Master of Arts in History


Program Description


The Master of Arts in History at Lethbridge is taught on campus and requires both a thesis and substantial coursework. As an MA student, you may complete your degree in either a full- or part-time capacity. Full-time students complete a 24-month program while part-time students complete a 48-month program. Students are encouraged to finish earlier and often do: most of our full-time students finish between 20 and 24 months while one of our part-time students finished in 28 months.

Full-time students complete all required coursework in the first two semesters of the program while part-time students will normally complete all required coursework in the first two academic years, with, in both cases, the subsequent months committed to continued research and production of the thesis.

Graduate work requires close collaboration between supervisor and student. Consequently, it is necessary for you as a candidate to establish contact with potential supervisors prior to application for admission. Applicants who do not have the endorsement of a potential supervisor will not be admitted into the program. Candidates seeking potential supervisors should contact them or the History Department directly. The member of the faculty who has agreed to supervise the student usually then approaches other faculty members to form a Supervisory Committee.

Courses are determined in consultation with the supervisor before the student begins the program. All History students take the core graduate seminar in Historiography (History 5000), with the remaining courses a mixture of half-semester courses in Cultural, Social, and Political Thought (CSPT); undergraduate seminars elevated to graduate level; and Independent Studies. Students are required to take the equivalent of 3 – 6 full-time courses before beginning their thesis research.

Graduate degrees in History are awarded for the successful completion of a satisfactory thesis. This forms the central requirement of the program and expresses the fundamental tradition of academic scholarship, combining the analysis and synthesis of ideas, empirical investigations of primary sources, the construction and articulation of arguments, and writing skills. As a rough guideline, we ask for MA Theses to be 100 pages long, but there are many exceptions.

Faculty research expertise

Expertise/areas in which students can conduct research, if applicable;

As a graduate student in History, you could conduct research at Lethbridge in a wide variety of areas. Gender, Women’s History, Histories of Childhood and Youth, and the History of the Family are notable strengths of the Department. The work of over half of us is situated in these domains of research expertise and much of it has been publically recognized with awards. We are particularly strong in these areas thanks also to our close affiliation with the Institute of Childhood and Youth Studies and the Department of Women and Gender Studies, and the different thematic approaches which result.

While Gender and Women’s History are popular research interests across Canada and internationally, our department is particularly strong in them. Carol Williams, our joint appointment with Women and Gender Studies, held at Trent University the only Canada Research Chair in Feminist and Gender Studies that has ever been established. The Histories of Childhood and Youth are somewhat less common elsewhere but are rapidly developing. Our Department is leading this development. For example, our Canada Research Chair, Kristine Alexander, is a specialist in the History of Childhood, while Janay Nugent and Heidi MacDonald have current research projects on young people.

Secondly, the department is strong in the research of violence in History, with a notable chronological breadth. This extends through research by Chris Epplett into violent spectacles in Ancient Rome through to resistance to the war in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries by Amy Shaw. This expertise dovetails with the previously mentioned research strength with, for example, David Hay deepening his analysis of the role of gender in military leadership in the Middle Ages.

A third research strength of the History Department is the deconstructing of nationalism and the nation-state. For example, Gideon Fujiwara researches the intellectual history of nationalism, especially in relation to regional and local identity, while Sheila McManus deconstructs the nation-state from its edges by analyzing and comparing borderlands. The work of most of the other members of the Department challenges assumptions about national identity in one sense or another.

The Department is also strong on research in the History of Medicine, with projects by Lynn Kennedy on childbirth in the American South, Cindy Ermus on plague control in the eighteenth century, Chris Burton on the medical profession in the twentieth, and Carol Williams on reproductive rights and behaviours.

Apart from research subjects listed already, Oral History stands out as a research method of particular strength, especially in comparison with elsewhere, as reinforced by the winning in 2015 of the Governor General’s History Award by the Coyote Flats Oral History Prize. The University’s Centre for Oral History and Tradition, closely associated with the History Department, was a partner in this project.

Because foreign languages are such an important part of historical training, some positions within the Department are aligned with languages taught at the University of Lethbridge, for example, in Japanese and French History.

Finding a Supervisor

Students are required to secure a potential supervisor prior to submitting an application for this program. For further information please visit our Search Supervisors page.

Last updated August 2018

About the School

The University of Lethbridge was built on a commitment to students and the student experience, small classes and the liberal arts. Those founding principles are still at the forefront of what we do. T ... Read More

The University of Lethbridge was built on a commitment to students and the student experience, small classes and the liberal arts. Those founding principles are still at the forefront of what we do. Today the U of L is respected around the globe and is recognized as a research-intensive, comprehensive university. Read less