Doctor of Philosophy in History (PhD)

Canadian Immigration Updates

Applicants to Master’s and Doctoral degrees are not affected by the recently announced cap on study permits. Review more details

Overview

Historians study the past to better understand the present. They analyze the forces and influences that have affected human experiences and shaped different societies over time. For more than 80 years, our graduate program has promoted this analysis from social, cultural, political, and intellectual perspectives in diverse contexts throughout the world. Our graduate students have done research in such diverse locations as the Philippines, China, Japan, India, Russia, Germany, Britain, Mexico, Cuba, the United States and Canada and in fields spanning Indigenous History, Gender History, History of Science, International Relations, and Migration History, among others.

What makes the program unique?

The Department comprises over 30 full-time faculty members and over sixty graduate students who work collaboratively in vibrant research clusters covering all the continents and organized thematically around themes such as Culture/Power/History; Environmental History; Indigenous History; History of Children and Youth; History of Science, Technology, and Medicine; and International Relations. It is the center of a community of history scholars at UBC that also includes faculty members and student colleagues from other departments and research institutes across the University who have numerous occasions to meet, especially during colloquia and workshops. Faculty and graduate students have access to library resources which are among the best in North America. The UBC Library is the second largest research library in Canada, with especially strong collections in the fields of East Asia, Canada, Britain and Central and Eastern Europe.

 

Program Enquiries

Still have questions after reviewing this page thoroughly?
Contact the program

Admission Information & Requirements

1) Check Eligibility

Minimum Academic Requirements

The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies establishes the minimum admission requirements common to all applicants, usually a minimum overall average in the B+ range (76% at UBC). The graduate program that you are applying to may have additional requirements. Please review the specific requirements for applicants with credentials from institutions in:

Each program may set higher academic minimum requirements. Please review the program website carefully to understand the program requirements. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitive process.

English Language Test

Applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application. Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application.

Minimum requirements for the two most common English language proficiency tests to apply to this program are listed below:

TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language - internet-based

Overall score requirement: 90

Reading

22

Writing

21

Speaking

21

Listening

22

IELTS: International English Language Testing System

Overall score requirement: 6.5

Reading

6.0

Writing

6.0

Speaking

6.0

Listening

6.0

Other Test Scores

Some programs require additional test scores such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Test (GMAT). The requirements for this program are:

The GRE is not required.

2) Meet Deadlines

September 2025 Intake

Application Open Date
01 May 2024
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 30 November 2024
Transcript Deadline: 30 November 2024
Referee Deadline: 15 December 2024
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 30 November 2024
Transcript Deadline: 30 November 2024
Referee Deadline: 15 December 2024

3) Prepare Application

Transcripts

All applicants have to submit transcripts from all past post-secondary study. Document submission requirements depend on whether your institution of study is within Canada or outside of Canada.

Letters of Reference

A minimum of three references are required for application to graduate programs at UBC. References should be requested from individuals who are prepared to provide a report on your academic ability and qualifications.

Statement of Interest

Many programs require a statement of interest, sometimes called a "statement of intent", "description of research interests" or something similar.

Supervision

Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their thesis supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

Instructions regarding thesis supervisor contact for Doctor of Philosophy in History (PhD)
Applicants should browse faculty profiles and indicate in their application who they are interested in working with. However, it is not necessary for applicants to contact faculty members prior to their application.

Citizenship Verification

Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.

4) Apply Online

All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.

Research Information

Program Components

In 2013-14, the Arts Co-op Program and the UBC Department of English launched UBC’s first Ph.D. Co-op Program. This exciting initiative allows Ph.D. students to widen their range of professional skills through paid work experience in fields such as academic administration, communications, project management, and archival, government, and non-governmental organization (NGO) research. Through Co-op, Ph.D. students will build valuable skills and experience that will extend and enrich their career options in both academic and alternative workplaces. Read more about how the Co-op Program works: https://artscoop.ubc.ca/graduate/phd-co-op/

Tuition & Financial Support

Tuition

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$114.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,838.57$3,230.06
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
$5,515.71$9,690.18
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$1,116.60 (approx.)
Costs of livingEstimate your costs of living with our interactive tool in order to start developing a financial plan for your graduate studies.
* Regular, full-time tuition. For on-leave, extension, continuing or part time (if applicable) fees see UBC Calendar.
All fees for the year are subject to adjustment and UBC reserves the right to change any fees without notice at any time, including tuition and student fees. Tuition fees are reviewed annually by the UBC Board of Governors. In recent years, tuition increases have been 2% for continuing domestic students and between 2% and 5% for continuing international students. New students may see higher increases in tuition. Admitted students who defer their admission are subject to the potentially higher tuition fees for incoming students effective at the later program start date. In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.

Financial Support

Applicants to UBC have access to a variety of funding options, including merit-based (i.e. based on your academic performance) and need-based (i.e. based on your financial situation) opportunities.

Program Funding Packages

From September 2024 all full-time students in UBC-Vancouver PhD programs will be provided with a funding package of at least $24,000 for each of the first four years of their PhD. The funding package may consist of any combination of internal or external awards, teaching-related work, research assistantships, and graduate academic assistantships. Please note that many graduate programs provide funding packages that are substantially greater than $24,000 per year. Please check with your prospective graduate program for specific details of the funding provided to its PhD students.

Sample of Ph.D. Funding Packages Represents:

Ph.D. Funding Package - 4 year of funding. Each year represents:

  • Four Year Fellowship Award Stipend (~$18,200 per year) plus tuition coverage for each year.
  • Half Teaching Assistantship (~$7,000 per year)
  • Department Fellowship (~$2,000 per year)
  • International Students receive an international tuition award worth up to $3,200 per year.
Average Funding
Based on the criteria outlined below, 11 students within this program were included in this study because they received funding through UBC in the form of teaching, research, academic assistantships or internal or external awards averaging $44,293.
  • 10 students received Teaching Assistantships. Average TA funding based on 10 students was $11,732.
  • 4 students received Research Assistantships. Average RA funding based on 4 students was $3,600.
  • 6 students received Academic Assistantships. Average AA funding based on 6 students was $2,171.
  • 11 students received internal awards. Average internal award funding based on 11 students was $22,953.
  • 3 students received external awards. Average external award funding based on 3 students was $30,000.

Study Period: Sep 2022 to Aug 2023 - average funding for full-time PhD students enrolled in three terms per academic year in this program across years 1-4, the period covered by UBC's Minimum Funding Guarantee. Averages might mask variability in sources and amounts of funding received by individual students. Beyond year 4, funding packages become even more individualized.
Review methodology
Scholarships & awards (merit-based funding)

All applicants are encouraged to review the awards listing to identify potential opportunities to fund their graduate education. The database lists merit-based scholarships and awards and allows for filtering by various criteria, such as domestic vs. international or degree level.

Graduate Research Assistantships (GRA)

Many professors are able to provide Research Assistantships (GRA) from their research grants to support full-time graduate students studying under their supervision. The duties constitute part of the student's graduate degree requirements. A Graduate Research Assistantship is considered a form of fellowship for a period of graduate study and is therefore not covered by a collective agreement. Stipends vary widely, and are dependent on the field of study and the type of research grant from which the assistantship is being funded.

Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTA)

Graduate programs may have Teaching Assistantships available for registered full-time graduate students. Full teaching assistantships involve 12 hours work per week in preparation, lecturing, or laboratory instruction although many graduate programs offer partial TA appointments at less than 12 hours per week. Teaching assistantship rates are set by collective bargaining between the University and the Teaching Assistants' Union.

Graduate Academic Assistantships (GAA)

Academic Assistantships are employment opportunities to perform work that is relevant to the university or to an individual faculty member, but not to support the student’s graduate research and thesis. Wages are considered regular earnings and when paid monthly, include vacation pay.

Financial aid (need-based funding)

Canadian and US applicants may qualify for governmental loans to finance their studies. Please review eligibility and types of loans.

All students may be able to access private sector or bank loans.

Foreign government scholarships

Many foreign governments provide support to their citizens in pursuing education abroad. International applicants should check the various governmental resources in their home country, such as the Department of Education, for available scholarships.

Working while studying

The possibility to pursue work to supplement income may depend on the demands the program has on students. It should be carefully weighed if work leads to prolonged program durations or whether work placements can be meaningfully embedded into a program.

International students enrolled as full-time students with a valid study permit can work on campus for unlimited hours and work off-campus for no more than 20 hours a week.

A good starting point to explore student jobs is the UBC Work Learn program or a Co-Op placement.

Tax credits and RRSP withdrawals

Students with taxable income in Canada may be able to claim federal or provincial tax credits.

Canadian residents with RRSP accounts may be able to use the Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) which allows students to withdraw amounts from their registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs) to finance full-time training or education for themselves or their partner.

Please review Filing taxes in Canada on the student services website for more information.

Cost Estimator

Applicants have access to the cost estimator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.

Career Outcomes

27 students graduated between 2005 and 2013. Of these, career information was obtained for 25 alumni (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016):


RI (Research-Intensive) Faculty: typically tenure-track faculty positions (equivalent of the North American Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor positions) in PhD-granting institutions
TI (Teaching-Intensive) Faculty: typically full-time faculty positions in colleges or in institutions not granting PhDs, and teaching faculty at PhD-granting institutions
Term Faculty: faculty in term appointments (e.g. sessional lecturers, visiting assistant professors, etc.)
Sample Employers in Higher Education
California State University - Fresno
Free University Berlin
Douglas College
Brock University
Langara College
University Hildesheim
University of South Alabama
Jacobs University
Bishop's University
Vancouver School of Theology
Sample Employers Outside Higher Education
VF Ltd.
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher Education
Research Consultant
Regional Marketing Manager
PhD Career Outcome Survey
You may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on outcomes.grad.ubc.ca.
Disclaimer
These data represent historical employment information and do not guarantee future employment prospects for graduates of this program. They are for informational purposes only. Data were collected through either alumni surveys or internet research.
Career Options

Our M.A. and Ph.D. programs in History are designed to prepare students for employment in the public and private sectors, or to pursue further studies at the doctoral or postdoctoral levels. Recent graduate students have become college and university faculty, lawyers, public policy analysts, diplomats, museum curators, librarians, archivists, journalists, school teachers, historical researchers and consultants, as well as entrepreneurs. Many of our M.A. students have continued their studies in our Ph.D. program or have joined the doctoral programs of the History Departments of Harvard, Princeton, NYU, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Cambridge, among others.  Our PhD graduates hold faculty positions at universities including Carelton University, the University of Missouri, and the University of Houston.

Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats

These statistics show data for the Doctor of Philosophy in History (PhD). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.

ENROLMENT DATA

 20232022202120202019
Applications4751404929
Offers48857
New Registrations33313
Total Enrolment2124253031

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 67% based on 18 students admitted between 2011 - 2014. Based on 15 graduations between 2020 - 2023 the minimum time to completion is 4.78 years and the maximum time is 12.3 years with an average of 7.61 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
Disclaimer
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each registration year, May to April, e.g. data for 2022 refers to programs starting in 2022 Summer and 2022 Winter session, i.e. May 1, 2022 to April 30, 2023. Data on total enrolment reflects enrolment in Winter Session Term 1 and are based on snapshots taken on November 1 of each registration year. Program completion data are only provided for datasets comprised of more than 4 individuals. Graduation rates exclude students who transfer out of their programs. Rates and times of completion depend on a number of variables (e.g. curriculum requirements, student funding), some of which may have changed in recent years for some programs.

Research Supervisors

Supervision

Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their thesis supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

Instructions regarding thesis supervisor contact for Doctor of Philosophy in History (PhD)
Applicants should browse faculty profiles and indicate in their application who they are interested in working with. However, it is not necessary for applicants to contact faculty members prior to their application.
 
 

This list shows faculty members with full supervisory privileges who are affiliated with this program. It is not a comprehensive list of all potential supervisors as faculty from other programs or faculty members without full supervisory privileges can request approvals to supervise graduate students in this program.

  • Booker, Courtney (Early medieval europe, histiography, rhetoric, narrative, hermeneutics, literary and textual critcism, latin philology, codicology, transmission of texts, and intertextuality, drama and performativity, politcal theology and l'augustinisme politique, medievalism)
  • Brain, Robert (History of Science, Technology, and Medicine, Modern European Cultural and Intellectual History)
  • Bryce, Benjamin (Historical studies; Argentina; Canada; Education; health; migration; Race and ethnicity; The Americas; Transnational history)
  • Byrne, Jeffrey (International history; Empires, decolonisation, & postcolonial history; Africa; Middle East; Revolution)
  • Cheek, Timothy (20th century Chinese history, the history of the Chinese communist party, the role of intellectuals in public life in China)
  • Christopoulos, John (Historical studies; Early modern Europe; History of pre-modern medicine; Social and cultural history of early modern Italy)
  • Crowston, Clare (history of early modern France, history of labor, women and gender, material culture, economic exchange, and fashion)
  • Dixon, Joy (History of gender, sexuality, and the body, history of religion, history of the social and human sciences, history of empire)
  • Ducharme, Michel (Social Organization and Political Systems; Political Ideologies; Canadian History before Confederation; Quebec History; Liberalism and Nationalism in Canada and Quebec; Canada and the Atlantic World)
  • Effros, Bonnie (Humanities and the arts; History of archaeology; Antiquarianism and collecting in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; Late antique and early medieval history and archaeology; Gender history and archaeology)
  • Glassheim, Eagle (European history (except British, classical Greek and Roman); History of Central and Eastern Europe; Environmental History)
  • Hanser, Jessica (Early Modern Britain; Economic History; Great Divergence; Drugs in History; China and the West; Qing China; Slavery; British Empire; Microhistory; Global History)
  • Ishiguro, Laura (British Columbia, Canada, and the British Empire; settler colonialism; migration; family; gender; Publications)
  • Kojevnikov, Alexei (Modern history of science, especially physics, science, society,and culture, Russia and Soviet History, Nuclear History and the Cold War)
  • Lee, Steven Hugh (Cold war)
  • Loo, Tina (Environmental history of Canada)
  • McCormick, Kelly (Asian history; Visual theory, visual culture and visual literacy; Modern Japan; History of Visual and Material Culture/Photography; History of Technology; History of Gender and Sexuality)
  • Menkis, Richard (Canadian history; Historical memory; Jewish history; Holocaust studies)
  • Miller, Bradley (Historical studies; British Empire History; Canadian history; Criminal Justice History; International Law and International Relations; legal history; North American History; Political History)
  • Morton, David (urban Africa; architecture and planning in history; informal settlement, housing, and citizenship; Mozambique in the twentieth century; Portuguese colonialism)
  • Murphy, Anne (Asian history; Arts and Cultural Traditions; Religion; Literary or Artistic Work Analysis; Philosophy, History and Comparative Studies; cultural history; Early Modern Studies; Punjabi Studies; South Asian Studies)
  • Myers, Tamara (History of Children and Youth, Gender/Women’s History, History of Crime and Delinquency, History of Adolescence and the Family, Quebec/Canada)
  • Paris, Leslie (History of American childhood, History of American summer camps, Modern American social and cultural history, childhood and youth, gender and sexuality, popular culture)
  • Raibmon, Paige (first nations on the northwest coast, cultural representations, relocation of aboriginal peoples, environmental health on reserves, first nations history, Indigenous people and colonisation, life writing and life history)
  • Roosa, John (Historical studies; Social Organization and Political Systems; Human Rights and Liberties, Collective Rights; Foreign Affairs; History of Indonesia)

Pages

Doctoral Citations

A doctoral citation summarizes the nature of the independent research, provides a high-level overview of the study, states the significance of the work and says who will benefit from the findings in clear, non-specialized language, so that members of a lay audience will understand it.
Year Citation
2023 Dr. Johnson examined the political history of evolutionary biology in England, Europe, and Russia in the nineteenth century. While Social Darwinism has been analyzed as a political application of evolutionary thought, Dr. Johnson argues that this perspective arose in opposition to what he identifies as Socialist Darwinism.
2023 Dr. Yan examined the interactions between the Chinese and Spaniards in the Philippines through the creation of a Spanish manuscript, the Boxer Codex (1590s). Her study illuminates the convergence of sixteenth-century book cultures from China and Europe, offering fresh perspectives on the Sino-Hispanic relations in the Spanish colony.
2023 Dr. Girija explored the history of an Indian port city of Calicut to show that contrary to long held beliefs, the city remained a dynamic commercial hub outside of European colonial system. In fact her work shows that the notion of Calicut's supposed decline has been an artefact of Eurocentricism which continues to shape scholarship up to this day.
2023 Dr. Jelsing examined Indigenous and settler colonial visions of the future as they were articulated through prophecy in two nineteenth-century North American "northwests". He showed how these prophecies expressed divergent modes of relationship that help us understand how settler colonialism unfolded in these two distinct places.
2022 Dr. Sandhra studied museums as spaces of belonging through the experience of three Asian Canadian migrant communities in BC - Sikhs, Chinese and Japanese. Her research and findings centred racialized voices only as a means to demonstrate the power of margins as the site of solidarity and belonging in public history discourse.
2022 Dr. Wang researched the causes and legacies of a state-sponsored massacre of Muslims in southwestern China. She investigated how Islam and Maoism had shaped interactions between Muslim villagers and communist officials from 1949 to 2019. Her work provides insights into why religious conflicts frequently emerge under communist rule in modern China.
2022 Dr. Shin explored how popular media in South Korea portrayed the pursuit of wealth as a masculine quality during the 1960s and the early 1970s. Unlike conventional portrayals of South Korean capitalism as state-led development, Dr. Shin showed how popular media encouraged ordinary South Koreans to embrace profit-seeking and capital accumulation.
2022 Dr. Paradela charts the development of audience research in the Philippines to explain how the imperative for audience discipline, or the imperative to make the people perform the role of audiences as prescribed by the local elites, persisted throughout and the 20th century and intensified during the dictatorial regime of Ferdinand E. Marcos.
2022 Dr. Werner studied the origin of the orca in popular and scientific discourses. His research highlights the importance of first-hand encounters in shaping the historical representation of the killer whale (1861-1964). This study showcases the possibilities for animal-centered history in the age of mass digitization of historical source material.
2021 Dr. Liao studied the trans-imperial, colonial, and Cold War origins of the cultural politics of youth in Singapore between the 1940s and 1970s. He showed how imperial ambitions, colonial anxieties, nationalist aspirations, and global Cold War agendas converged to shape state-society relations, age-relations, and state-formation in modern Singapore.

Pages

Further Information

Specialization

History focuses on the fields of Asian, Canadian, First Nations, British and European (early modern and modern), U.S., Latin American, and Environmental History and in the History of Science.

The following thematic research clusters highlight the interests and expertise of departmental members:

  • History of Science, Technology, and Medicine
  • Global History, Maritime History, and the History of Empire
  • First Nations, Aboriginal, and Indigenous History
  • Environmental History
  • Ethnicity, Race, and Nationalism
  • Religion
  • Gender, Sexuality, and the Body
  • International Relations
  • Culture/Power/History
  • Children and Youth
  • Migration, Borderlands, and Transnational History
  • Politics, Political Culture, and State Power
  • Law and Society
  • Communities

Faculty Overview

Academic Unit

Program Identifier

VGDPHD-L2

Classification

 
 

September 2025 Intake

Application Open Date
01 May 2024
Canadian Applicant Deadline
30 November 2024
International Applicant Deadline
30 November 2024
 
Supervisor Search
 

Departments/Programs may update graduate degree program details through the Faculty & Staff portal. To update contact details for application inquiries, please use this form.

Considering UBC for your graduate studies?

Here, you can choose from more than 300 graduate degree program options and 2000+ research supervisors. You can even design your own program.