How to apply


M.A. and Ph.D.: For September entrance, the deadline to submit all application materials is February 1. Those who apply by this date will be considered for all university scholarships, including international tuition fee remissions. Late applications, and applications incomplete as of February 1, will not be reviewed.

M.A. Applicants only:  For January entrance, the deadline to submit all application materials is  October 1*.  Please note that entrance funding is rarely available for students entering in the Winter Term. 


Consideration for admission to the M.A. program requires a student to have a B.A. Honours in History, or its equivalent; for the Ph.D. program, an M.A. in History, or its equivalent, is required. If you’re not sure whether your degree is “equivalent,” email the Interim Graduate Program Director, Dr. Andrew Ivaska

Recommendations for admission to our History graduate programs are made by the History Department Graduate Committee and confirmed by the School of Graduate Studies.

The Application Form

Applications to the History M.A. and Ph.D. can be made electronically.

If you wish to be considered for scholarships and awards (available only to full-time students), please mark the relevant boxes. New applicants are automatically considered for awards on the basis of their application materials; further material will be requested only if needed.

Proof of Citizenship

Residency and citizenship do not affect your chances of admission, but do affect tuition fees and eligibility for certain awards and scholarships; proof of status is therefore required. 


Official copies of transcripts for all post-secondary study are required. We look for an overall minimum grade point average of about 3.5 (between B+ and A-) for admission to our graduate programs, although we weigh performance in the last two years of study more heavily.  We are primarily interested in the student’s ability to perform advanced work in History, so a record of achievement in History seminars or advanced research courses (400-level or equivalent for applicants to the M.A. program; M.A.-level work for applicants to the Ph.D. program) matters more than marks for introductory (100- or 200-level or equivalent) surveys.

Letters of Reference

We require three academic letters of reference. Your referees should normally have taught you at a senior (seminar) or M.A. level, and their letters should explicitly assess your readiness to undertake graduate-level work in History; where possible, they should also address your competence in languages (or other special skills) required for your particular area of historical interest. Letters weigh heavily in admission decisions, so choose your referees carefully.  Do not submit professional or personal references.   

Statement of Purpose

The statement of purpose is the most important element of your application package. Its content matters, but so do its form and style: the statement should be carefully crafted, well-written, and free from grammatical and spelling errors. It should not exceed two pages (single spaced).   

Whether you are applying to the M.A. or Ph.D. program, your statement should do several things:

  1. Identify your general area of research interest, and suggest one or more feasible thesis topics within that area, with reference to existing historical scholarship and possible primary sources;
  2. Explain why the topic matters - not only to you, but also to historians in the relevant field (i.e., what is the historiographical significance of your interest), to broader audiences, or to the public;
  3. Show that you can do the research you propose, that you are familiar with relevant scholarship and that you have or can acquire the necessary skills (e.g. language competency, familiarity with pertinent technology);
  4. Establish that our program is suitable for your proposed research, and why (e.g. the expertise of particular faculty members; the availability of specialized resources; the existence of relevant research centers);
  5. Identify one or more potential supervisors and indicate whether or not you have contacted them about potential supervision;
  6. If necessary, explain any gaps in your academic career or apparent deficiencies in your application;
  7. If desired, describe the origins of your personal interest in the field and/or topic proposed.

All potential applicants are strongly encouraged to visit faculty members' webpages for information on their interests and expertise and to contact relevant professors about supervision before applying.  Your application will be more compelling if a potential advisor has indicated interest in supervising your research. 

Applicants to the Ph.D. program should include elements outlined above in their statements of purpose, but with more detail and greater elaboration than is expected in an M.A. application.  They should also include a brief synopsis of their M.A. thesis or equivalent (whether already written or in progress), and explain how that will relate to the Ph.D. research proposed.   

Writing Sample

The writing sample should demonstrate your ability to conduct advanced research, interpretation, and analysis, as well as to present your work in a clear and compelling manner.  It may be a seminar paper, or a portion of an Honours or M.A. thesis.  The sample should not exceed 25 pages in length.  Both marked and unmarked papers are acceptable.

A Note on Funding

All students who are admitted to our programs on a full-time basis, and who have indicated their interest, are considered for all university scholarships and bursaries for which they are eligible. Please see the Gradaute Advising and Funding pages for more information. 

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