PhD in History
The doctoral program aims to train graduate students for a career of research and teaching at the university level, or for work in other areas that draw upon historical research skills and learning. It is comprised of three distinct phases: one year of course work (three full courses); comprehensive exams written in three fields in the second year; and the preparation of a doctoral dissertation after the second year. All requirements for the degree must be completed within 18 terms (six years).
In their first year, doctoral students select from a range of courses that will prepare them for their comprehensive exams.
Further information on courses can be found under the menu "Courses". More detailed information on the structure of the MA and PHD can be found under "Regulations".
Applicants for study towards the Ph.D. degree are normally considered for admission only after they have been graduate students at a recognized university for at least one year and have been awarded the Master's degree or an equivalent, with at least a B+ average, indicating preparation for advanced graduate work in history. If admitted, such applicants become candidates (Ph.D. I).
- The Doctoral program has three components: the satisfaction of course requirements, usually in the first academic or calendar year; satisfaction of the field requirements in a written and oral Qualifying Exam; and the defence of a Doctoral dissertation which demonstrates independence, originality, and ability to contribute to historical knowledge at an advanced level of investigation.
- Candidates in the Ph.D. I year must satisfy the requirements in three courses. All Candidates must satisfy the requirements of a major research paper (History 5010 6.0: Ph.D. I Major Research Paper). However, candidates who have completed their M.A. in the Graduate program in History at York and received a grade of at least B+ on their M.A. major research paper (MRP), may request to have the Ph.D. I major research paper requirement waived. Candidates from graduate programs at other universities with a major research component may also submit a major research paper or thesis before or upon registration with the request that it satisfy the Ph.D. I major research paper requirement. Candidates for whom the Ph.D. I major research paper has been waived must still satisfy the requirements in three courses. Candidates for whom the Ph.D. I major research paper requirement has been waived may be required to enrol in a 5000-level research seminar. All requirements of the Ph.D. I year must be satisfied before registration in the Ph.D. II year.
- Candidates for the doctorate must select three fields of study. Two fields the major and the minor must be from among the fields offered by the program. The third field may be in History or in another graduate program which is approved by the Director.
- Within each field the candidate will determine, in consultation with the field supervisor and the Director, an area of specialization, which may be a shorter period or a genre within all or part of the period covered by the field. The precise definition of the fields and the areas of specialization will be determined and approved by the Director at least six months before the Qualifying Examination.
- It is expected that the major and minor fields will be examined in the fall of the Ph.D. II year and no later than the spring of Ph.D. II in a written and oral Qualifying Examination.
- The major field: In addition to the general field examination based on the agreed bibliography, each student will select a period or theme for specialized study which will normally be the broad area or period within which the dissertation will be written and the area in which graduates would claim to be able to offer upper level courses or research seminars. The definition of the special field will be determined by the Director, the candidate and the putative dissertation supervisor. The written examination for the area of specialization will consist of the outline for an advanced (third or fourth year) undergraduate lecture course. The outline will consist of a rationale for the course, topics for 25 one-hour lectures, detailed outlines for five lectures, and the full written text of one lecture in approximately 20-25 pages.
- The third field must be a coherent and definable field of study. The requirements may be satisfied, without proceeding to the comprehensive examinations, by completing a full-year course at the doctoral level in History or another graduate program with no less than a B+ standing and completing such supplementary reading as is necessary to assure the course director that the examination would be passed if taken. Directed readings courses within the program may be offered in satisfaction of the requirement, but in such cases the courses must include substantial written work. In all cases a bibliography of the work read and the papers written must be deposited with the program Director with a letter from the faculty member in charge that the petition for an exemption from the comprehensive examinations be granted. The determination of the waiver will be made by the Director in consultation with the appropriate faculty members.
- If the third field is in History it may be selected from among the fields offered by the program. It may be an area or genre field not included among the stated fields, and not seen as overlapping with the other fields. It may also be a cognate field similar to those offered in other programs, but examinable within the Graduate program in History.
- Within three months of satisfactory completion of the Qualifying Examination, the candidate will submit a dissertation proposal. Normally, it is expected that the candidate will complete and defend the dissertation within three years from the date of the Qualifying Examination. After the formal submission of the dissertation, an oral examination, centred on the dissertation and matters related to it, is held.
Language and Cognate Requirements
Candidates for the Ph.D. degree are asked to demonstrate an ability to read such foreign languages as are necessary to enable them to use the major secondary and primary sources in the field in which they are writing their dissertation. For Canadianists, a reading knowledge of French is required. Candidates in all fields may be asked to take a brief oral examination to indicate proficiency. (Putative dissertation supervisors, with the assistance of their colleagues as required, will be asked to indicate that the candidate has the required language skills.) When appropriate, other skills (e.g., statistics, computer science, survey research) are required as an alternative, or in addition, to language requirements.