Our PhD program trains inquisitive minds for the 21st century. The department’s mission is both to prepare historians for careers in teaching and research and produce graduates who share its commitment to serving the broader community.
The PhD in History provides an academically rich and collaborative learning environment where you are encouraged to aim for both breadth and depth of your studies. Work alongside distinguished faculty members who specialize in a broad range of temporal and thematic fields including law and society, gender and sexuality, war and peace, science and the environment, public history and memory, media and popular culture, genocide and human rights, and transnationalism and empire.
Doctoral students enter a vibrant research community and are invited to attend the many workshops and guest lectures hosted by the department or become involved in one of the internationally renowned research centres that are affiliated with the Department of History:
Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling is equipped with modern telecommunications equipment with which students can access, analyze and communicate life stories and develop expertise as oral historians and multimedia storytellers.
Our doctoral students have been published in a multitude of prestigious journals and essay collections, including Labour/Le Travail, the Journal of Global History and La Grande Guerre: Une histoire culturelle.
The normal requirement for admission to the PhD is a Master of/Magisteriate in Arts degree in History, with high standing, from a recognized university. Applicants should understand that admission is contingent on a superior academic record, strong references, and a convincing statement of purpose which clearly describes their professional goals and intended area of research. In addition, admission is contingent on the availability of an appropriate faculty member in the Department of History to serve as supervisor.
Proficiency in English. Applicants whose primary language is not English must demonstrate that their knowledge of English is sufficient to pursue graduate studies in their chosen field. Please refer to the Graduate Admission page for further information on the Language Proficiency requirements and exemptions.
Credits. A fully-qualified candidate entering the program with a master’s or magisteriate degree is required to complete a minimum of 90 credits.
Courses. (18 credits). During the first two years of their program, doctoral students must register for HIST 889 Doctoral Seminar (6 credits). This seminar complements students’ individualized tutorial preparation for comprehensive exams and facilitates their preparation of the thesis proposal by offering a forum for faculty guidance in and peer discussion of matters of scholarly, pedagogical, and professional practice. Subjects to be addressed include study and writing strategies for comprehensive exams; thesis topics and proposal-writing; research methods and resources; and professional skills. The seminar meets bi-weekly during the fall and winter terms. In addition, doctoral students are required to take 12 credits of 800-level courses, consisting of two 3-credit reading courses in the student's minor comprehensive fields and a 6-credit reading course, HIST 878, in the student's major comprehensive field. HIST 878 includes an explicit course-preparation component, where the student prepares an annotated syllabus for an undergraduate lecture course encompassed by the major field. In exceptional cases, students may, with permission of the graduate program director, do three credits of course work at an equivalent level in another discipline.
Comprehensive Examinations. (12 credits). Early in their first term in the program, and in consultation with the GPD, new PhD students form an advisory committee of three faculty members to assist in the selection and preparation of comprehensive fields. In the first year of their program, students take reading courses with the supervisors of each of the three fields, which prepares the students to complete the full requirements of each field's preparation over the following terms.
Subject to the availability of appropriate faculty members, the Department of History is normally prepared to supervise comprehensive examinations in a range of broadly defined geographical and chronologically limited fields, as well as in thematic fields, as suits the student's program. Example of fields recently supervised include: History of Canada since 1867; History of France since 1789; History of Haiti from 1801 to 1986; Labour History. For other fields available, applicants may consult the faculty research pages of the department's website.
The major field will be that in which the student’s proposed doctoral thesis falls. Normally students choose at least one field defined in specific geographical terms.
Any student may offer one examination in a related discipline when approved by the History Graduate Committee and by the appropriate faculty member and/or program administrator in that discipline.
The preparation of a comprehensive field should give students sufficient background to teach at an introductory level and/or do advanced research in the field. Although the requirements may vary from one field to the next, a core reading list of 50 to 100 titles per field is suggested as reasonable. The reading list for a field is be drawn up by the professor in consultation with the student in the context of the reading courses associated with the field taken in the student's first year, and once established, both must agree to any significant changes.
The examinations are normally scheduled by the end of the fourth term (or fall of the second year) of the student’s program. The comprehensive examinations consist of take-home examinations in three selected fields, each is completed over a 72-hour period. These written examinations are normally completed within a three-week period. If successful, they are followed by an oral examination, involving all three examiners,normally held within two weeks of the last written comprehensive. The purpose of the oral comprehensive is to allow the doctoral student the opportunity to explain or expand on parts of the written examinations which professors found inadequate or unclear, as well as to allow for more general discussion among the examiners and the student as a group of historians.
PhD Thesis Proposal Preparation and Colloquium. HIST 885: PhD Thesis Proposal and Colloquium (6 credits). Following the successful completion of the comprehensive exams, students prepare a written thesis proposal for the approval of the internal members of their thesis committee. The thesis proposal should describe and justify the intended topic, explain its place in the historiography of the field, discuss the intended research methods, and identify the source requirements including their availability. Students are normally expected to submit and defend their thesis proposal by the end of the fifth term of their studies. When the written proposal is approved the student presents an oral colloquium about the proposal to the department. When the proposal and colloquium requirements are satisfied, the student is admitted to candidacy.
Thesis. HIST 890: Thesis Research (54 credits). Doctoral students must submit a thesis based on their research and defend it in an oral examination. A doctoral thesis in history is expected to be based on extensive research in primary sources, to make an original contribution to historical knowledge, and to be presented in an acceptable literary form. The PhD thesis should normally run to no more than 400 pages including all critical apparatuses.
Language. Doctoral candidates are required to demonstrate their ability to read and translate historical material in one modern language other than English. In addition, students may elect, or may be required, to demonstrate competence in a second language. Language examinations, which are normally given twice a year, are administered by the department. Dictionaries are not allowed in writing the exam.
We pride ourselves in offering minor and major fields that are tailor-made to our students’ research interests. These fields can be geographical, chronological, thematic, or methodological fields. Examples of fields recently supervised include:
Twentieth-Century US History
History of Migration
Japanese Popular Culture
History and Memory
Our doctoral seminar HIST 889 allows for scholarly, pedagogical, and professional conversations. The format of this course is fluid as it is designed to respond to the concerns of each doctoral cohort. Topics of discussion include study and writing strategies for comprehensive exams, grant-proposal writing workshops, research methods and resources, teaching strategies for the undergraduate classroom, and discussions of historical theories and methods. The seminar meets bi-weekly during the fall and winter terms.
Full-time graduate students and new applicants for full-time study can apply for a teaching assistantships of around $ 3,700 per semester.
A number of departmental awards are also available for graduate students, including the Dagobert Broh Graduate Research Stipend, the Dagobert Broh Doctoral Entrance Fellowship, the Keith Lowther Graduate Award, the Inge Thurm Bursary in Women’s or Gender History, and the Geoffrey Adams Scholarship in French History.
Other awards available through the Faculty of Arts and Science include:
Concordia Merit Scholarship
Concordia University Graduate Fellowship
Hydro-Quebec Graduate Award
John W. O'Brien Graduate Fellowship
Clara Strozyk Scholarship
Out-of-Province Fee Remission Awards
Conference Travel Awards
International Tuition Award of Excellence
Consideration for Entrance Awards is automatically part of the admissions process for all new students.
Graduate students organize one of North America’s longest-running history graduate conferences. History in the Making is an annual bilingual conference that invites students from Quebec, Ontario, Atlantic Canada and the northeastern United States to showcase their work in their respective fields. Past conferences have addressed topics such as “Recording History: Memories, Monuments & Manuscripts,” “Shattered Spaces: Piecing Together Narratives of Crisis and Change” and “Reinterpreting Our Collective Pasts: Community, Identity, and Memory.”
The Graduate History Students’ Association aims to promote a stimulating academic and social atmosphere by organizing social events, informal academic discussions, speaking engagements and other activities.
Our alumni find great success in a wide range of professional careers, including international relations, transportation, social work, journalism, law, politics, public advocacy, archives management and education.
Please be advised that Concordia University does not process admissions or fee payments through third parties for our degree programs.
All applicants are advised to ensure that they are communicating directly with the university for admissions and fee payments.