Ph.D. Program; Supervisor: Dr. Louise Alexitch) Research Topic: TBA

Shannah Dutrisac (M.A. Program; Supervisor: Dr. Ulrich Teucher) Research Topic: TBA

Samantha Black (Ph.D. Program; Supervisor: (Dr. Ulrich Teucher) Research Topic: TBA

Fernando Larrera (Ph.D. Program; Supervisors: Dr. Jim Waldram/Dr. Mark Olver) Research Topic: TBA

Kathrina Mazurik (M.A./Ph.D. Transfer Program; Supervisor: Dr. Michel Desjardins); Research Topic:"crowded nest" syndrome: understanding the experiences of families with young adult children living at home

Stacey McHenry (M.A./Ph.D. Transfer Program; Supervisor: Dr. Ulrich Teucher); Research Topic: narratives of women living with bipolar disorder

Elly-Jean Nielsen (M.A./Ph.D. Transfer Program; Supervisor: Dr. Todd Morrison); Research Topic: LGBTQ issues in education, sexual otherness, and disability; lesbians' expression of experience in art form

Christine Babineau (Ph.D. Program; Supervisor: Dr. Linda McMullen) Research Topic: Parents' communications to children about depression.

Recent Graduates

Raissa Graumans (Ph.D., Spring 2017; Supervisor:  Dr. Michel Desjardins); Stories, Symbols, and Selves:  Female Conversion Experiences in Contemporary Tibetan Buddhist Monasticism

Melanie Bayly (Ph.D., Spring 2017; Supervisor: Dr. Pamela Downe); The Moral Dimensions of Contemporary Childbirth

Somaya Al-Ja'afreh (Ph.D., Spring 2017; Supervisor:  Dr. Sadeq Rahimi); Minding the Iraqi Refugee:  Psychological Challenges of Iraqi War Refugees and the Effectivemess of Existing Support Services in Saskatoon

Elise Matthews (Ph.D., Fall 2016; Supervisor: Dr. Michel Desjardins); Risk, Relationality, and Reconciliation:  Experiences of Reproductive Decision-making After Childhood Maltreatment

Katherine Parra Satizabal (M.A., Fall 2016; Supervisor: Dr. Ulrich Teucher); Displaced Colombian Mothers' Narratives of Crianza

Jan Gelech (Ph.D., Spring 2016; Supervisor: Dr. Michel Desjardins); "Such Were Some of You":  Crisis and Healing in the Lives of Same-Sex Attracted Christian Men

Christine Babineau (M.A., Summer 2015; Supervisor: Dr. Linda McMullen); Making Meaing of Media Messages: How Women Interact with the Messages in Direct-to-Consumer Antidepressant Advertisements

Chad Hammond (Ph.D., Spring 2014; Supervisor: Dr. Ulrich Teucher); Critical Moments of Meaning and Being:  Narratives of Cancer during young adult life

Andrew Hatala (Ph.D., Spring 2014; Supervisor: Dr. Jim Waldram); Narrative Structures of Maya Mental Disorders: An ethnography of Q’eqchi healing

Janice Victor (Ph.D., Fall 2014; Supervisor: Dr. Jim Waldram); I'm better now: Sexual offender narratives of moral habilitation.

Watson, Kaitlyn (M.A., Spring 2014; Supervisor: Dr. Louise Alexitch); How to be a student: Aboriginal experiences in mediating identities at university