Doctor of Philosophy in History (PhD)
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 Aboriginal 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; First Nations, Aboriginal, and 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.
Contact the program
Meet a UBC representative
Aligning your Graduate Program and Career GoalsDate: Wednesday, 19 August 2020
Time: 11:00 to 12:00
Join Danielle Barkley, Educator and Career & Professional Development Advisor at UBC's Centre for Student Involvement and Careers, and Shane Moore, Marketing and Recruitment Manager. They'll be talking about aligning your graduate program with your career goals. They'll also be providing an overview of the wide range of career and professional development opportunities and support available at UBC. This session will be helpful to those still thinking about which graduate program is right for them, as well as applicants who know their program of study and want to better understand the support and guidance available at UBC.Register
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
IELTS: International English Language Testing System
Overall score requirement: 6.5
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 2021 Intake
Application Open Date01 May 2020
3) Prepare Application
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.
Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.
Instructions regarding supervisor contact for Doctor of Philosophy in History (PhD)
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.
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/prospective-students/phd/
Tuition & Financial Support
|Fees||Canadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / Diplomat||International|
|Installments per year||3||3|
|Tuition per installment||$1,698.56||$2,984.09|
|Tuition per year|
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
|Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible)||$3,200.00 (-)|
|Other Fees and Costs|
|Student Fees (yearly)||$944.51 (approx.)|
|Costs of living (yearly)||starting at $16,954.00 (check cost calculator)|
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.
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
All full-time students who begin a UBC-Vancouver Ph.D. program in September 2018 or later will be provided with a funding package of at least $18,000 for each of the first four years of their Ph.D. 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 $18,000 per year. Please check with your prospective graduate program for specific details of the funding provided to its Ph.D. students.
Please see the following link for more information about the minimum funding policy for Ph.D. students: https://www.grad.ubc.ca/awards/minimum-funding-policy-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 (~$18,000 per year) plus tuition coverage for each year.
- Half Teaching Assistantship (~$6,000 per year)
- Department Fellowship (~$2,000 per year)
- International Students receive an international tuition award worth up to $3,200 per year.
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.
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.
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 direction. The duties usually constitute part of the student's graduate degree requirements. A Graduate Research Assistantship is a form of financial support for a period of graduate study and is, therefore, not covered by a collective agreement. Unlike other forms of fellowship support for graduate students, the amount of a GRA is neither fixed nor subject to a university-wide formula. The stipend amounts vary widely, and are dependent on the field of study and the type of research grant from which the assistantship is being funded. Some research projects also require targeted research assistance and thus hire graduate students on an hourly basis.
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.
Tax credits and RRSP withdrawals
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.
Applicants have access to the cost calculator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.
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 EducationCalifornia State University - Fresno
Free University Berlin
University of South Alabama
Vancouver School of Theology
Sample Employers Outside Higher EducationVF Ltd.
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher EducationResearch Consultant
Regional Marketing Manager
PhD Career Outcome SurveyYou may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on outcomes.grad.ubc.ca.
DisclaimerThese 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.
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.
Completion Rates & Times
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.
Roosa, John (Social Organization and Political Systems, Human Rights and Liberties, Collective Rights, Foreign Affairs, History of Indonesia)
Shin, Leo (Later imperial China)
Thrush, Coll (First Nations history, Indigenous, cultural, and world history, colonial and Atlantic, Northwest Coast and Pacific, environmental, place-based histories)
Tworek, Heidi (Philosophy, History and Comparative Studies, history of media and communications, international relations, international organizations, Germany, Europe)
Wang, Jessica (US history, 19th and 20th centuries, history of science and medicine, political and intellectual history, social and urban history, US international history )
Yu, Henry (Asian migration to Canada, Chinese Canadian, Asian Canadian, Chinese in British Columbia, multiculturalism, racism, Asian American history, sports and race, Chinatown, Head Tax, United States, Global Vancouver, Trans-Pacific migration, American intellectual history, Asian Canadian and Asian American history, race and immigration, social science and social theory in US and Europe)
|2016||Dr. Cairns studied forced migrant craftspeople from the Sudetenland and their resettlement in Bavaria after 1945. Her work explores how governments used the Sudetenlanders' initiatives to rebrand West German national identity and market consumer goods. She demonstrates migrant agency and the power of small scale industries to improve communities.|
|2016||Dr. Laursen studied how people historically experience and make knowledge about elusive phenomena. Focusing on twentieth-century British and American poltergeist cases, he found that research best advanced through active collaborations of those who experienced the phenomenon. His work contributes new directions to studying the boundaries of knowledge.|
|2016||Dr. Wright studied the extermination of thousands of civilians during the Korean War. He proved that state prohibitions on mourning caused a crisis for surviving families, which led to unique forms of political resistance. Dr. Wright's research increases our understanding of state violence, human rights, and transitional justice.|
|2016||Dr. Grass explored the principles of fiscal policy in Ming China whereby reducing expenses rather than increasing revenue avoided greater demands on the economy. She concludes that this principle poses an alternative approach to fiscal policy that prioritizes local conditions over those of the political center.|
|2016||Dr. Golubev challenged an established tradition of approaching Soviet society as a product of the Soviet ideological experiment. He argued that material objects were key elements in the organization of the Soviet historical and spatial imagination, and positioned the models and practices of Soviet selfhood within the global experience of modernity.|
|2015||What would the world be like without things? Dr. Ford spun the impossibility of that question on its head. He surfaced the vital role of the material world at sea in producing oceanic knowledge in the mid- 20th century. Things of the sea turn up in stories, and her study demonstrates how science and narrative have at times been one and the same.|
|2014||Dr. Trim explored the history of renewable energy and sustainable development in Canada. He showed that sustainability emerged from a combination of factors: environmentalists' embrace of science to fight the Cold War, Canadian concerns over American neo-colonialism, and the Trudeau government's efforts to rationalize policy making during the 1970s.|
|2014||Dr. Horowitz examined the ways in which Assiniboine people have preserved their cultural knowledge since the late nineteenth century. His study showed that archives, oral history, ceremony, sacred sites, written texts and artwork, work together to help sustain Indigenous bodies of knowledge. This may benefit Indigenous communities and archival studies.|
|2014||Dr. Smith investigated the discussions by Chinese intellectuals of East Asian regionalism in the early twentieth century. He found that the discourse of Chinese "Asianism" had a strong influence upon the construction of Chinese nationalism. Writings on nation, race and civilization created overlaps which are still evident today.|
|2014||Dr. Aceves analyzed the role of a group of feminist artists in developing and transforming regimes of media and visuality in post-1968 Mexico. She considered this process as indicative of local and transnational political and social transformations, and demonstrated the importance of these feminist practices in affecting politics.|
Sample Thesis Submissions
Further Program Information
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
- Gender, Sexuality, and the Body
- International Relations
- Children and Youth
- Migration, Borderlands, and Transnational History
- Politics, Political Culture, and State Power
- Law and Society