Graduate studies in Canadian History at the University of Alberta reflect the unique and diverse character of Edmonton, a city situated where the prairies, the boreal forest, and the foothills of the      Rockies meet and which has also served as an important gateway to northern Canada. Our faculty members are active researching, writing, and teaching in Native Studies, immigration and social      history, and environmental history. Our program offers options to complete a course or thesis-based MA and PhDs, as well as postdoctoral research opportunities. Western Canadian history is one of the Department's recognized areas of excellence.

Our fields of graduate study in Canadian history include the following:


  • Western Canada (Carter, Ens, Piper, Stunden Bower)
  • North (Piper)
  • Ontario and Quebec (Gouglas)
  • Atlantic Canada (Muir)


  • Indigenous studies (Carter, Ens, Piper)
  • British Empire, colonialism (Carter, Muir, Samson)
  • Environmental (Ens, Piper, Stunden Bower)
  • Legal (Muir)
  • Rural settlement and agriculture (Carter, Gouglas, Stunden Bower)
  • Social and economic (Carter, Ens, Gouglas, Muir)
  • Women and gender (Carter)


The Department of History and Classics has over forty full-time faculty members with strengths in Eastern European history, material history, the history of medicine, science, and technology, American history, and more. This breadth of faculty expertise offers important opportunities for students interested in comparative research. Several Canadianists are cross-appointed with other faculties and departments: Carter (Faculty of Native Studies), Gouglas (Humanities Computing), and Muir (Law). We also have close connections with colleagues at the University of Alberta’s Faculté Saint-Jean and Augustana Campus, and with researchers and departments at other Alberta institutions including in particular Grant MacEwan University, Concordia University of Edmonton, Athabasca University, and the University of Calgary.

Research Infrastructure

Regularly ranked second among universities in Canada, and in the top twenty-five in North America, the University of Alberta Libraries offer impressive resources for students and faculty alike. The Libraries holdings include the extensive Canadian Circumpolar Collection, an essential resource for northern studies that additionally boasts one of the most comprehensive collections of mountain history and literature in Canada. The Bruce Peel Special Collections Library includes major resources for research in Indigenous history; the Alberta Folklore and Local History Collection; and the Sir Samuel Steele collection, containing the papers of the famous Canadian soldier and member of the North West Mounted Police. Edmonton is also home to the Provincial Archives of Alberta and the City of Edmonton Archives.

Faculty members’ areas of graduate teaching and supervision:

  • Sarah Carter Henry Marshall Tory Chair in Canadian History (Ph.D. Manitoba)
    Women and gender, borderlands, comparative colonial, Western Canada
  • Gerhard Ens (Ph.D. Alberta)
    Environmental, Indigenous, fur trade, North-West missions
  • Sean Gouglas (Ph.D. McMaster)
    Humanities Computing
  • James Muir (Ph.D. York)
    Legal history, labour history, Atlantic Canada,Pre-Confederation, historiography
  • Liza Piper (Ph.D. York)
    Environmental, Northern Canada, Western Canada, resource exploitation, health history
  • Shannon Stunden Bower (Ph.D. British Columbia)
    Western Canada, water, environmental 

Photo Captions


Figure 1: Students, faculty, and Parks Canada facilitators during environmental history field trip in Banff National Park, October 2009.


Figure 2: Graduate student Heather Green at Moosehide, Yukon Territory, 2013.