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About the University of Calgary
Graduate Studies Calendar 2017-2018 Program Descriptions History HIST
History - HIST
Contact Information

Location: Social Sciences Building, Room 656
Program number: 403.220.3839
Fax: 403.289.8566
Email address:
Web page URL:

1. Degrees and Specializations Offered

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Master of Arts (MA), course-based and thesis-based


  • History and Philosophy of Science (MA, thesis-based only)*

*This specialization is offered in co-operation with the Departments of Philosophy.

Candidates should apply to the program of their choice, indicating the area of research (see section 5 below).

2. Admission Requirements

In addition to the requirements of the Faculties of Graduate Studies and Arts, the Department requires:

Master of Arts

a) Normally, a four-year undergraduate program with honours or a major in history. Usually this entails at least 42 units (7.0 seven full-course equivalents) of History courses. Credit may be given for up to 6 units (1.0 full-course equivalent) in other disciplines, if appropriate for the proposed area of study.

b) A minimum admission grade point average of 3.40 on a four-point scale over the final 60 units (10 full-course equivalents) of the undergraduate degree.

c) A copy of a historical research paper, preferably graded, normally at the senior undergraduate level.

d) A 250-word (minimum) statement of research interest including research topics in the major field and the reasons for pursuing a postgraduate degree in history.

e) Two reference letters.

Doctor of Philosophy

a) Normally, a completed four-year undergraduate program with honours or a major in history and a completed master’s degree or the equivalent in history or in a related discipline.

b) A grade point average of 3.70 on a four-point scale in history at the graduate level.

c) A detailed statement of research interests, career goals, and ideas for the thesis topic.

d) A sample of written work, normally a master’s thesis chapter or a major research paper completed at the master’s level.

e) Two reference letters.

3. Application Deadline

Deadlines for the submission of complete applications:

January 15 for September admission and funding
April 15 for September admission only

4. Advanced Credit

The applicant must make advanced credit requests as part of the admission process. Credit will not be given for course work taken as part of another completed degree/diploma or for courses taken to bring the grade point average to a required level for admission.

5. Program/Course Requirements

In addition to the Faculties of Graduate Studies and Arts requirements, the Department requires:

Master of Arts (thesis-based)

a) A minimum of one year of full-time study at the University of Calgary.

b) Eighteen units (3.0 full-course equivalents) (including History 690) in two semesters of course work. Master's students will complete their coursework through regularly offered History seminars.

Areas of faculty research interests include: Canada, Europe, Latin America, United States, Britain, China, Africa, Atlantic History, History of Science, Intellectual History, Military-Diplomatic History, Political History, Popular Culture, Religious History, History of Gender and Sexuality, Social History, and Western Canada/Borderlands/Frontier.

In co-operation with the Department of Philosophy, the History Department offers a Master of Arts degree in the History and Philosophy of Science. Students who choose this specialization are required to take courses in the relevant departments. Candidates enrolled in the Department of History are expected to work with more than one instructor in History.

Students must take one seminar course (3 units or 0.5 full-course equivalent) in a field unrelated to the student's research interests. In instances where there are no seminars being offered in the student's research field, students may, with permission of the chair of graduate studies, take one 500-level undergraduate seminar but on the understanding that extra course work will be required.

c) A thesis of 80 to 150 pages, including notes, charts, tables and appendices, but excluding bibliography. Students begin thesis preparation as they undertake their course work and may fulfill the requirements for their Master of Arts degree in twelve months.

d) A demonstration of reading knowledge of a second language related to the major field of study prior to the oral thesis defence.

Master of Arts (course-based)

There is no full-time requirement for this program.

a) A minimum of 36 units (6.0 full-course equivalents); 12 units (2.0 full-course equivalents) may be senior undergraduate courses at the 500 level (but on the understanding that extra course work will be required), 12 units (2.0 full-course equivalents) must be graduate seminars and at least 12 units (2.0 full-course equivalents) are to be graduate seminars in a secondary field.

b) Completion of History 690 in the first year and History 651 and 653 in the final year of program.

c) A 50–60 page research paper prepared in the final year and defended in an oral examination.

d) A demonstration of reading knowledge of a second language related to the major field of study before the oral examination.

e) Completion of at least 3 units (0.5 full-course equivalent) per semester.

Doctor of Philosophy

a) A minimum of two years of full-time study at the University of Calgary.

b) Twelve units (2.0 full-course equivalents) at the graduate level, including courses in the primary and secondary areas. These courses include:

  • Three units (0.5 full-course equivalent) in the primary area as a History 791 reading course;
  • Three units (0.5 full-course equivalent) in the secondary area as a History 791 reading course;
  • Six additional units (1.0 full-course equivalent) including History 690 (3 units), if not completed in your MA program. Among these, the student may also choose 3 units (0.5 full-course equivalent) outside the Department (requiring the supervisor's approval).

The areas will be defined in detail by the supervisor and the student in consultation with the Supervisory Committee and must be approved by the Department Graduate Studies Committee. The availability of secondary areas and thematic courses will depend on faculty members' expertise. Each of a student's areas must be taught by a different faculty member or as defined by the committee. During the candidacy examination, the student will demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the primary and secondary areas as well as their particular field of research. The secondary area will be selected from an area of history outside of the primary area.

Primary Areas: Canada; History of Science; Latin America; Medieval and Early Modern Europe; Military/Diplomatic; Modern Europe and Britain; United States; Africa; World.

Secondary Areas (to be chosen from outside of Primary Area): Canada; History of Science; Latin America; Medieval and Early Modern Europe; Military/Diplomatic; Modern Europe and Britain; United States; Africa; World.

c) A thesis normally of 400 pages, including notes, charts and tables, but excluding bibliography and appendices.

d) A demonstration of reading knowledge of a second language relevant to the student's research prior to the candidacy examination.

e) Written and oral candidacy examinations in primary and secondary areas. The Supervisory Committee consists of a primary area supervisor and a secondary area specialist with the third member being a faculty member normally outside the department whose area of expertise is in the field of study for the student. The History Department urges candidates to take candidacy examinations within 16 months of first registration. Examinations must be completed within 20 months of first registration.

The doctoral program consists of two terms of coursework relevant to the primary and secondary areas. During the third and fourth terms, students read for the candidacy examinations. Four to five terms of thesis preparation will normally follow.


The graduate program in the Department of History does not permit the use of third-party editors in the preparation of papers and theses.

6. Additional Requirements


7. Credit for Undergraduate Courses

Students enrolled in the part-time course-based Master of Arts program may take two of the required 36 units (6.0 full-course equivalents) at the 500 level.

Students enrolled in the Master of Arts thesis program may apply for no more than one 500-level course for graduate credit, subject to the approval of the Department. Graduate students taking a 500-level course for graduate credit will be required to complete additional assignments.

8. Time Limit

Expected completion time is 12 to 20 months for the Master of Arts thesis program, and four years for the doctoral program. Maximum completion time is four years for the Master of Arts thesis program and six years for the course-based Master of Arts and doctoral programs.

9. Supervisory Assignments

Upon acceptance into the program, students are assigned an interim supervisor. Each student should select a permanent supervisor, subject to the consent of the faculty member, within three months of entering program. Admission to the master’s and the doctoral programs is dependent upon the agreement of a faculty member to supervise in an interim capacity.

The supervisor establishes a doctoral supervisory committee in consultation with the student. The Supervisory Committee consists of the primary area supervisor and a secondary area specialist with the third member being a faculty member, normally outside the department, whose area of expertise is in the field of study for the student. The supervisory committee must be selected within three months of the supervisor’s appointment (no later than March of the first year of a program).

10. Required Examinations

In addition to the Faculty of Graduate Studies requirements, the Department requires:


Doctoral students must pass oral and written candidacy examinations in their primary and secondary areas. For complete details of candidacy requirements and the examination format, see

Thesis Examinations

Final thesis oral examinations are open.

Scheduling of the Examination

All members of the Supervisory Committee must have reviewed the student’s research, including a relevant written sample of the materials related to the thesis, before an examination can be scheduled.

Composition of the Committee

The Internal Examiner may be internal to the home program.

11. Research Proposal Requirements

A doctoral student's supervisory committee must approve a student's Dissertation Proposal after successfully passing their oral candidacy examination. For complete details of the Dissertation Proposal, see

12. Special Registration Information

Students should plan their courses in consultation with their supervisors, complete the Course Registration Form supplied by the department, obtain the supervisor’s signature, and bring their course program to the Graduate Program Director for approval before registration.

13. Financial Assistance

Financial assistance may be available to qualified students. For information on awards, see the Awards and Financial Assistance section of this Calendar.

Students applying for scholarships must submit their online applications to the Department by February 1.

14. Other Information

Since resources are limited, the Department may, in any year, admit fewer applicants than those who are qualified to undertake graduate studies.

15. Faculty Members/Research Interests

The research interests of current faculty can be found at: