MA in History

Public history stream

Admission Requirements

Subject to the admission requirements of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, admission to the MA stream in Public History normally requires a bachelor’s degree with a minimum overall average of B+ (6.0 GPA), or a bachelor’s degree with a minimum average of A- (7.0 GPA) in the final year’s work. Many more students apply each year than can be accommodated in the program. A candidate with background deficiencies in History may be required to register for a year as a non-degree undergraduate student before being admitted to the program. A candidate with significant experience in community-based or professional historical engagement may be considered for admission without meeting the full requirements indicated above.

How to apply 

Program Requirements

The public history stream is designed to be completed within sixteen months of full-time enrollment: three full-time academic semesters and one full-time co-op work experience semester.

Students are required to take HSTR 500, HSTR 515A, 3.0 units of graduate History courses (normally HSTR 501A–528, HSTR 590, HSTR 591), and 3.0 units of AHVS 480 series courses in Cultural Heritage Management. Students are also required to complete a final project (HSTR 597) and a work-experience component.

The 3.0 units of graduate History courses may include only 1.5 units of field school courses. The department will accept GMST 589 in lieu of 1.5 units of graduate History courses. The Faculty of Graduate Studies normally allows graduate students to take 1.5 units of graduate level courses outside of their home department, subject to approval of the departmental graduate advisor.

Course Requirements (Unit Values)

HSTR 500 1.5
HSTR 515A 1.5
Geographical or Topical Field course (HSTR) 3.0
AHVS 480 series courses in Cultural Resource Management 3.0
HSTR 597 6.0
Total 15.0

History graduate courses are defined as either geographical and topical, and students are required to develop a program, in consultation with their supervisor and the graduate adviser, that draws from both types. Geographical field courses are defined by territorial or regional boundaries. Topical field courses examine significant themes that cut across geographical and/or temporal boundaries, such as social, military, intellectual/cultural, family, women's, Indigenous, gender, religious, colonial, world or maritime history.

Work Experience

In order to be awarded an MA in the public history stream, students are also required to complete a semester of work experience, normally over the summer after their first year, with a museum, archive, historic site or other public history organization.  The work experience may be paid or unpaid. The work experience requirement is normally fulfilled through the University of Victoria Co-op program and the placement must also be approved by the History graduate adviser. Students who are currently working professionals in public history or have extensive volunteer experience in the field may be considered to have fulfilled the semester of work experience requirement.

Final Project

Students will complete a written major research paper of 40-50 pages on a public history topic, normally based on primary sources and ideally linked in some way to the focus of their work experience. A website, an exhibit, or other public history project, also based on primary sources, is an acceptable alternative to a major research paper; those choosing to do such a project would also be required to submit a written paper related to the project of at least 20 pages documenting the research component of their project. The project will be graded by the supervisor and an additional faculty member. The second reader must be a member of the Faculty of Graduate Studies. This project will not be subject to oral defense.

Supervisor

Each student will have a supervisor nominated by the academic unit who is a member of the Faculty of Graduate Studies. A faculty member who wishes to be appointed as a co-supervisor for a student who is in a program outside of the faculty member’s academic unit must be approved for the Faculty of Graduate Studies’ Membership list as an Associate Member in the student’s home academic unit.

The duties of the supervisor include: recommending a program of study chosen in conformity with the Faculty of Graduate Studies and academic unit’s regulations and supervision of the project. See “Graduate Supervision Policy” on the Faculty of Graduate Studies website for more information.

Good Standing

Students must remain in good standing in order to continue to register each semester. Any concerns about academic or non-academic good standing will normally be handled by a committee including the student’s supervisor and the graduate advisor.  Any issues relating to supervisor/student relations will normally be adjudicated by the graduate advisor and the chair of the department.  All determinations of good standing follow the procedures outlined in the Graduate Supervision policy. 

Thesis-based option

Admission Requirements

Subject to the admission requirements of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, admission to the MA thesis stream in History normally requires a bachelor’s degree with a minimum overall average of B+ (6.0 GPA), or a bachelor’s degree with a minimum average of A- (7.0 GPA) in the final year’s work. Many more students apply each year than can be accommodated in the program. A candidate with background deficiencies in History may be required to register for a year as a non-degree undergraduate student before being admitted to the program.

How to apply.

Program Requirements

The MA thesis stream is designed to be completed within twenty-four months of full-time study: six full-time academic semesters.  Thesis stream MA students are required to complete HSTR 500, 4.5 additional units of graduate History courses (HSTR 501-526, HSTR 590, HSTR 591), and a 70-120 page thesis based on primary sources (HSTR 599). Students in the thesis stream are required to demonstrate a reading knowledge of a language other than English before graduation.

Course requirements (Unit Values)

HSTR 500

1.5

Geographical Field Course

1.5

Topical Field Course

1.5

Geographical or Topical Field Course

1.5

Thesis (HSTR 599)

9.0

Total

15.0

History graduate courses are defined as either geographical and topical, and students are required to develop a program, in consultation with their supervisor and the graduate adviser, that draws from both types. Geographical field courses are defined by territorial or regional boundaries. Topical field courses examine significant themes that cut across geographical and/or temporal boundaries, such as social, military, intellectual/cultural, family, women's, Indigenous, gender, religious, colonial, world or maritime history.

The required courses must be comprised of 1.5 or 3 units of field courses in a geographical area relating to the student's thesis topic and 1.5 or 3 units of topical field courses. At least 1.5 units must be in a geographical or thematic area outside that covered in the thesis. The 4.5 units of graduate History courses may include only 1.5 units of field school courses. The department will accept GMST 589 in lieu of 1.5 units of graduate History courses. The Faculty of Graduate Studies normally allows graduate students to take 1.5 units of graduate level courses outside of their home department, subject to approval of the departmental graduate advisor.

Language Requirement

All MA thesis stream candidates must demonstrate a reading knowledge of a second language acceptable to the department in order to qualify for graduation. This will normally be a language relevant to the student's research interests. The level of proficiency expected will be a passing grade in an approved reading course offered by the respective language departments. Students may also fulfill the language requirement by passing the department's written translation examination.

Other Requirements

At the end of the first month of their fourth term of registration, students must submit a short historiographical report/chapter to their supervisor and to the graduate adviser. If this first chapter is not completed by the first month of the fifth term of registration, the student will be required to meet with his or her supervisor and the graduate adviser. If the report is not submitted within a week following this meeting, the student will normally be required to withdraw from the program by the end of the fifth term.

Supervisory Committee

Each student will have a supervisory committee nominated by the academic unit and approved by the Dean of Graduate Studies. The academic supervisor will facilitate all activities of the supervisory committee. All members of a supervisory committee must be members of the Faculty of Graduate Studies or be specifically approved by the Dean. A faculty member who wishes to be appointed as a co-supervisor for a student who is in a program outside of the faculty member’s academic unit must be approved for the Faculty of Graduate Studies’ Membership list as an Associate Member in the student’s home academic unit. Note that when this is the case, normally the Associate Member would be ineligible to serve as a non-unit examining member, and would normally be ineligible to serve as an external examiner for the Associate Member’s home academic unit and for the unit for in which the person is an Associate Member.

The duties of the committee include: recommending a program of study chosen in conformity with the Faculty of Graduate Studies and academic unit’s regulations; supervision of the project, thesis or dissertation; participation in a final oral defense. The committee may conduct other forms of assessment and will recommend to the Faculty of Graduate Studies whether or not a degree be awarded to a candidate. See the Graduate Supervision Policy on the Faculty of Graduate Studies website for more information.

The MA thesis stream supervisory committee must have at least two members:

  • Member #1: The supervisor - must be from the home academic unit;
  • Member #2: Normally from within the home academic unit; may be a co-supervisor or a committee member.

Additional supervisory committee members may be added without the approval of the Dean as long as they are members of the Faculty of Graduate Studies or have had specific permission from the Dean of Graduate Studies to serve as a member.

Thesis

When you begin writing your thesis there are many resources available to you through the faculty of Graduate Studies.  If you have questions please contact our graduate assistant.

 

Proceeding to Oral Defense

Before you defend your thesis there are a number of steps that you must take. A student may not proceed to defense until the supervisory committee approves the entire thesis and the thesis is submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies.  The external examiner only reads the thesis after it has been submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies.  The external examiner of an MA thesis is normally a member of the Faculty of Graduate Studies but not a member of the History Department.

Timeline for 24-month completion:

  • September-April of your second year meet regularly with your supervisor and regularly submit chapter drafts.
  • April 15 of second year submit entire draft of thesis to supervisor.  Allow three weeks for the supervisor to read the thesis and the remainder of May to complete necessary revisions.
  • Confirm with your supervisory committee when they might be available for a possible defense date.
  • June 1 submit entire draft to committee members.  Allow three weeks for them to read the thesis.  Allow three weeks to make the required revisions.
  • July - submit request for oral examination form to the Faculty of Graduate Studies once all committee members have examined the thesis and are satisfied that it represents an examinable document for the degree requirements.  This form must be received by the Faculty of Graduate Studies 20 working days before your oral defense (not including the day of the defense).
  • August - 20 working days after submission or whenever your committee can assemble. Oral defense and examination that normally lasts one and a half to two hours.  The student begins by providing a 15-minute presentation followed by two rounds of questions.  Members of the public are invited to attend.  The examining committee determines whether the defense is acceptable and normally requires further revisions. 
  • August 31. Final day to submit the revised and complete thesis to UVicSpace.

Major Research Project (MRP) Stream

Admission Requirements

Subject to the admission requirements of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, admission to the MA Major Research Project stream normally requires a bachelor’s degree with a minimum overall average of B+ (6.0 GPA), or a bachelor’s degree with a minimum average of A- (7.0 GPA) in the final year’s work. Many more students apply each year than can be accommodated in the program. A candidate with background deficiencies in History may be required to register for a year as a non-degree undergraduate student before being admitted to the program.

How to apply.

Program Requirements

The MRP stream is designed to be completed within twelve months of full time study (i.e. three full-time academic semesters).  MRP students must complete HSTR 500, 6.0 additional units of graduate History courses (HSTR 501-526, HSTR 590, HSTR 591), HSTR 550 directed by their supervisor, and a major research project (HSTR 598). 

Course Requirements (Unit Values)

HSTR 500

1.5

HSTR 550

1.5

Geographical Field Courses

3.0

Topical Field Course

1.5

Geographical or Topical Field Course

1.5

Major Research Paper

6.0

Total

15.0

History graduate courses are defined as either geographical and topical, and students are required to develop a program, in consultation with their supervisor and the graduate adviser, that draws from both types. Geographical field courses are defined by territorial or regional boundaries. Topical field courses examine significant themes that cut across geographical and/or temporal boundaries, such as social, military, intellectual/cultural, family, women's, Indigenous, gender, religious, colonial, world or maritime history. 1.5 units will normally be taken in the student’s geographical field of interest. Three units will include at least 1.5 units of a topical field. At least 1.5 units must treat a geographical or thematic area outside that covered in the major research paper. The 6.0 units of graduate History courses may include only 1.5 units of field school courses. The department will accept GMST 589 in lieu of 1.5 units of graduate History courses. The Faculty of Graduate Studies normally allows graduate students to take 1.5 units of graduate level courses outside of their home department, subject to approval of the departmental graduate adviser.

Major Research Project

In order to prepare for the completion of the major research project, students will normally take HSTR 550, a directed reading historiographical and research methods course, with their supervisor in the last semester of study.  Registration in HSTR 550 is conditional on the submission of a five-page project proposal and its approval by the supervisor.

The Major Research Project will normally be based on primary research and will emerge from a paper written for a graduate course. The major research paper must be 40-45 typed pages and will be written in the form of a journal article. The project will be graded by the supervisor and an additional faculty member. The second reader must be a member of the Faculty of Graduate Studies. This project will not be subject to oral defense.

Supervisor

Each student will have a supervisor nominated by the academic unit and approved by the Dean of Graduate Studies. A faculty member who wishes to be appointed as a co-supervisor for a student who is in a program outside of the faculty member’s academic unit must be approved for the Faculty of Graduate Studies’ Membership list as an Associate Member in the student’s home academic unit.

The duties of the supervisor include: recommending a program of study chosen in conformity with the Faculty of Graduate Studies and academic unit’s regulations and supervision of the project. See the document “Graduate Supervision Policy” (link) on the Faculty of Graduate Studies website for more information.

Good Standing 

Students must remain in good standing in order to continue to register each semester. Any concerns about academic or non-academic good standing will normally be handled by a committee including the student’s supervisor and the graduate advisor.  Any issues relating to supervisor/student relations will normally be adjudicated by the graduate advisor and the chair of the department.  All determinations of good standing follow the procedures outlined in the Graduate Supervision policy. 

Cultural, Social and Political Thought program

For History students interested in the MA in History Stream (thesis option), and with a strong interest in theory can also apply to take an enriched course load through participation in the interdisciplinary program, Cultural, Social and Political Thought (CSPT); those who qualify for the program are given the chance to engage with sophisticated theory that goes beyond disciplinary boundaries, in order to address key issues in cultural social and political thought.

This interdisciplinary program is open to selected MA students in English, History, Political Science and Sociology. Students must meet the core graduating requirement of the individual departments. The Graduate Director in each department should be consulted for details. To complete the CSPT program in History, a student must complete:

  • 3 units of CSPT 500
  • 15 units as required in the History MA program (including HIST 500 and the Master's language requirement)
  • The MA thesis (HIST 599) must be in the field of CSPT. Admission to the CSPT program is subject to the written approval of the Program Director. Applicants must already have been accepted into the MA program in History. The requirements for the program in the Departments of English, Political Science and Sociology differ from those in History.

The thesis M.A. may be completed on a full-time or part-time basis. The M.A. degree normally takes 2 years to complete, but must be completed within five years.

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