Doctoral Candidate in History, University of St. Andrews, Scotland
During my time as an MA student at Laurier, I was fortunate to be surrounded by engaging faculty, supportive staff, and friendly fellow students. Faculty with a diverse range of interests introduced me to new topics and new ways of thinking. Through hashing over difficult issues within small group seminars, I improved my ability to think critically and to put my ideas into words. Challenging writing assignments further enhanced my ability to gather a lot of information and distil it into a succinct piece of writing with a clear and persuasive argument.
The ability to express myself in speaking and writing has benefitted me during my time as an English teacher in South Korea. The MA has also been a stepping-stone for me as I’ve gone on to pursue a PhD at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Furthermore, the issues I engaged with while studying at Laurier, in my case the development of racism and colonialism, have helped me to make better sense of the world today. If you want to understand something about the modern world, you’ve got to know the history behind it.
PhD Candidate, University of Manitoba (Canada Graduate Scholarship Holder)
In comparison to other schools, the history department is fairly small and the faculty are centrally located. For me, this meant a very collegial, friendly and welcoming environment that my colleagues at larger schools just didn’t get. I could just stop by faculty offices for an informal chat while I was on campus, and the office staff knew me by name and were always genuinely helpful and friendly. Having my TA office hours in the same building also allowed me to make new acquaintances from among faculty and grad students in other areas of history or political science who I would otherwise never have met. This fostered interdisciplinary discussion and support, making my grad student experience anything but isolating. Despite the department’s small size, the Tri-University structure of the graduate program gave me access to a wide range of course options, as well as the opportunity to meet students and faculty at two additional institutions. Overall, I believe that this diversity enriched my graduate student experience considerably.
Having the opportunity to be a Teaching Assistant was amazing – I didn’t realize at the time that is not the standard across Canadian universities. Having met doctoral students from other schools who have never had the opportunity to TA, I feel fortunate to have had this experience at Laurier. I continue to benefit from the connections I made with students and faculty in the Tri-University program, who have maintained an interest in my studies and successes since leaving Laurier. Being able to meet faculty at all three schools was an excellent networking opportunity for me, and exposed me to a variety of specialty fields and approaches. Having relocated to another province, I always look forward to seeing familiar Tri-University faces at conferences, workshops and events across the country.
Project and Administrative Coordinator, Academic Services, Wilfrid Laurier University
Studying history at the master’s level at Laurier was a formative experience that continues to have an impact on my career. Since graduating I have worked in higher education, as well as in non- and for-profit organizations, utilizing the skills I honed at Laurier on a daily basis. From critical thinking to advanced research and writing abilities, I have found the transferable skills taught by the faculty to be well worth the investment in an advanced history degree. The small class sizes and intensive reading requirements also encourage students to digest large amounts of information, clearly articulate their opinions, and have healthy debates. Having developed oral communication skills, in addition to strong research and writing abilities, has been incredibly beneficial to the advancement of my career.
The uniqueness of the Tri-University programming allowed me to explore a wider range of courses than I would have been exposed to at a single university. It also afforded me the opportunity to engage with a wider number of faculty and students. I thoroughly enjoyed this aspect of the program and will always reflect fondly on the relationships I built with faculty, staff and students at each of the campuses.
Without hesitation I would encourage anyone considering a history degree to pursue their studies at Laurier.
Ontario College of Teachers
The Tri-University MA program was a richly rewarding experience for me academically and in terms of personal growth. I found the professors eager to help me expand my skills and thinking patterns, bringing me to a new level of understanding and proficiency with each course. One of the benefits of the program is the diversity of experience offered – the combination of academic mentoring for the Major Research Paper, excellent and varied courses, and the opportunity to work as a TA really made it a complete package. As a student of history interested in more global topics, I found the course offerings much more varied than in other, similar programs. I cannot speak highly enough of the Tri-University History MA experience, and continue to view it as a formative experience in my life.
Associate Professor of History, Wilfrid Laurier University
Wilfrid Laurier University’s master’s program in History was an academically challenging experience that prepared me for a rewarding career in teaching and research. At Laurier, I had the opportunity to work closely with expert faculty in various fields who pushed me to think outside of my own experiences and to develop skills in research, communications, and teaching that prepared me to enter the workforce as a highly qualified professional. As part of my program I had the opportunity to do two weeks of field work in France and Belgium, to serve as a teaching assistant in the department, and to volunteer at an academic research centre related to my field of study. Faculty were highly supportive and pushed me to publish my work, providing opportunities to do so in academic journals that were even edited by professors in the department. The well-rounded education and training I received has benefited me in innumerable ways, both professionally and personally. I not only made many life-long friends at Laurier (and even met my partner in the history program!), but also built up a network of professional contacts that has helped me get ahead in the job market.
After leaving Laurier, I completed my PhD in history and am now a tenure-track Assistant Professor at a comprehensive Canadian university. But my time at Laurier as both an Honours BA and MA student were the most rewarding student years. I highly recommend the Laurier's master’s in History for any student who wants to be challenged academically and gain both skills and life experience that will make them highly qualified to work in a variety of public and private opportunities.
Sub-chief (Latlutanun) of the Oneida Nation (Onyota'a:ka); Shonuhses turtle clan title and PhD student at Western University
I was fortunate to experience post-secondary education at Laurier at both the undergraduate and post-graduate levels. During my time at Laurier I was challenged at the highest level of scholarship, and I gained an immense wealth of knowledge from those experiences. Through the guidance of my professors I developed a level of scholarship that prepared me well for my research at the PhD level. Laurier is an extremely supportive institution at all levels of instruction. Enjoy your time at Laurier as it truly inspires lives of leadership and purpose.
High School Teacher, Calgary
The professors at Laurier and the other Tri-University campuses were clearly invested in helping me succeed. Their doors were always open, and they took care in providing genuine and helpful feedback on all of my work. The opportunity to engage with history departments at different universities meant I had a wide selection of courses to choose from that matched my interests. One of my favourite experiences was presenting a paper at the Tri-University History conference, where I had the opportunity to share my research with my colleagues in the field.
One of the largest draws for me was the opportunity to serve as a teaching assistant for first year history courses at Laurier. I was a high school teacher already, so TAing allowed me to keep my teaching skills sharp while it also gave me a stronger understanding of the skills my future students will need as they make the transition into higher education.
London Public Library
As a master's student in the Department of History at Wilfrid Laurier University, I was able to take advantage of the many unique opportunities that the Graduate program has to offer. As Laurier is part of the Tri-University system, I was able to select my courses from not only those offered at Laurier, but from the history graduate courses offered at the University of Waterloo and the University of Guelph as well. As a result of this unique program structure, I was able to take courses that related to my fields of interest, such as Canadian history and War and Society, which provided me with the background knowledge that I required for my Major Research Paper (MRP). Courses in the second semester are designed to let graduate students have an opportunity to do their own research with primary sources. I thoroughly enjoyed these research courses because I found it very gratifying to conduct my own research, draw my own conclusions, and discuss my work with other students and professors. Since Laurier offers both reading and research based courses, I found that I was able to enhance my knowledge and research skills, providing me with the foundations I needed in order to successfully complete my MRP.
At the end of the program, I defended my MRP and discussed my work with several professors. I found it extremely rewarding to share my research with experienced and knowledgeable professors. Their feedback expanded my thinking and contributed to a well-rounded product. The defence is a fulfilling culmination of one’s hard work and highlights the knowledge and skills that one has gained and improved over the duration of the year.
Obtaining my master's in History from Laurier has prepared me for future employment. I have been able to translate my research and analytical skills gained from this program and apply them to my current job at a public library. My position often requires that I help patrons locate specific research materials and lead educational programs. My master's degree in History convinced my employers that I was capable of successfully completing these tasks. Laurier has a well-rounded program that is structured for the students’ success, both within the program and afterwards.
Associate University Secretary, University of New Brunswick
After completing my MA in 2007, I have learned that a graduate degree in History carries both great freedom and responsibility. My degree has opened doors to many possibilities, and I have been able to demonstrate to potential employers how the skills I developed could be useful to them. I developed a flexible skill set of analytical, interpretive and writing skills that have helped me forge a career in education – but that field could have easily been sales, writing, pharmaceuticals, civil service, etc. – the list of possibilities is endless. Because of my education, and the confidence I developed in my skills and abilities through the MA program, I was able to pursue a career in a field that I was passionate about.
Humanities Research Liaison Librarian, Queen Elizabeth II Library, Memorial University of Newfoundland
As a history librarian in an academic environment, I am constantly drawing on the skills and knowledge I obtained during my master's and PhD studies in the Tri-University program. Course design, historiography, significant reading, research assignments and structure are regular components of my day.
The collaboration between the three departments allows students to draw on the strengths of each, offering a diverse field of experts not available in most programs.
Both programs provide interesting research and teaching opportunities, under the guidance of engaged faculty. Student support was continuous through the program, as faculty mentorship was an integral part of the Tri-U structure.
The master's program presents a number of unique opportunities for students. The annual graduate conference provides students with a forum to present their research, and learn about the research of their peers. The Cleghorn Battlefield tour provided successful Laurier applicants in the Tri-U the chance to tour Canadian battlefields in Europe, and question the events surrounding the world wars while walking the ground. These two opportunities enriched my own graduate experience, and profoundly shaped my professional and academic ambitions.
Administrator, Northwind Solutions
When searching for a university to attend for my undergrad degree Laurier was immediately attractive to me because of its size. I wanted a university where I could be a person and not just a number. Many of the reasons why I chose Laurier as an undergraduate also applied when I chose Laurier as the university where I would complete my master’s degree.
Although I had started my undergraduate career as a business student I realized very quickly that I was enjoying my electives in history far more than I was my business classes. In fact, I was exceling in history. The decision to become a full-time history student was not a difficult one. I fell in love with the program and with the department at Laurier. Many of my history classes were smaller than my business classes. I felt like I got to know my professors (and them me) and that I was not just a number. Professors in the department were very approachable and willing to help however they could. The support staff in the department was exceptional as well. This was the kind of department I wanted to be part of for my graduate degree.
I will admit that Laurier ranked high on my list for my graduate degree because of the Laurier Center for Military, Strategic and Disarmament Studies (LCMSDS). My focus was military history and Laurier had many excellent military history professors, many of whom I had already worked with for years. I was able to spend much time working at LCMSDS while completing my MA, an experience that only furthered my understanding of what I was studying. Class sizes at Laurier were small and promoted very good discussion. When I could not find a class I wanted to take, the department worked with me to develop a directed readings course. I was supported by my advisor one hundred percent while writing my thesis and he shared in my excitement at discovering new bits of information. I was not just another paper he had to read. My advisor made me believe that my work was good and that I could make a valuable contribution.
Although my current job does not relate directly to my degrees, my MA certainly prepared me for the working world. I am good at my job now because of skills I learned completing my MA. I am organized and work well under pressure, which comes from years of working towards a deadline. Whether it was reading for class, writing a paper or marking undergraduate exams, deadlines were constant. Today, the only thing that has changed about my deadlines is the work I am completing. Now, instead of papers and marking, it is payroll and billing.
History is one of those subjects where attention to detail is extremely important. My MA thesis likely would not have been accepted if I had said the Allies invaded Sicily on July 9, 1943 instead of July 10, 1943. It is this attention to detail that perhaps serves me best in my life after school. My job in the renewable energy industry involves multiple locations, serial numbers, addresses, phone numbers and customers and, once again, the skills I learned completing my MA are all put to good use.
A professor once told me that employers like arts students because they can think outside the box, can articulate themselves clearly, and have a firm grasp of the English language, both written and oral. I now completely understand what this professor meant. Given the chance to do things differently, I would not change a thing. The skills I learned at Laurier as a MA student allowed me to make a seamless transition from the academic world to the business world and to excel at what I do.
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