The Tri-University doctoral program is designed to be completed in four years of full-time study.

Program Milestones

Professional Development Seminar

All doctoral students must attend the professional development seminar in their first year of the program. The seminar is designed to prepare students for success as PhD students and for their future careers in academic and professional fields of employment. 

Major Field

The major field is the student’s primary area of concentration. The basis of the major field is the major field reading list, which consists of 100 books or equivalent, the preparation of one historiographical assignment, and participation and/or presentations. The major field/qualifying exam is normally set for the Fall term of the second year (4th term) of a student’s full-time registration.

Minor Fields

The minor fields represent secondary areas of concentration. Minor fields are completed by seminar work during the first two terms of the student's program.

Thesis Proposal

All doctoral students will present a thesis proposal to their advisory committee during the semester following the completion of their qualifying exams. The expected length is approximately 3,000 words.

Colloquium

The colloquium will be scheduled in the third year of the program and will consist of a public presentation of a draft of a substantive chapter of the dissertation (i.e. involving original research rather than historiography).

Language Requirement

Students must demonstrate a reading knowledge of a second language. Language proficiency is tested through an examination administered by the home department and it is expected that a student will take the test no later than the 6th term following admission into the program.

Teaching Practicum

PhD students may apply to their department chair to teach a one-term course.

Thesis and Thesis Defence

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.

Degree Completion Schedule

Schedule of completion for a four-year degree
  Fall Winter Spring/Summer
Year 1
  • Field Seminars
  • Professional Development Seminar
  • Field Seminars
    • B+ average required
  • Professional Development Seminar
    • pass required
  • Independent reading in the Major Field
Year 2
  • Major Field and Qualifying Examination
    • normally taken in the first half of the Fall term
    • pass required
  • Thesis Proposal
    • pass required
  • Final term to complete Language Exam
    • pass required
Year 3
  • Colloquium
    • completed sometime during the year
    • pass required
  • Colloquium
  • Research and Writing
  • Colloquium
  • Research and Writing
Year 4
  • Research and Writing
  • Colloquium (if not completed)
  • Research and Writing
  • Colloquium (if not completed)
  • Thesis defence
    • pass required