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!
Please find below links to two model proposals to the Interdisciplinary Humanities Doctoral Program. The proposals were submitted by students who have been accepted into the Program within the last 2 to 3 years, and have been posted with their permission. The proposals have been divided by type. They reflect the wide range of projects pursued by Ph.D. Humanities students, but it must be emphasized that these proposals are illustrative rather than exhaustive.
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).
The normal requirement is a Master of Arts or Master of Fine Arts with high standing from a recognized university. The Humanities Program Committee reviews the applicant's academic background, portfolio (for research-creation applicants), and research or research-creation proposal in order to determine whether a) the applicant's project is truly interdisciplinary and falls within the scope of available faculty and facilities at Concordia, and b) the applicant'srecord indicates that they are likely to excel in a demanding program that requires rigorous engagement in more than one discipline.
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.
Fields of Study. Students in the Humanities PhD program identify the three fields that inform their interdisciplinary project: a major field and two minor fields. A “field” is defined as a recognizable and coherent segment ofa discipline, and in some instances may itself be interdisciplinary.
Advisory Committee. Prior to admission into the program, applicants form an advisory committee composed of three faculty members – a major field supervisor and two minor field advisors – chosen from faculty members in departments that correspond to the three fields informing the student’s interdisciplinary project. In consultation with the student, the advisory committee determines the student’s program of study. Where the need for access to such resources as equipment, materials, or space arises for applicants seeking to pursue research-creation projects, they must discuss such needs with their prospective supervisor at the time of application.
Credits. A fully-qualified candidate is required to complete a minimum of 90 credits. These are apportioned as follows: minimum course requirements, 18credits; three comprehensive field examinations, each examination worth 3 credits; thesis proposal (with defence), 6 credits; thesis, 57 credits.
Courses. Students are required to take two 3-credit core seminars in their first year: HUMA 888 and HUMA 889. The remaining 12 elective course credits are chosen in consultation with the student’s advisory committee. The following may be used as elective courses: graduate courses at the 600 level or higher offered by departments in areas relevant to the student’s program of study; 3-credit directed study courses; may also include HUMA 887 (Special Topic). A directed study course provides students with the opportunity to pursue advanced and focused work with individual faculty members in the fields that constitute the students' program of study. Directed study courses (3 credits) are designated HUMA 884 followed by the course topic.
Comprehensive Examinations (HUMA 891, 892, 893). Upon completion of the required coursework, students take three comprehensive field examinations before proceeding to the thesis proposal stage. Each examination is set and marked by the student’s advisor in that field. For students pursuing a research-creation project, one of the comprehensive examinations is a studio examination attended by all three advisors and chaired by the program director. The three comprehensive field examinations are designated:
HUMA 891 Comprehensive Examination Major Field (3 credits) HUMA 892 Comprehensive Examination Minor Field I (3 credits) HUMA 893 Comprehensive Examination Minor Field II (3 credits)
Thesis Proposal with Defence (HUMA 894). Upon completion of the required coursework and three comprehensive field examinations, students are admitted to candidacy following acceptance by their advisory committee of the written thesis proposal and its successful oral defence. The thesis proposal should be integrative in character, bringing the student’s three fields to bear on the thesis project and laying the groundwork for the thesis.
Thesis (HUMA 895). A doctoral thesis should be based on extensive research in primary sources, make a significant and original contribution to knowledge, and be presented in a manner that conceptually and formally accords with scholarly standards. Students may produce a research-creation thesis with the approval of the student’s advisory committee and the Humanities Program Director. In accordance with the thesis guidelines of the School of Graduate Studies, a research-creation thesis normally comprises two synthesized components: a creative production component (which may be presented in a variety of media, communicative, or performative platforms) and a written scholarly component. The written scholarly component of the research-creation thesis should demonstrate substantial knowledge of the relevant scholarly literature, consider methodological issues, and present a contribution to knowledge. In addition, the research-creation thesis must demonstrate knowledge of prevailing practices and precedents in the practical field of activity in which the creative production component situates itself, and may reflect on the production process.
Language Requirement. Prior to submission of their thesis, doctoral candidates are required to demonstrate an ability to read and translate scholarly material in at least one language (other than the language of their thesis) relevant to their studies.
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.
HUMA 888 Seminar in Interdisciplinary Studies I (3 credits)
A required core seminar to be taken by all students within their first year in the program. This course engages with theories and methods of interdisciplinarity germane to the humanities, social sciences and fine arts, including those pertinent to research-creation. Its objectives include enhancing awareness of the role of conceptual frameworks and institutional practices in the shaping of interdisciplinary scholarly and creative explorations, and providing students with opportunities to begin pursuing theoretical and methodological issues vital to their individual interdisciplinary projects.
HUMA 889 Seminar in Interdisciplinary Studies II (3 credits)
A required core seminar to be taken by all students within their first year in the program. Each year a different topic or approach is selected with the aim of exploring how it is pursued and challenged across disciplinary boundaries.
HUMA 884 Directed Studies (3 credits)
A directed study course provides students with the opportunity to pursue advanced and focused work with individual faculty members in the fields that constitute the student's program of study. Directed study courses are designated by the course topic.
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 varies from term to term and from year to year. Students may reregister for this course, provided the course content has changed. Changes in content are indicated by the course topic following the HUMA 887 course title.
Comprehensive Examinations and Thesis
HUMA 891 Comprehensive Examination Major Field (3 credits) HUMA 892 Comprehensive Examination Minor Field I (3 credits) HUMA 893 Comprehensive Examination Minor Field II (3 credits) HUMA 894 Thesis Proposal with Defence (6 credits) HUMA 895 Thesis (57 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!
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All applicants are advised to ensure that they are communicating directly with the university for admissions and fee payments.