Doctor of Philosophy in History (PhD)

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 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.

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Program Enquiries

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Contact the program

Meet a UBC representative

Aligning your Graduate Program and Career Goals

Date: 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.

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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 2021 Intake

Application Open Date
01 May 2020
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 15 December 2020
Transcript Deadline: 22 December 2020
Referee Deadline: 22 December 2020
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 15 December 2020
Transcript Deadline: 22 December 2020
Referee Deadline: 22 December 2020

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 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)
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/prospective-students/phd/

Tuition & Financial Support

Tuition

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$106.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,698.56$2,984.09
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
$5,095.68$8,952.27
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)
* 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

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.

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 Calculator

Applicants have access to the cost calculator 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.

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

 20192018201720162015
Applications2837414537
Offers76852
New registrations35342
Total enrolment3029323436

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 62.5% based on 32 students admitted between 2006 - 2009. Based on 11 graduations between 2015 - 2018 the minimum time to completion is 4.66 years and the maximum time is 8.49 years with an average of 6.87 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
Disclaimer
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each year, May to April [data updated: 10 March 2020]. Enrolment data are based on March 1 snapshots. Program completion data are only provided for datasets comprised of more than 4 individuals. 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 [data updated: 27 October 2019].

Research Supervisors

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)

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
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.

Pages

Further Program 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
 

Apply Now

If you don't have a UBC Campus-Wide Login (CWL) please create an account first.
 

September 2021 Intake

Application Open Date
01 May 2020
Canadian Applicant Deadline
15 December 2020
International Applicant Deadline
15 December 2020
 

Supervisor Search

 

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

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