The PhD Program began in 2001 and is the only full interdisciplinary doctoral program in Canadian Studies in Canada. The School’s faculty specialize in and interconnect Heritage Conservation, Indigenous Studies, critical settler studies, nationbranding, the representation and performance of identity, and related fields of inquiry.

The program requires a combination of course work, comprehensive examinations, and a thesis.

The objective of the program is to produce researchers, teachers, and communicators who are engaged in constructive analysis of critical issues in our society. The program allows students with an interest in Canada to do advanced graduate work beyond the parameters of a single discipline and undertake research for their dissertations using a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches. The program is founded on the premise that many complex problems and issues cannot be understood satisfactorily from the vantage point of a single discipline and that a more comprehensive understanding of Canada can be achieved through integrated and systematic interdisciplinary scholarship.

For further information on the PhD program, please contact: Jennifer Henderson, Graduate Supervisor


The requirement for admission into the PhD program is a master’s degree (or equivalent), with at least an A- average (10.0 G.P.A.) in Canadian Studies or one of the disciplines represented in the School. Applicants should note, however, that meeting the admission requirement does not guarantee admission to the program. In addition to transcripts and letters of reference, application packages will include a statement of interest outlining the applicant’s proposed area of doctoral research and a representative academic writing sample.

We recommend applicants contact appropriate faculty members in advance of applying to discuss the specifics of the program, their application, and the potential for supervision.

PhD Application Deadline

Applicants wishing to be considered for admission to the joint PhD program must submit completed applications to the School by February 1.

Collaborative PhD with a Specialization in Political Economy

The School of Canadian Studies and the Institute of Political Economy offer a Collaborative Program in Political Economy at the PhD level. For further details, see the Institute of Political Economy’s Collaborative PhD with a Specialization in Political Economy section of this Calendar.


Doctoral candidates must successfully complete 10.0 credits. Candidates with deficiencies in certain areas may be admitted to the PhD program, but normally will be required to complete additional work. The specific requirements are as follows:

  • 1.0 credit for successful completion of CDNS 6900, the mandatory core seminar;
  • 1.0 credit for successful completion of two courses or tutorials (or the equivalent) drawn from the graduate list offered by the School, below; a GPA of 9.0 or better must be obtained in these courses for students to be allowed to proceed to the comprehensive examinations;
  • 1.0 credit for successful completion of two 0.5-credit written comprehensive examinations. Students will be examined in two areas of research;
  • Satisfactory demonstration of an understanding of a language other than English. Although French is the preferred second language, students may be permitted to substitute an Indigenous language or another language if it is demonstrably relevant to their research interests;
  • A public defence, in English, of a written thesis proposal. Following the completion of their comprehensives, students will be expected to defend a proposal of the research and analysis they plan to undertake in completing their PhD thesis. The thesis proposal defence should normally occur within six months after completion of a student’s comprehensive examinations. The thesis committee will be composed of three faculty members, always including one from each university;
  • A 7.0-credit thesis, which must be successfully defended in English at an oral examination.

For more information, see the School’s PhD Program Guidelines posted under Graduate Resources in the Canadian Studies section of this website.


You may be offered a funding package as part of your offer of admission to the program. Admissions funding packages can include scholarship funding and employment opportunities. Unlike other types of funding, you do not apply independently of your application to the program for an admission funding package or any of its constituent elements. Rather, any applications received by the annual February 1stdeadline are automatically considered for an admissions funding offer. Admissions funding packages may include the following elements: Departmental Scholarships, Domestic Entrance Scholarships, Endowment Awards, Teaching Assistantships, and Research Assistantships. For more information, see the SCS PhD Program Guidelines posted under Graduate Resources in the Canadian Studies section of this website.

In addition to admissions funding packages, the following awards are available to students enrolled in the program:

Students considering applying to the program can submit applications to OGS and SSHRC in the academic year prior to commencing the program.

For more information, see the SCS PhD Program Guidelines and other Resources in the Canadian Studies – Graduate section of this website.