We're transforming knowledge and creative expression through interdisciplinary research and research-creation.
Today’s vital issues involve multiple and inter-related elements that call for innovative and interdisciplinary approaches to knowledge and making, something the Humanities PhD Program, based in the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture (CISSC), is ideally suited to offer. Our students enter the program with an MA or MFA, come from a variety of disciplines across the humanities, social sciences and fine arts, and benefit from a lively and supportive milieu conducive to innovation and cross-fertilization.
Humanities PhD projects can be undertaken in any of the many areas of interdisciplinary expertise at Concordia, including those listed below. See Research Currents for a sampling of Concordia faculty members whose work has been influential in opening up and charting these fields. Humanities PhD students entering with an MFA, or another graduate degree combined with extensive documented experience in a creative practice, can pursue research-creation projects that combine scholarly investigation with creative practice in a variety of media and platforms.
Critical Curatorial Studies
First People’s Studies
Game Studies and Design
Globalization and Transnationalism
Law and Society
Trauma and Resilience
This list is illustrative, not exhaustive – there are many other potential avenues of interdisciplinary research for you to explore at Concordia, and we welcome your proposals!
Doctoral applicants interested in multidisciplinary studies in engineering, computer science, business and economics or pure and applied sciences should consider applying to the Individualized Programs (INDI).
Fields of Study. Students in the Humanities Program are expected to pursue a pattern of independent interdisciplinary study under the direction and supervision of scholars in three fields, one of which shall be chosen as the student’s major field. (A “field” is defined as a recognizable and coherent segment of a discipline, e.g., Victorian literature as a field within the discipline of English literature, German history 1870-1945 as a field within the discipline of History, or Sociology of knowledge as a field within the discipline of Sociology. In some cases a “field” may be itself interdisciplinary or non-disciplinary as, for example, hermeneutics or meta-science). The Humanities Program Committee will assess and approve students’ proposed fields of study to ensure that a) the candidate’s overall program is sufficiently intensive and interdisciplinary, b) competent faculty are available to direct it, and c) the student’s special interests are recognized.
Advisory Committee. Prior to admission into the program, students form an advisory committee composed of three faculty members: the major field supervisor and the two minor field advisors. In consultation with the student, the advisory determines the student’s program of study.
Credits. A fully-qualified candidate is required to complete a minimum of 90 credits. These are apportioned as follows: minimum course requirements, 24 credits; three comprehensive field examinations, each examination worth 3 credits; thesis proposal (with defence), 3 credits; thesis, 54 credits.
Residence. The minimum residence requirement is two years (6 terms) of full-time study, or the equivalent in part-time study.
Courses. Candidates are required to take two 3-credit mandatory core seminars in their first year: Humanities 888 (Methodology) and Humanities 889 (Thematic). The remaining course credits (18 minimum) normally consist of a combination of 3-credit directed study tutorials, regularly scheduled graduate courses offered by departments in areas relevant to the student’s program of study, and may include HUMA 887 (Special Topic). The selection of courses is reviewed for approval by the student’s advisory committee, taking into consideration the needs of the student’s program of study and availability of faculty resources. The directed study tutorials provides students with the opportunity to pursue advanced and focused work with individual faculty members in the three fields that constitute the student’s program of study. Directed study tutorials are designated with a Humanities 800 number: Directed Studies (3 credits) within the sequence HUMA 830 to 884.
Cognate Courses. A candidate may be required to enrol in existing graduate courses offered in other programs in addition to those formally required for the PhD Humanities degree, if, in the opinion of the student’s advisory committee, the chosen field of study demands it.
Comprehensive Examinations (Humanities 885). Before admission to candidacy for the degree, students must pass three comprehensive field examinations and an oral examination of the student’s written thesis proposal. The three comprehensive field examinations are normally written during the term immediately following the completion of the 24 (minimum) course credits. The examinations are set and coordinated by the student’s advisory committee. The three comprehensive field examinations are designated:
HUMA 885A Comprehensive Examination Major Field (3 credits) HUMA 885B Comprehensive Examination Minor Field I (3 credits) HUMA 885C Comprehensive Examination Minor Field II (3 credits)
Thesis Proposal (Humanities 886). Students are admitted to candidacy for the PhD upon acceptance by their advisory committee of the written thesis proposal and its successful oral defence. The oral examination of the written thesis proposal normally takes place in the term following the writing of the comprehensive field examinations.
Thesis (Humanities 890). A doctoral thesis should be based on extensive research in primary sources, make an original contribution to knowledge, and be presented in acceptable scholarly form. Students entering the program with MFA degrees may include studio work as a component of their program of study and thesis project, with the approval of the Humanities Program Director and the student’s advisory committee.
Language Requirement. Doctoral candidates are required to demonstrate an ability to read and translate scholarly material in at least one language (other than the candidate’s first language) relevant to their studies.
Admission Requirements. The normal requirement is a master’s degree with high standing from a recognized university. The Humanities Program Committee will scrutinize the applicant’s academic background and proposed program of study in order to determine whether a) the applicant’s interests are truly interdisciplinary, and fall within the scope of the available faculty and facilities at Concordia, and b) the student’s record indicates that he or she is likely to be able to cope with a demanding program involving rigorous practice in more than one discipline.
We invite applications from highly qualified candidates with an MA or MFA wishing to embark on original interdisciplinary projects. We also welcome research-creation projects that combine creative practice with scholarly investigation.
Priority will be given to those who apply within the official deadlines listed above. Some programs may continue to accept applications after these deadlines. For more information, please contact the department.
HUMA 888 Seminar in Interdisciplinary Studies I (3 credits)
A required core seminar to be taken by all students in their first year in the program. This course is an introduction to methodologies of interdisciplinary study germane to the Humanities, Fine Arts and Social Sciences. The course also sensitizes students to historical changes in the way intellectual inquiry is conceptualized and carried out.
HUMA 889 Seminar in Interdisciplinary Studies II (3 credits)
A required core seminar to be taken by all students in their first year in the program. Each year a different topic is selected with the aim of exploring how a theme of common interest (e.g., space/time, publics and counterpublics, performance) is pursued and challenged across disciplinary boundaries.
HUMA 887 Advanced Seminar in Special Topics in Interdisciplinary Studies (3 credits)
This seminar examines in-depth special topics in interdisciplinary studies. Note: The content will vary from term to term and from year to year. Students may re-register for this course, provided the course content has changed. Changes in content will be indicated by a letter following the course number, e.g. HUMA 887A, HUMA 887B, etc.
Comprehensive Examinations and Thesis
HUMA 885A Comprehensive Examination Major Field (3 credits) HUMA 885B Comprehensive Examination Minor Field I (3 credits) HUMA 885C Comprehensive Examination Minor Field II (3 credits) HUMA 886 Thesis Proposal with Defence (3 credits) HUMA 890 Thesis (54 credits)
Humanities PhD students are able to draw on the expertise of outstanding scholars and artists in Concordia’s Faculty of Arts and Science and Faculty of Fine Arts. Students create their own path and pursue unique projects while supported by an advisory committee of three faculty members: a Major field supervisor (usually in the same discipline as the student’s MA or MFA) and two Minor field advisors. Any full-time Concordia faculty member in departments in the Humanities, Social Sciences, or Fine Arts holding a doctorate is entitled to supervise students in the program. Arrangements can also be made to enable full-time faculty members with an MFA degree to serve on students’ advisory committees.
At admission time, applicants to the Humanities PhD program are considered for Concordia Fellowships, and international students are also considered for partial tuition remission.
In addition, a variety of funding opportunities are available to both new and current students pursuing graduate studies at Concordia. Students are urged to consult the School of Graduate Studies to keep up-to-date with all funding initiatives from internal (Concordia University and its donors) and external (government and industry) sources.
Teaching and research assistantships
Humanities PhD students find opportunities to teach at Concordia through the home departments of their supervisors, and may also be eligible to teach writing and language courses. Students are strongly encouraged to take the free Graduate Seminar in University Teaching, offered by Concordia’s Centre for Teaching and Learning several times per term, since some departments demand it as a prerequisite for teaching.
Students are also advised to discuss opportunities for Research Assistantship with their advisors.
Our graduates have gone on to pursue fulfilling and successful careers in education, the arts, various levels of government, community organizations, and research in the private and public sectors. Browse a sampling of Humanities Alumni Profiles, with more profiles to come!