Faculty of Arts & Science
A place to learn, discover, think and do.
History at Queen's University


Watson Hall
Room number: 
Department Head: 

Undergraduate Chair: Barrington Walker
Undergraduate Assistant: Deborah Stirton-Massey
Graduate Assistant:
Yvonne Place

The History department at Queen’s will provide students with a sophisticated introduction to a variety of approaches to the past, and will hone your analysis, discussion, research, and writing skills. You can explore such diverse areas as the Crusades, slavery and race relations, Native history in the Americas, the Russian Revolution, the problems of 20th century Canadian unity, the economic development of Africa, and the perception and treatment of women in North America.

Our seminar-based undergraduate program offers something very few modern universities offer any more in this age of on-line tutorials and large lecture clickers—small classes where students and instructors discuss what they have read, what they think, and what they believe. We provide excellent training for MA and PhD students by offering a mix of seminars coupled with wide-ranging opportunities for gaining university-level teaching experience and professional development. At the same time, our focus on education at a human scale preserves that elusive sense of community that is so essential to any meaningful academic pursuit.

Degree Options

Bachelor of Arts (Honours) - BAH

Major in History
A major is an intensive course of study in one discipline, with approximately half of your courses within the discipline with room for an optional minor in any other Arts and Science discipline.

Medial in History
A dual course of study in History and any other Arts discipline.

Minor in History
A minor is a less intensive course of study in the discipline that must be combined with a major in another discipline.

Bachelor of Arts - BA

General in History
A less intense course of study leading to a 3-year degree.

Full list of Undergraduate Degree Plans at Queen's University

Graduate Degree Options

History - PhD
History - MA

First Year Courses

Any of the first-year history courses fulfills the prerequisite for further work in the subject.  Students should therefore choose on the basis of the subject matter and method of instruction they prefer.  HIST 121/6.0, HIST 122/6.0 and HIST 124/6.0 follow a lecture/tutorial method.  HIST 125/6.0 is offered as an online course by Continuing and Distance Studies. A grade of C+ in any one of these courses is the minimum prerequisite for seminar work at the 300 level.

  • HIST 121/6.0 The Intellectual Origins of the Contemporary West
  • HIST 122/6.0 The Making of the Modern World
  • HIST 124/6.0 Canada in the World
  • HIST 125/6.0 The Evolution of Modern Europe (available to students at the Bader International Study Centre and on-line through Arts and Science Online)

What it takes to study History in your second year >

Click here for the complete list of Courses in Arts and Science

Job and Career Opportunities for History Grads

Learning about the past helps us learn how to understand our own heritage, and how to unravel the complexities of an increasingly interdependent world. The History program at Queen's will provide you with a sophisticated introduction to a variety of approaches to the past, and hone your analysis, discussion, research, and writing skills. You can explore such diverse areas as th e Crusades, slavery and race relations, native history in the Americas, the Russian Revolution, the problems of 20th-century Canadian unity, the economic development of Africa, and the perception and treatment of women in North America.

Some of our History grads work in the following industries:

  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology
  • Architecture & Landscape
  • Archival Science
  • Business Administration and Management
  • Community Development
  • Corrections
  • Counselling
  • Ethics
  • Education
  • Events Management & Fundraising
  • Foreign Affairs
  • Human Resources
  • International Development
  • Journalism
  • Law
  • Librarianship
  • Management consulting
  • Media – Electronic & Print
  • Medical Records & Research
  • Promotions
  • Public Administration, Policy & Service
  • Publishing
  • Tourism & Travel
  • Urban and Regional Planning

Career paths for History grads handout from Career Services >

History Electives for Non-History Students

HIST 121/6.0 The Intellectual Origins of the Contemporary West
An introduction to European intellectual history from the ancient world to the present. Concentration is on the analysis of primary sources and ideas in their historical contexts. The course offers weekly introductory lectures followed by discussion of source material in small tutorial groups where the objective is maximum student participation.

HIST 122/6.0 The Making of the Modern World
A thematic introduction to world history from prehistoric times to the present, with particular emphasis on the changing balance of pow er between regions of the globe and the contributions of the peoples of Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas to modernity.

Canada in the World HIST 124/6.0
An introduction to major themes and events in the history of Canada placed in a North American and world context. Topics include relations between natives and newcomers, comparative colonialism, the emergence of nation-states and new social and cultural identities. Assignments emphasize analysis of historical texts and development of research and writing skills.

The Evolution of Modern Europe HIST 125/6.0
A survey of Western and Central Europe and Great Britain from the 18th to the 20th century. The focus is on the revolutions which produced modern Europe, notably the political revolutions (1789 and 1848), industrialization, urbanization, population growth, secularization, the rise of new classes, and changes in ideologies and popular attitudes.

India and the World HIST 200/3.0
Examines the history of India as a series of contacts with the rest of the world. Topics include Roman trade in ancient India, the Portuguese, Turkish, and Mughal empires, Gandhi in South Africa, and South Asian diasporas in Europe and North America. Course materials include histories, travel accounts, court chronicles, medical treatises, literature, and film.

Global Indigenous Histories HIST 207/3.0
An online course that will survey various case studies that explore the causes, conflicts, and consequences that have occurred wherever indigenous peoples have encountered colonizing invaders. Significant questions of study will include who is indigenous?, who is not?, what common themes characterize the histories of indigenous peoples around the world?, what factors make their experiences singular?, and can one speak of a global indigenous history?

Religion in Canadian Francophone Communities HIST 224/3.0
Introduces students to the socio-cultural and religious realities of French-language communities in Canada, from the 19th century to today. Ce cours introduit les étudiants aux réalités socio-culturelles et religieuses des communautés de langue française au Canada, due 19e siècle à nos jours.

Africa and the Modern World HIST 252/3.0
An examination of Africa's involvement in modern world history. Course covers material from the slave trade to the crumbling of European empires. Major topics include: Pre-colonial African states, slavery, imperialism, the colonial state, African protest and resistance, and women's issues, among other topics.

Canada from the Conquest to the Present HIST 260/6.0
An introduction to some of the major themes in the social, cultural, economic and political history of Canada.

U.S., Colonial Era to Present HIST 272/6.0
A survey of political, economic, and social developments in the United States from its colonial beginnings to the post-World War II era.

Gender in North American History HIST 280/6.0
A survey of the history of gender in North America. Examines topics such as patriarchy and the unequal status of women, masculinity, racial and ethnic relations, and sexuality. Also considers the impact of gender on historical events and phenomena such as industrialization, class conflict, World War II and the Cold War.

Graduate Studies in History

The Department of History offers challenging and innovative MA and PhD programs in established and new fields of historical inquiry. We have a stellar record of placing our doctoral students in academic appointments, prestigious post-doctoral fellowships and senior government positions in Canada and abroad. MA and PhD graduates have also excelled in careers in government, media and private business. Many of our PhD students complete their degrees before their fifth year, and publish their theses as highly-regarded books.

Students are taught primarily in small all-graduate seminars, in which they engage in a lively, critical examination of historical writing, and delve into research in primary sources. MA and PhD students join an energetic young academic community: they participate in the departmental seminar series and biannually host the McGill-Queen's Graduate History conference that draws students from across Canada and the US. We are a mid-sized university and department, and we are therefore able to create for our students a rich, supportive learning community.

Queen's History Department offers funding for MA and Ph.D. students through a combination of internal and external awards and teaching assistantships and fellowships. We guarantee our doctoral students an annual minimum of $18,000 for four years. This is a guaranteed minimum, and in practice our students most often receive substantially more than this, depending on external and internal competitions.

Queen's University has a minimum funding guarantee for eligible doctoral students of $18,000.00. This amount is a minimum, and actual doctoral student support may be substantially higher.

Study Abroad: University of Fudan (Shanghai)

The MA programme features a term at the University of Fudan (Shanghai), one of the premier academic universities in China. For further information about this initiative and to contact Queen's students who have studied at Fudan, please email Dr. Emily Hill at hillem@queensu.ca. This opportunity is not restricted to students researching modern Chinese history.

Study Abroad: University of London - Birkbeck College

The Department of History has an arrangement with University of London (Birkbeck College), Faculty of History, University of London that provides Queen's History PHD students with the opportunity to spend six months in London (January-June).

Students would become visiting students at Birkbeck College and would have the benefits and services of regular Birkbeck students: for example, library, internet, having a Birkbeck supervisor who would meet with you and read your work, the opportunity to give a paper in a spring research seminar at Birkbeck. You would also have access to all the seminars at the Institute of Historical Research, though these are already open to you as a Queen's student.

To find out if there is a historian working in your area, please access the Birkbeck History Staff.

Tuition is approximately four thousand pounds for six months. There is a fellowship available for which applicants will be considered as part of their application to the Visiting Studentship programme. It is possible to apply for a waiver for your Queen's tuition fees since you would be paying tuition elsewhere. A formal application is required - and can be accessed at this link:http://www.bbk.ac.uk/hca/prospective/postgraduate

Graduate Assistant

Yvonne Place
Phone: 613-533-6931
Internal Ext: 74371
Office: Mackintoch Corry E322

Department Student Council

The History Departmental Student Council (DSC) acts as the official liaison between the Department and its students. It is responsible for organising social and academic events involving History students, overseeing the annual instructor evaluations (USAT), and serving as the official undergraduate representation at Department meetings.

History DSC Email: history.dsc@gmail.com

Have Questions?

Call us at 613-533-2470 or email us.

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