Graduate Programs in History

Welcome to the UBC History Department’s Graduate Program. Our prize-winning faculty have created an exciting graduate program located in a dynamic university in one of the world’s most desirable cities. Professors offer a wide range of graduate courses that span the globe, traverse large time periods, and examine themes of contemporary relevance to students of history. Our graduate program welcomes students from around the world and offers superb postgraduate training. We aim to offer students competitive, multi-year funding packages.

The final deadline for applications (including all supporting documents) for the annual September program start date represents:

  • For PhD Application Deadline: December 15 of the preceding calendar year (with a reference letter deadline of December 22).
  • For MA Application Deadline: January 10 of the same calendar year (with a reference letter deadline of January 17).

Link to the online application page.  Please submit your on-line application before the above deadline dates by 4:00 p.m. (PST).  All supporting documents must be received by this date as well.

The Department of History at the University of British Columbia offers a diverse program of studies leading to the MA and PhD degrees. Graduate instruction is offered in fields spanning Aboriginal History, Canada, East Asia (China or Japan), Early Modern Europe, Gender History, History of Science, International Relations, Latin America, Medieval Europe, Modern Europe, Migration History, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Soviet Union and the US. The depth and range of our program and the strengths of our faculty and graduate students make UBC an ideal setting to pursue graduate training.

Comprising the department are over 30 full-time faculty members, over sixty graduate students, a significant number of distinguished emeritus and visiting professors, postdoctoral fellows and part-time instructors, and four support staff. The Department 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 including the Centre for Research in Women's Studies and Gender Relations, Educational Studies, English, Geography, Institute of Asian Research, Institute for European Studies and the Liu Institute for Global Issues.

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 22 branches and divisions, each specializing in a particular group of subjects. These house over 3.3 million books, 24,000 journals and 5.5 million non-book items such as computer files, maps, recordings and microfilms. The Library has especially strong collections in the fields of East Asia, Canada, Britain and Central and Eastern Europe.

The History Department's strong and growing graduate program attracts students from all parts of the world. Its graduates occupy posts in the professions, in government service, in the business world and at universities in Canada, the United States, Europe, Asia and Africa. Each year the Department of History welcomes promising new graduate students who benefit from the opportunity to study with the UBC faculty and in turn enrich the Department with their fresh interests and intellectual energy.

Department Programs


Most of the financial support for both MA and PhD students in the department is in the form of external awards, teaching assistantships, Four Year Fellowships (university-wide awards) and Graduate Support Initiative Awards.  The department works to combine these resources in order to offer students competitive funding packages. PhD students who are admitted to the program can normally expect offers of four years of support, while Masters students can expect up to two years.

Graduate Placement

>> A list of where History Department graduates are now working.

Teaching Assistantships

Teaching Assistantships involve a variety of duties in the department's undergraduate courses, such as directing discussions groups, evaluating papers, and marking examinations.

Graduate supervision: best practices

The following recommendations are designed for graduate students who are starting their education in the department and for their supervisors. It explains the existing procedures with the goal to foster a collegial work environment conducive to the success of graduate studies and research. 

Qualicum History Conference

For more than 40 years UBC history graduate students have participated in the annual Qualicum Student-Faculty History Conference on Vancouver Island. This conference brings together History faculty and students of the major British Columbia universities for a weekend of intellectual exchange and fun. The conference is generously supported by the Departments of History from University of Victoria, Simon Fraser University and UBC.

Careers for Historians

Welcome to Careers for Historians. This is a resource for history students to explore career options. It’s for those who are considering pursuing studies in history, for those who already have a history degree (undergraduate or graduate) and are wondering about what career paths exist, and for faculty members to refine how they advise their students.