Mar 22, 2018  
School of Graduate Studies Calendar, 2014-2015 
School of Graduate Studies Calendar, 2014-2015 [-ARCHIVED CALENDAR-]

History, Ph.D

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Ph.D. Degree


The Department supervises doctoral research in a variety of areas of specialization. Prospective applicants are directed to consult the Department’s website which details research specializations. Candidates must contact individual faculty for guidance on appropriate thesis topics.


When admission to Ph.D. work has been granted a candidate will, in consultation with his or her prospective supervisor and the Graduate Studies Chair of the Department, select two Minor Fields and one Major Specialization. Minor Fields and Major Specialization will cover the principal literature in the areas of concentration.

Minor fields normally consist of two half-year 700‐level graduate reading seminars (offered in the first term) in each of which a major historiographical essay and a written course examination are required. The grade for a minor field will consist of the grades for the in- course requirements, the examination, and the historiographical essay, in combination as indicated by the minor field supervisor.

While some overlap may be deemed beneficial, the Minor Fields should not duplicate Major Specialization reading. All doctoral candidates must have a minimum of three, and usually four, instructors supervising the combination of their Minor Fields and Major Specialization.

Major Specialization preparation begins in January and takes the form of a reading course. The reading for the course will be determined by the course instructors with oversight from the department’s Graduate Studies Committee to ensure appropriate breadth and depth of the reading list. As part of the reading course candidates will complete a significant historiographical paper or papers. The Comprehensive Examination, comprised of written and oral components, will be held in the month preceding September 15 of the second year of the program. It will test the candidate’s knowledge of the area of concentration and ability to deal with broad historiographic questions.

Successful completion of 6 units of Minor‐Field coursework and 6 units of Major Specialization coursework, and the Comprehensive Examination, fulfill the course requirements of the School of Graduate Studies for doctoral candidates. Satisfactory performance in doctoral Minor Field and Major Specialization courses is a minimum grade of B‐. A single grade of F on any course in the Ph.D. program, or two B- grades, entails automatic withdrawal from the program. The Comprehensive Examination in History requires a minimum grade of P (Pass) for successful completion.


Following successful completion of their Comprehensive Exam, doctoral candidates will present the supervisory committee with their thesis proposal. This should be about 10 pages in length, and should indicate the scope and structure of the thesis, the theoretical and research perspectives involved, and the principal archival sources to be used (along with brief mention of major secondary sources). The thesis proposal must be approved by the supervisory committee by early October, so that the candidate has a completed proposal ready for the OGS application deadline (normally mid‐October). Length of thesis: 300 pages (75,000 words), exclusive of footnotes and bibliography.

Language Requirement

Language requirement for doctoral candidates: competence in English and one other language is the minimum requirement of the Department of History. For candidates working in Canadian, British, or thematic areas, the other language will normally be French, although utility in the candidate’s proposed field of research will be the governing consideration. Candidates researching in European History must demonstrate competence in two appropriate languages. Competence in a modern non‐English language is deemed to mean the ability to translate standard historical prose with the aid of a dictionary. Specific expectations for translation competency are explained in the Ph.D. regulations which are available on the department website. Written tests are administered by the Department for Ph.D. candidates at intervals throughout the academic year. In particular cases the Supervisory Committee may recommend that a candidate demonstrate proficiency in an additional language or in special methodological skills, such as statistics or advanced cartography, in preparation for her or his research. All such recommendations must be approved by the Graduate Studies Committee. One language requirement for the Ph.D. must be cleared by the time the Comprehensive Examination is completed. Candidates requiring two or more languages should complete the language requirement most relevant to their dissertation topic before completion of their Comprehensive Examination; the other language requirements may be completed while working on the dissertation but must be cleared prior to the dissertation defense.

Additional Information

In certain cases, applicants with a B.A. (Honours) or the equivalent may be admitted directly to Ph.D. studies if their previous academic record shows sufficient promise, including at least an A average. Within one calendar year, the progress of students admitted to Ph.D. studies directly from a bachelor’s degree will be reviewed by their supervisory committee and the Graduate Studies Committee. The Graduate Studies Committee will then recommend to the School of Graduate Studies one of the following:

  1. proceed with Ph.D. studies
  2. not proceed with Ph.D. studies but re‐register as a Master’s candidate
  3. withdraw from the University

The Ph.D. coursework required for candidates admitted directly with a B.A. (Honours) or the equivalent will be 15 units, comprising successful completion of two Minor Fields; completion of the Major Field; and successful completion of HISTORY *741 Historiography .


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