PhD Field seminars

Major fields

Major field seminars are designed to prepare students for teaching and research in the area of the major field, and each student will choose one major field seminar in their first year of study. Major fields are completed with a qualifying exam which is taken in the fourth term of registration. 


At the heart of the Tri-University Graduate Program is one of the most extensive assemblies of Canadian historians worldwide. Our esteemed faculty covers an expansive array of topics, from pop culture to geological surveys, immigration, and ethnic minority contributions to urban and rural experiences. We delve into diverse areas such as women and children's history, foreign relations, public health, medicine, and military history. Through this rich tapestry of expertise, our program offers unparalleled strength in understanding Canada's historical complexities.

Cold war

The Cold War era, with its distinct starting and ending points, and core conflicts, offers a captivating study. Our historians, working across national and disciplinary boundaries, skillfully utilize newly available information to reshape old narratives and interpretations. With an impressive faculty that spans post-1945 US and Soviet history, Canadian foreign relations, and the Cold War era in Eastern Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, our major field in Cold War history remains unparalleled in North American academia.

Early modern European

Immerse yourself in a diverse and enriching experience as our faculty explores the social, political, intellectual, and cultural history of early modern Europe. From family history to religious dissent, from power dynamics to explorations, our scholars delve into every aspect. The abundant library holdings, especially in "radical" Reformation, Lutheran and Humanist studies, and Scottish collections, further enhance the depth of this field, making it a standout choice for passionate history enthusiasts.

Indigenous histories of Turtle Island

The Tri-University Graduate Program in History has one of the largest concentrations of graduate faculty in Indigenous history in the country. The program offers expertise across various areas, including gender, environmental history, cultural performance, Indigenous-settler relations, disputes related to resource and urban development, Anishinaabe feminism, as well as Indigenous research methodologies, pedagogies, and decolonizing practices. The term Turtle Island signals an Indigenous label for the area we now call Canada and the United States. It highlights Indigenous historical understandings and is culturally relevant to the Indigenous peoples on whose traditional territories all three universities involved in the Tri-University Graduate Program in History are situated.


Delve into the captivating world of the European Middle Ages with the Tri-University Graduate Program's field in Medieval History. Our program stands at the forefront of exploring the often-neglected latter portion of the Middle Ages. The rich focus on this era sets us apart from other broad Medieval history programs, making the Tri-University Program an ideal choice for those seeking a comprehensive and nuanced understanding of this captivating period.

Modern European

The Tri-University Graduate Program in History excels in its wide-ranging faculty expertise covering German, French, Russian, Polish, British, and Irish history. From Nazism and the Holocaust to military history and the history of sexuality, we offer a compelling array of topics for students to explore. Our program provides a fertile ground for studying various facets of Modern European history, ensuring a comprehensive and enriching academic journey.


The captivating history of Scotland and the Scots in Canada comes alive with the Tri-University Graduate Program's field in Scottish History. Our faculty's extensive research spans from the late Middle Ages to the early twentieth century. Interdisciplinary work and collaboration with the Scottish Studies program at Guelph open doors to new perspectives and opportunities for students. The rich library and archival holdings add depth to this field, making it an excellent choice for those drawn to the enthralling history of Scotland.

War and society

Stand out in the field of historical studies with the Tri-University Graduate Program's specialization in War and Society. Uniquely combining military history with the societal impacts of armed conflicts, this field offers an in-depth understanding of the complexities of war. With a faculty that spans various historical contexts, including Canadian, American, modern European, African, and Asian history, our program ensures a comprehensive exploration of this captivating subject matter.

World history

Embark on a journey of understanding global connections and broad historical patterns with the Tri-University Graduate Program's World History PhD field. Our renowned scholars delve into a vast array of topics, encompassing diverse aspects of human experience across different regions and scales. From colonialism to gender, trade to demography, our program provides an unmatched opportunity to explore the multifaceted tapestry of world history and its profound impact on humanity.

Minor fields

The minor fields represent each student’s secondary areas of concentration; they are designed to provide students with a supplementary teaching area and a comparative understanding of works in their dissertation research area. 

Students fulfill their minor field requirement by successfully completing two minor field seminars which are typically held in the first year of study.  Seminar topics are established in consultation with the student.  There are no examinations for minor fields.

Past minor field seminars

  • Sports History

  • Medieval History

  • International History
  • Economic History
  • Family & Gender History
  • Modern American History
  • Film & History
  • Legal History
  • French Revolution
  • History of Science
  • Canadian Rural History
  • Mennonite History