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School of Graduate Studies

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School of Graduate Studies

Canadian Studies Ph.D.

Make an original contribution to Canadian scholarship. Join the national conversation as part of the only interdisciplinary Canadian Studies doctorate program in the country.

Bring your intellectual curiosity and with the support of world-class faculty members, complete an original piece of research relating to Canada. Throughout your journey – coursework and a thesis – you’ll broaden your knowledge of the study of Canada and its place in the global context and add your own voice to the scholarship.

At Trent, your expertise lays the foundation for your work in five possible fields of study including culture, heritage and the arts; environment and place; policy, economy and the state; identities and social movements; and feminist, gender and women’s studies. And you’ll push the boundaries of study with the combined support of expert faculty and academic resources from two universities.

  • Join a university celebrated for its role in developing the field of Canadian Studies.
  • Gain experience with available summer research assistantships.
  • Prepare for further studies or a career in education, social services or the non-for-profit and advocacy sectors.
  • Trent provides a minimum level of funding for the first four years of the program.

​Program Options

  • Ph.D.
  • Full-time or part-time studies
  • Thesis-based program
  • 4 years to complete full time

​Admission Requirements

  • Masters degree (or equivalent) with at least high honours standing in Canadian Studies or a related discipline

The Canadian Studies Ph.D. Selection Committee will begin their selection process in the weeks following the application submission date of February 1st. All applications received after this date will be accepted and considered for funding until all available positions/spaces are filled. Students are encouraged to apply by the recommended application deadline; however, we welcome applications beyond this date.

Required Documents

Official Transcripts

Submit one official copy for all post secondary education institutions, including incomplete studies/programs, transfer courses, letter of permission and exchanges. In order to be considered official, transcripts must be received by Trent University in envelopes sealed by the issuing institution, or received from the Ontario Universities' Application Centre. Trent students do not need to order Trent University transcripts. The School of Graduate Studies will obtain your Trent University transcripts for your application free of charge.

Two Letters of Reference

Academic references are preferred; however, professional references will be accepted. Links for your referees to submit an online reference will be sent directly to the referees you have provided on your application. We recommend you contact your referees prior to submitting an application to confirm their availability and contact information. If your referee does not receive the link, you can suggest that your referee check their junk email folder and email setting.  The email may have unintentionally been blocked by their email server.

Proof of Citizenship

(ie. copy of passport or birth certificate)

Proof of English Language Proficiency

Proficiency in English usage, both written and oral, is essential to pursue graduate studies at Trent University. It Is required for applicants to demonstrate an adequate level of English proficiency, regardless of their citizenship status or country of origin. Applicants who completed two or more years of post-secondary education at a university in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and the USA are exempt from this requirement. If you have completed two or more years of post-secondary education at a university where the primary language of instruction is English, the School of Graduate Studies is prepared to consider alternate proof of English language proficiency.

For detailed information about English Language Proficiency requirements, see International Applications

Applicants must make their own arrangements for taking language tests and having the results sent to the School of Graduate Studies in time to meet application deadlines by contacting the centre in their locale or by writing to one of the above.

Plan of Study

A detailed Research Statement / Plan of Study (400-600 words) in which you explain your intention in applying for Graduate Studies and your overall expectations of the Ph.D. program. This statement should include a description of your proposed topic for the dissertation, and an explanation of why this interdisciplinary topic is likely to be of interest to others engaged in Canadian Studies, as well as a brief account of work that has been done on this, or related topics, by other scholars.  (Please note that because interests do change, this statement is not intended to serve as a binding commitment regarding dissertation topic.)

Applicants may identify a Trent faculty member as a provisional dissertation supervisor; however, this is not a requirement for admission. Incoming students will be assigned a Program Advisor, a faculty member familiar with their area of research, who can offer academic advice and guidance. Students will be required to confirm a dissertation supervisor and committee by April 1 of their first year.  Arrangements with an individual faculty member can be made in person, by phone, by email, or by correspondence. For a list of faculty members and their research interests, please visit the Faculty page.

Please indicate in the subject line of your email: student name and PHD.CAST. Email to: graduate@trentu.ca .

A Writing Sample

Submit a sample of your writing of about 20 pages or less. Writing samples preferred format is PDF. Hard copies will not be accepted. Good choices for writing samples include:  an undergraduate essay, lab report, research report, journal article, a chapter from a masters thesis, or a published article. Please indicate in the subject line of your email: student name and PHD.CAST. Email to: graduate@trentu.ca .

Canadian Studies Ph.D. website

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