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 further 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

A candidate must: 

  • take and pass either HIST 604 (3) or HIST 605 (3) if the student does not hold credit in equivalent courses acceptable to the Department;
  • take and pass HIST 606 (3), HIST 700 (3), and HIST 701 (3);
  • take and pass 3 in a 600-level history course or acceptable equivalent from outside of the Department;
  • take and pass HIST 602 (1), if the student has not previously done so;
  • Candidates must also fulfil the 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 to pass examinations in more than two languages other than English.

Students will normally complete these course requirements by the end of the fall semester in their second year of the program.

Students will then complete an oral comprehensive examination in their major and minor fields. From the list of geographic and thematic fields on the Department website, students may select one major and two minor fields, or two major fields.

The major field may be geographic or thematic, but the doctoral fields must include both geographic and thematic fields. The oral comprehensive examination covers all the fields.

Once the candidate passes the comprehensive examinations, they may then proceed to the candidacy examination. The candidacy examination, based on a thesis proposal of ten pages, will normally be held before May 15 of their second year.

Requirements and expectations for the comprehensive and candidacy examinations are detailed on the Department website. 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.