G37 Individual Training, 3rd Canadian Division
My experience at Laurier was incredible. The staff, faculty and colleagues were incredibly welcoming and the course work both engaging and thought-provoking. The major advantage of pursuing a history degree at Laurier lies in the strength of the Tri-University History program, which allows students to pursue a wide array of interests which no single university could ever successfully offer. The program was clear, but flexible, and allowed me to develop my writing and publishing skills. I will forever look fondly at my time spent at Laurier.
Additionally, my experiences proved beneficial in my post-academic life. The experience I gained teaching and understanding the principles of instruction and course design secured me employment as a training analyst with the Canadian Forces, a job I am both well prepared for and enjoy greatly. I would strongly recommend Laurier to any prospective students – it is truly a first rate program.
Assistant Professor of Indigenous Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University, Brantford Campus
Throughout my time in the PhD program at Laurier, I benefited from the expertise of several faculty members in a number of areas, ensuring I had a chance to design a program of study that left me very well prepared for my current position as an assistant professor of history at Memorial University of Newfoundland. The program structure combines comprehensive exam preparation with course work, enabling students to thrive in a learning environment that is both supportive and challenging. Because I was able to sit my exams in the fall of my second year, this left me a lot of time to focus on dissertation writing, teaching, and publishing. Support for professional development was the key to my experience at Laurier: students are welcome to present at the Tri-University History Conference, which is a collegial place for new scholars to present their research alongside established researchers. Secondly, professional development seminars are another useful aspect of the program, as they demonstrate the range of possibilities for a history grad that extended beyond the academy.
Assistant Professor, History, Royal Military College
There were several great things about doing grad studies at Laurier. The first was the people, both in the department and in the grad studies office. It was pretty clear to me that they were committed to ensuring that I had all the help I needed to succeed, both as a growing historian and in managing university rules and regulations. I enjoyed having access to profs from three departments – in terms of breadth of offering it felt like being at a much bigger university. Finally I really appreciated the programme’s willingness to take on a mature student. Those in charge were willing to give me a chance – something that I had not encountered elsewhere.
While in the program, I was able to publish a significant number of my research papers and even a couple of the historiographic studies. I was also able to present at a number of conferences. The overall effect of those extra papers was that I got more experience in presenting and a longer CV, and those things helped in the long run when I did find a position to apply for.
History Instructor, Okanagan College, Salmon Arm Campus
Anyone considering Laurier for their doctoral degree in history should be aware that the smaller setting is going to be a major advantage when it comes to forming a close working relationship with one’s dissertation supervisor and comprehensive field advisors. They, in turn, will come away with a real knowledge of you and your work, and be in a position to actually comment on your work ethic, integrity, perseverance, and other such traits that are not easily quantifiable, but very necessary in today’s job market.
My success as a university teacher is due in part to the in-depth preparation for teaching that I received at Laurier. Not only did the comprehensive fields reading lists amount to some 240 books, but on the one occasion when I was contracted on short notice to teach a new course in a field that I had never studied at the undergraduate level, the strangest thing happened. One of the professors in the department at Laurier actually sent me her syllabus to help get me started – and she wasn’t even one of my former supervisors! You simply won’t get that sort of help from professors in a larger department (or most smaller ones, for that matter). This is not a department where the doctoral student is going to find themselves cast adrift – even after they graduate.
One advantage of Laurier’s funding packages is that they do not cut out after year three, leaving you scrambling for teaching contracts while also trying to complete your dissertation. As for the work required as part of a teaching assistantship, I always considered the experience of leading undergraduate discussion seminars, delivering guest lectures, and marking research essays written by Laurier students to be excellent training for teaching. A teaching assistantship at Laurier will allow you to benefit from working for professors who genuinely care about the university’s reputation for excellence in undergraduate teaching. As someone aspiring to the profession of teaching history, these are the people you want to learn from.
Finally, Laurier is also home to the Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies. Connections with this organization can provide opportunities to take part in overseas study tours, both as a student and a guide, The Centre’s directors are internationally-known experts in their fields, and this organization’s reputation within the field of Canadian military history opens all sorts of doors, from local archives to invitations to international conferences as far away as the United Kingdom and Australia.
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