Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Thesis-based program

Program overview

Learn from internationally recognized scholars in a program with excellent student-to-supervisor ratios. Departmental expertise is wide-ranging; our historians are specialists in histories of Africa, Canada, China, Europe, Latin America and the United States. Students learn valuable skills in argumentative writing, critical thinking, public speaking, and grant proposal writing. Typically, students base their doctoral research in archival work within Canada and abroad. Students will complete a dissertation that contributes meaningfully to their chosen fields as they gain experience in teaching at an undergraduate level, present at conferences, and prepare research for publication.

Completing this program

  • Core Courses: Reading courses in primary and secondary areas of study.
  • Additional Courses: Elective graduate seminars (may include one course from another department).  Must include Historiography and the Theories of History if not completed in the MA program.
  • Language: Students demonstrate reading knowledge of a second language relevant to the student's research prior to the candidacy examination.
  • Candidacy: Students will complete both oral and written candidacy exams in primary and secondary areas.
  • Thesis: Students will be required to submit and defend an original research thesis.


Academic teaching and research, research consulting, public history, education, professional writing and editing, journalism, civil service and diplomacy.

A PhD in history is usually considered a final degree.

Thesis-based program

Students are required to prepare a thesis and successfully defend in an open oral defense.

Classroom delivery

Time commitment

Four years full-time; six years maximum


A supervisor is required; potential supervisors must be listed when applying to the program

Fees and funding

See the Graduate Calendar for information on fees and fee regulations, and for information on awards and financial assistance.

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Learn about faculty available to supervise this degree.
Please note: additional supervisors may be available. Contact the program for more information.

  1. Lecture in Nova Scotia

    Harvey Amani Whitfield

    Accepting Inquiries
    Black Canadian/Slavery , Early American/African American
  2. Lyndsay Campbell

    Lyndsay Campbell

    Accepting Inquiries
  3. George Colpitts

    George Colpitts

    Accepting Inquiries
    Environmental History, Canadian History, Western Canada, Indigenous People, Cultural Exchange and the Fur Trade, Fur, Modernity and Industrialized relations, Treaty Trade, the State, and Business History
  4. Petra Dolata

    Petra Dolata

    Accepting Inquiries
    Energy History, International History, Diplomatic History
  5. Alexander Hill

    Alexander Hill

    Accepting Inquiries
    Soviet military history, The Second World War, Soviet military and naval policy, The Soviet Union and southern Africa
  6. Nancy Janovicek

    Nancy Janovicek

    Accepting Inquiries
    Twentieth Century Canada, Canadian Women's and Gender History, Oral History
  7. Amelia Kiddle

    Amelia Kiddle

    Accepting Inquiries
    Latin America
  8. profile

    Courtnay Konshuh

    Accepting Inquiries
    Early Medieval Europe ca 600-1000, Early Medieval England, Early Medieval North Sea
  9. Hendrik Kraay

    Hendrik Kraay

    Accepting Inquiries
    History of Brazil, Civic Rituals, Popular Festivals, Military Institutions, Slavery, Race, Popular Politics, Latin American History, History of Newspapers and Periodicals in Nineteenth-Century Brazil
  10. Placeholder Profile Image

    Ken MacMillan

    Early Modern England, circa 1500-1700, English Empire and Atlantic World, circa 1575-1750, Crime and Criminal Justice in Early Modern England, Early Modern International Law and Diplomacy

Admission requirements


A minimum of 3.7 GPA on a  four-point scale (or equivalent), in history courses taken at the graduate level.

Minimum education

Masters degree in history (or related) and a four-year undergraduate degree with honours or a major in history.

Work samples

A sample of written work, normally a master’s thesis chapter or a major research paper completed at the master’s level.


A detailed statement of research interest.

Reference letters


Test scores


English language proficiency (ELP)

An applicant whose primary language is not English may fulfill the English language proficiency requirement in one of the following ways:

*Please contact your program of interest if you have any questions about ELP requirements.


For admission on September 1:

  • Canadians and permanent residents: Jan. 5 application deadline
  • International students: Jan. 5 application deadline

If you're not a Canadian or permanent resident, or if you have international credentials, make sure to learn about international requirements

Learn more about this program

Department of History

Social Sciences Building, Room 656
618 Campus Place NW
Calgary, AB, T2N 1N4

Contact the Graduate Program Administrator

Visit the departmental website

Faculty of Arts

University of Calgary
2500 University Drive NW
Calgary, AB, T2N 1N4

Visit the Faculty of Arts website