PhD in History

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

Entrance Requirements

Students proposing to enter a PhD in History program are expected to hold an acceptable MA degree or its equivalent. In exceptional cases a student admitted as a candidate for the MA may subsequently be permitted to enter the PhD program without writing a master’s thesis.

Program Requirements

Before proceeding to the researching and writing of the thesis, a student must:

  1. take and pass HIST 602 (*1), graded pass/fail (if not previously passed).
  2. take and pass six other 600-level (*3) HIST courses. Two are normally chosen from the methodological/theoretical/comparative courses HIST 601, HIST 603, HIST 604, HIST 605, HIST 610, and SOC 519. However, if any of these courses (or the equivalent at another university) have been taken at the MA level, these may be counted—with the written approval of the Associate Chair (Graduate Studies)—against the methodological/theoretical/comparative requirement, and the total number of courses varies as follows. If the student has previously taken:
    1. two methodological/theoretical/comparative courses, then he/she has to take six 600-level (*3) HIST courses (total: six)
    2. one methodological/theoretical/comparative course, then he/she must take at least one methodological/theoretical/comparative course plus five further 600-level (*3) HIST courses (total: six)
    3. no methodological/theoretical/comparative course, then he/she must take two methodological/theoretical/comparative courses plus four further 600-level (*3) HIST courses (total: six) 

The student must fulfill the language requirement. For students specializing in Canadian History, the modern language requirement will normally be French; for all other students, 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 to pass examinations in more than two languages other than English.

The student must also submit a thesis proposal of ten to twenty pages based on some preliminary research.

In addition, students should fulfill FGSR’s Ethics and PD Requirements. Specific information on the PD Requirement can be found here

Upon completing the requirements outlined above (normally not later than 18 months after entering the program), the candidate will be expected to pass comprehensive examinations in three fields. The construction of the fields is flexible and explained fully in the Department’s Higher Degrees Brochure. These fields will be: (1) general field; (2) special thesis field; and (3) thematic, theoretical, methodological and/or comparative field. These fields must be approved by the Graduate Committee of the Department. Students write an examination in each field, and then take an oral examination that covers all the fields.

If the candidate passes the comprehensive examinations, the candidate will be permitted to proceed to the candidacy examination. Upon successful completion of the candidacy examination, students will advance to formal candidacy for the PhD.

A student who has been admitted to candidacy for the PhD may proceed to the degree by completing a thesis, the text of which should normally be 250-400 pages in length.