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Human Studies and Interdisciplinarity (PhD)

Examine human social and physical development over a lifetime.

Conseiller ou conseillère aux études

David Leeson

Téléphone : 705.675.1151 ext 4299

Courriel : dleeson@laurentian.ca

Bureau :
Jody Lamarche
Administrative Assistant
705 675 1151 ext 4487
Office A-322

Comment déposer une demande d'études supérieures Ce programme vous intéresse?
Vue aérienne de l'Université Laurentienne
Le Grand Sudbury est la plus vaste ville en Ontario par superficie terrestre, où les activités de plein air ne manquent pas grâce aux lacs et cours d’eau, terrains variés, forêts et réseaux complets de pistes et de sentiers.
Mode de prestation : Sur campus
Langue du programme : Anglais

Program Requirements

All admitted applicants, in consultation with their Principal Advisor, shall develop their program of study within the first semester of their residency by evaluating their academic strengths and weaknesses using the stated competencies of the program.

Students may be required to undertake coursework to develop areas of competency. Areas of competency that may be required are, for example, second-language competency or reading competency in languages other than the language of instruction, or statistical or quantitative analysis competencies. In accordance with their former background and preparation, students may take elective coursework at the Master’s level (5000 or above). Students who wish to take a limited amount of coursework at another university may do so in accordance with the Graduate Calendar regulations.

The main components of the program shall be as follows:

  • Three core seminars worth 3 credits each: HUST 6126 EL – Interdisciplinary Research Methods, HUST 6156 EL – Theories in Interdisciplinarity and HUST 6066 – Interdisciplinary Knowledge Dissemination;
  • Two elective seminars worth 3 credits each. The placement (HUST 6906 EL- Field Based Research Placement) can be substituted for one of these seminars;
  • A Comprehensive General Examination; See past successful comprehensive examinations
  • A Thesis, See past successful theses


Human Studies Students Association (HUSSA)

The purpose of the Human Studies Students Association is:

  • To foster unity among the students in the Human Studies PhD program
  • To provide forums for the students to express concerns or suggestions for the program, and
  • To organize social events which give students the chance to meet and share goals and issues with each other.


Applying to the Program:

The first step in applying is to find a supervisor. Please consult the list of our faculty members (scroll down to the very bottom of the page). You can email directly any of these professors whose research interests might align well with your own, and provide them with a description of your research project. Once you have secured a supervisor, you can start the formal application process. Please see the “Admission Requirements” and “How to Apply” sections below.

Starting the Program

Once accepted into the program, students begin by completing the coursework (Three required courses, as mentioned above, and two elective courses, which can be chosen in consultation with the supervisor). Course completion normally takes one to two years, depending on the student’s status in the program, as full-time or part-time. During this period the student and supervisor should establish a thesis supervisory committee, which will consist of at least two other professors, who will provide guidance and direction to the writing of the student’s dissertation. The committee members may be Laurentian professors, or they may be external to Laurentian. Once the thesis supervisory committee has been established, all members should sign a Thesis Supervision Contract (PDF), confirming their commitment to the supervision process.


Next Steps – Preparation for the Comprehensive Examination

Once the coursework has been completed and the supervisory committee has been established, the next step is to prepare for the comprehensive examination, which includes both a written paper and an oral defense. The work on the Comprehensive papers may take between 1 to 2 years for a full-time student, and up to 4 years for a part-time student.

The comprehensive paper consists of two parts:

A minor part dealing with interdisciplinarity (20 to 50 pages), in which the student must explain the concept of interdisciplinarity, and how their research project is interdisciplinary in nature. There is a required bibliography for the minor (PDF). Students must reference all these titles in their minor paper, and can add titles if they wish.

A major part dealing with the student’s research topic, in which the student does the literature review of his or her thesis and develops the problematic.

When the student is ready to begin writing the comprehensive paper, they must consider the questions they will be addressing in the major part to the paper. These questions must be agreed upon by all members of the supervisory committee, to ensure they are all on the same page in regards to the themes and direction the student’s paper is pursuing. Committee members and the student must sign the Agreement on Comprehensive Examinations form (PDF), and submit a copy of the agreed-upon questions, in addition to the proposed bibliographic titles for the major comprehensive paper.

When the student has completed writing the comprehensive paper to the satisfaction of all the committee members and the approval of the Program director, an oral defense of the comprehensive exam can be scheduled. At this time the Program’s administration will send the committee members a form to evaluate the comprehensive paper.

Further information on procedures for the comprehensive exam is available at the following links:


Thesis defense

After successful completion of the comprehensive exam, the final stage of the program is preparation for the thesis defense. Detailed information about the preparation of the thesis document can be found at the following links:

Before a defense can proceed, the thesis document must be approved by an internal examiner (from within Laurentian) and an external examiner, in addition to the supervisory committee. Internal and external examiners must be approved by the Faculty of Graduate Studies to ensure their suitability. Upon such approval, a date and time can then be set for the defense. The thesis supervisor will then submit to Graduate Studies an evaluation of the thesis (Reader’s Report) from each of the committee members, along with a pdf copy of the thesis. Graduate Studies will send the thesis out for reading by the internal and external examiners, and if their evaluations are positive, the defense can proceed as scheduled.


Information on the procedures and timelines involved in the preparation of a thesis defense, as well as required forms can be found at the following links:

Application Process

Step 1. Contact the Graduate Coordinator and/or individual faculty member about the possibility of becoming a student.  Students are encouraged to consult the faculty list on the Faculty Members tab in order to identify a potential supervisor (i.e. a faculty member they would like to work with).

Step 2. Click here to submit the online application. Once students have applied, they will receive instructions (typically within 48 hours) from the Office of Admissions leading them to the MyLaurentian portal. Students can access the portal at my.laurentian.ca; sign in credentials will be provided in the correspondence received from the Office of Admissions upon successful completion of an application. The following documents will be required in order to complete an application.


  • Three Reference Forms (to begin the process at my.laurentian.ca click on "Reference Submission" on the left-hand navigation menu)
  • The “Information about the candidate, achievements and projects” form (found in MyLaurentian)
  • The “letter of Intent” form from a member of our program attesting his/her commitment to supervise your thesis research (found in MyLaurentian)
  • Curriculum Vitae/Resume (to be uploaded via MyLaurentian)
  • Official Academic Transcript(s) from all post secondary studies* (Please note that current or prior Laurentian University students do not need to request transcripts) 

*Please note that official transcripts or WES course-by-course (for institutions attended outside of North America) must come directly to the Office of Admissions from the previous post secondary institution by requesting at the time of your application or by contacting the institution's Registrar's Office.
Step 3. Once the Admissions Office receives all information and the application is deemed complete, the application will be forwarded to the department.  An Admissions Committee meets to review the applications.
Step 4. The Admissions Committee will review all applications on file and make a decision regarding the suitability of each applicant.  The Admissions Committee will then make a recommendation to the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies at Laurentian University. The Graduate Studies office will verify the dossier and if satisfactory, the Dean of Graduate Studies will forward the recommendation to the Office of Admissions at Laurentian University for admission.
Step 5: If approved for admission, the Office of Admissions will send the student an Offer of Admission via MyLaurentian.  Applicants wishing to accept the offer of admission must indicate their response on MyLaurentian within 3 weeks of receiving the offer. Once the student has accepted the offer, a transition to the registration process occurs.

Note pour les étudiants actuels

Les options de grade ci-dessous seront offertes lors de la prochaine année universitaire et ne le sont pas cette année. Si vous cherchez les cours à suivre afin de compléter les options d'un programme d'une année universitaire antérieure, svp consultez avec un conseiller académique.

Students must follow these regulations while in the Faculty of Graduate Studies.


Approved Fields of Study

  • Interdisciplinarity, Culture, and Society

Program of Study

3 core seminars
     HUST 6126E     Interdisciplinary Research Methods
     HUST 6156E     Theories in Interdisciplinarity

     HUST 6066E     Interdisciplinary Knowledge Dissemination

2 elective seminars (3 credits each)

The placement (HUST 6906E  Field Based Research Placement) can be substituted for one of these seminars.


A Comprehensive General Examination  See past comprehensive examinations

A Thesis

     HUST 6000E     Thesis
See past successful thesis

HUST-6000EL - Thesis HUST-6016EL - Seminar in Regional and Cultural Studies HUST-6026EL - Seminar in Human Development HUST-6056EL - Interpretation and Values HUST-6126EL - Interdisciplinary Research Methods HUST-6156EL - Theories in Interdisciplinarity HUST-6216EL - Independent Studies I
HUST-6217EL - Independent Studies II HUST-6226EL - Selected Topics HUST-6906EL - Field Based Research Placement HUST-6066EL - Interdisciplinary Knowledge Dissemination - - -