Story: History and historians

History theses, 1920–2009

History theses, 1920–2009

These graphs show the output of masters and PhD theses from New Zealand university history departments in five year periods.

The top graph shows that there was a surprising number of history theses completed in the 1930s and 1940s. There was a heavy concentration (about half in the 1930s) on the early period of New Zealand history before the abolition of provincial government in 1876. After a boom in the late 1960s, numbers of theses began to rise again in the 1990s, by which time there was also a striking increase in doctoral theses being completed in New Zealand. This reflected a growing professionalism and the expectation that academic teachers had a doctorate.

The bottom graph shows that until the 1960s most theses completed in New Zealand universities focused on local subjects; but as the numbers of academic history teachers with overseas research increased, and as library holdings improved, there was a steady output of theses on non-New Zealand subjects. Two-thirds of theses were in British or European history, with smaller numbers in Asian and Pacific history.

Using this item

Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

This item has been provided for private study purposes (such as school projects, family and local history research) and any published reproduction (print or electronic) may infringe copyright law. It is the responsibility of the user of any material to obtain clearance from the copyright holder.

Source: Union list of higher degree theses in New Zealand libraries and New Zealand Journal of History

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Jock Phillips, 'History and historians - Rise of academic history – 1940 to 1970', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 25 April 2024)

Story by Jock Phillips, published 22 Oct 2014