PhD in History

The information found on this web-page is intended to complement rather than substitute information contained in the University Calendar. In the event that there is a discrepancy the University of Alberta Calendar is the final authority.

(The requirements below apply to students admitted in Fall 2018 and later. Students admitted earlier should consult the University Calendar from the year of their admission)

Program Requirements

Students are required to complete a minimum of 12 - 16 in coursework and a thesis.

Coursework (★12 - 16)

Course requirements depend to some extent on the student's previous training and the student's anticipated needs for the chosen area of concentration.

The course requirements must normally be completed by the end of the fall semester in the student's second year in the program

HIST 602 if not previously taken

One of the following HIST 603, 604 or 605 if the student does not hold credit in equivalent courses acceptable to the Department:

HIST 606

HIST 700

HIST 701

one 3 600-level HIST course or other graduate course with Department approval.


Registration in 900-level THES. After completing the candidacy requirement students are required to complete a thesis, the text of which should normally be 250-400 pages in length.

Comprehensive examinations

After completing their coursework, students are required to complete an oral comprehensive examination in their major and minor fields. From the list of geographic and thematic fields available on the Department website, students can select one major and two minor fields, or two major fields. The major field can be geographic or thematic but, in combination, the doctoral fields must include both geographic and thematic fields. A single oral comprehensive examination covers all the fields. If the candidate passes the comprehensive examinations, they will then be permitted to proceed to the candidacy examination.

Fields of Study for Comprehensive Examinations

Candidacy examination

The candidacy examination will be based on a written thesis proposal and will normally be held by May of a student's second year. Requirements and expectations for the comprehensive and candidacy examinations are being developed and will be posted on the Department web site.

A Guide to the Comprehensive and Candidacy Examination Process

Ethics Requirement

Students must complete INT D 710 and INT D 720, self-paced online courses, by the end of their first semester in the program.

Professional Development Requirement

Students fulfill four hours of the FGSR Professional Development Requirement through HIST 602 if it is taken as part of their doctoral program. See the FGSR website for more information.

Language Requirement

Students must demonstrate competence in a language other than English according to the procedures specified in the Departmental Language Requirement.

The specific language requirement(s) will be determined in consultation with the student's supervisor. In addition, the student may be required to pass a second language examination, but the Department never requires any student in this program to pass examinations in more than two languages other than English.

Residence Requirement

The minimum period of residence is two academic years of full-time attendance at the University of Alberta.

Length of Program

The time required to complete the program will vary according to the previous training of the student and the nature of the research undertaken; however, four to six years are normally required.

The maximum time to complete the PhD program as set by the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research is six years.