The program information below was valid for the fall 2016 term (September 1, 2016 - December 31, 2016). This is the archived version; the most up-to-date program information is available through the current Graduate Studies Academic Calendar.

The Graduate Studies Academic Calendar is updated 3 times per year, at the start of each academic term (January 1, May 1, September 1). Graduate Studies Academic Calendars from previous terms can be found in the archives.

Fields (areas of research)

  • Canadian History
  • Cold War Era History
  • Early Modern European History
  • Medieval History
  • Modern European History
  • Race, Imperialism and Slavery
  • Scottish History
  • War and Society
  • World History
  • Admit term(s) 
    • Fall
  • Delivery mode 
    • On-campus
  • Program type 
    • Doctoral
    • Joint
    • Research
  • Registration option(s) 
    • Full-time
  • Study option(s) 
  • Additional program information 
    • The Tri-University Graduate Program in History brings together the faculty members and resources of three of Ontario's leading universities to develop the skills of historians in both traditional and innovative ways. The Tri-University's PhD program was begun in 1994 as a way of combining the two small, but well-established PhD programs at the University of Guelph and the University of Waterloo, with the members of the History department at Wilfrid Laurier University. This program integrates the skill and knowledge of over fifty faculty members and offers students a wide range of research approaches and expertise. In 2001 the successful Tri-University concept was extended to include the Master's degree in History.

  • Minimum requirements 
    • Students will be admitted only after they have obtained a Master of Arts (MA) degree in which they have received at least an 83% standing. Only students who are graduates of accredited Universities and Colleges are eligible for admission. Since not all applicants can be admitted, close attention is paid to samples of applicants' written work, to applicants' transcripts and past record as a whole, and to their statement of research interests. Applications are considered by the Coordinating Committee of the Tri-University Graduate Program.
    • Students will not be accepted into the program without the agreement of the Coordinating Committee, the local Graduate Committee and the Faculty of Graduate Studies at the university at which they must register. No student will be assigned to a doctoral supervisor without approval from the supervisor.
    • Statement of the applicant's research interests.
  • Application materials 
    • Supplementary information form
    • Transcript(s)
      • From previous institutions.
    • Writing sample
      • Sample of the student's scholarly writing.
  • References 
    • Number of references:  3
    • Type of references: 


  • English language proficiency (ELP) (if applicable)

    Thesis option:

  • Graduate Academic Integrity Module (Graduate AIM)
  • Courses 
    • Each student is required to demonstrate competency in 1 major field and 2 minor areas. In the minor areas, competency is demonstrated by successful completion of 2 area seminars. In the major field, students must successfully complete a major field seminar (HIST 710-719), a written qualifying exam (HIST 704) and oral qualifying exam (HIST 701). All the major field seminars within the following areas of study are offered each year: Canadian history; early modern European history; modern European history; race, imperialism and slavery; Scottish history; and war and society. The Coordinating Committee, in collaboration with the student, will establish the minor field seminars appropriate for that student.
    • The major field is the student’s primary area of concentration; it provides the background and context for thesis research and will, in all likelihood, serve as the area in which graduates apply for academic jobs. The basis of the major field is the major field reading list. Students are examined on their knowledge of their field list through a seminar, a major field written exam and a major field oral qualifying exam. These components of the major field will each be graded separately.
    • The major field reading list will consist of the equivalent of 100 books, approximately half of which will be read in the major field seminar and half by students independently. The major field seminar (HIST 710-719) must be successfully completed in the first year of the student’s program. The major field qualifying exams are normally taken at the beginning of the students’ fourth term in the program. In the major field qualifying exams students will be examined on their knowledge of the entire major field reading list. The exam will consist of a written portion (HIST 704) and an oral portion (HIST 701) with a separate grade assigned for each part. The oral portion of the exam will normally be held within two weeks of the successful completion of the written portion. Students may not complete the oral portion if they fail to pass the written, but they must pass the oral to successfully complete the examination process.
    • The minor areas represent the secondary areas of concentration; they are intended to provide students with a supplementary teaching area and a comparative understanding of works in their dissertation research area. These two goals may be combined in each minor area course or the director, in consultation with the student, the thesis advisor and the seminar instructors, may coordinate a program in which one area is primarily
      geared towards a second teaching area and the other towards developing an understanding of the students’ primary research areas beyond their major field. The
      reading list for each minor area seminar (HIST 759-771) will consist of the equivalent of 50 books. The minor area seminars are normally completed during the first two terms of the student’s program, however, students may choose to take their minor area seminars in their fourth and fifth terms.
    • Minor field seminar instructors may require students to attend a one-term MA-level historiographical seminar in partial completion of their field requirement. A student who fails to pass either of their minor field seminars will be required to withdraw from the program. The minor field seminar reading list is drawn up by each minor field instructor. The minor field reading lists and outline will be deposited in the student’s file prior to the completion of the field.
  • Link(s) to courses
  • Academic Integrity Workshop
  • PhD Language Requirement
    • If no specific language is required for the student’s research (as authorized by the student’s Advisory Committee), the second language will be French. The determination of the second language will be made by the student’s Advisory Committee in the first term of the student’s registration in the program. The language exam will be offered every Fall and Winter term and it is expected that a student will successfully complete the test no later than the sixth term following admission into the program.
    • The same requirement will hold for students whose native language is French except that it will be applied to a reading knowledge of English.
    • The language exam is intended to evaluate the candidate’s reading knowledge of a second language and is not to be understood as a test of fluency. Use of a dictionary is allowed during the exam. A student who has already fulfilled a language requirement, for example through an equivalent exam previously taken, may have credit given for that work by their Advisory Committee. Completion of an undergraduate course is not in itself considered an equivalent.
  • PhD Professional Development Seminar
    • Students must attend the Professional Development Seminar in their first year of the program. The seminar is designed to prepare students for success as a PhD student and for their future careers. A pass/fail grade will be assigned for the seminar.
    • The seminar will consist of 8 sessions covering a range of topic areas, including – the historians’ craft (researching, conferencing, and publishing), careers (teaching and non-teaching work) and keys to success as a graduate student (applying for grants, and success as a teaching assistant). Seminars will rotate across each of the three campuses. Attendance and/or participation in the Tri-University Conference is included in the Professional Development Seminar.
  • Graduate Studies Colloquium
    • The colloquium is a public presentation of a chapter, significant portion, or summary of the student’s thesis. In exceptional circumstances, the Advisory Committee may also approve the presentation of a paper on another topic. The colloquium paper will be presented within three terms of the completion of the thesis proposal. A grade of pass/fail will be assigned for the colloquium.
    • The exact scheduling will be determined by the supervisor/advisor in consultation with the student and the Advisory Committee. Students are expected to consult with their Advisory Committee on a suitable topic for the colloquium. An abstract of the colloquium paper must be approved by the Supervisory Committee before the supervisor/advisor can schedule the colloquium defense. The entire committee will be provided with copies of the colloquium paper at a minimum of no less than one week in advance of the presentation. The student will present the paper orally (normally no more than 20 minutes) after which committee members will examine the candidate on their draft chapter and presentation. The colloquium presentation is a public event. Time permitting, guests attending the colloquium will be invited to ask questions following the formal examination. A pass/fail grade will be assigned by the Committee at the end of the examination.
  • PhD Thesis Proposal
    • All doctoral students will present a thesis proposal of no more than 2000 words including citations by the end of the Fall or Winter term (whichever comes first) following the completion of their three fields. The student will be examined orally on the proposal by the Advisory Committee within four weeks of submission of the proposal to the director and a pass/fail grade will be assigned.
  • PhD Thesis
    • Following successful completion of all other requirements, the student must complete, under the supervision of a tri-university doctoral program faculty member, an original research project on an advanced topic. Each student will be required to write and successfully defend a thesis of such cogency and originality as will represent a significant contribution to knowledge. The thesis will normally be between 50,000 and 90,000 words in length. The regulations and procedures at the university in which the student is enrolled will govern the thesis format and the thesis examination.