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What will I learn?

The Department of History offers graduate research leading to a doctor of philosophy (PhD) degree. The major study areas are the Americas, Asia, Canada, Europe and the Middle East.

Upon entering the PhD program in History, each student will be assigned a Senior Supervisor, enrol in at least one graduate seminar, and begin reading for comprehensive examinations. The Supervisory Committee and the student shall determine three fields of study. The student and each field supervisor will agree as soon as possible upon a general list of readings of approximately forty to forty-five books (or the equivalent) in each field. Copies of these reading lists must be submitted to the Graduate Secretary by the end of the first semester. The GPC will approve these lists and they will be placed in the student’s file. Students are expected to cover the material on these lists, preferably by means of a structured reading and writing program with their field supervisors. Comprehensive examinations will be based on the reading lists.

PhD students must successfully complete at least one graduate seminar course for credit, normally History 814 (Historical Methods), if a methodology course has not already been taken in a master’s program. Coursework must be completed before sitting for comprehensive exams; therefore PhD candidates must successfully complete a course in their first or second term.

Within one semester of the successful completion of the comprehensive examinations and formal admission to candidacy, the student will submit a thesis prospectus on a topic agreed upon with his/ her Supervisory Committee. Through his/her thesis, the student must demonstrate an ability to make an original contribution to knowledge through the discovery and analysis of new information and through the exercise of independent critical thinking.

Which department am I in?

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Study options

Full Time (10 to 15 terms)

Tuition fees
CAN $1,946.94 per term
Start date

Expected January, September 2023


Simon Fraser University

Burnaby campus,

8888 University Drive,


British Columbia (BC),

V5A 1S6, Canada

Entry requirements

For students from United States

Other English Language Requirements accepted: A minimum TOEFL score of 580 (paper-based).

For international students

The minimum University requirements for admission to a doctoral program are as follows.

i) a master’s degree from Simon Fraser University or its equivalent from a recognized institution;

ii) a bachelor's degree, with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.5/4.33, or a grade point average of at least 3.67/4.33(A-) based on the last 60 credits of undergraduate courses. All graduate work is also considered. Individual graduate programs may set a higher admission grade point average. Students admitted directly from a bachelor's degree must complete at least 50% of the course work units required for the relevant department's master's program if no course work is required as part of the doctoral degree;

iii) completion of at least 75% of the course work units required for the relevant department’s master’s program, with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.5. All graduate courses, whether completed at this University or at an equivalent post-secondary institution, shall be considered in the calculation. A student wishing to be admitted under this category (transferred to PhD) must have completed all of these requirements and initiated the transfer request within the first 6 semesters at SFU.

Submitted evidence that the applicant is capable of undertaking substantial original research. Normally, such capability will be judged from letters of reference from qualified referees, and the completion of a master’s thesis or other scholarly work.

Applicants normally will be required to achieve a minimum score of 7.0 on the International English Language Test System (IELTS - the academic NOT the general test) with a minimum of 6.5 in each section. The Test of English as a Foreign Language(TOEFL) may be used as an equivalent test provided a score of 93 or better is achieved with a minimum of 20 in each section (TOEFL-internet based exam), or TOEFL 580 and the Test of Written English(TWE) 5.0 (paper-based).

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.


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