Joseph Sproule
​​​PhD candidate, History​

I was born in Greece and moved to Toronto as a young child. I completed a BA in archaeology at U of T and then undertook further university studies in the UK, Finland, and the Netherlands. I ultimately decided to switch from archaeology to history and returned to Toronto for a third MA and then a PhD.

I study the history of the early modern eastern Baltic, specifically what is now Estonia and Latvia. My dissertation looks at the socioeconomic ramifications of mercenary involvement in the Livonian War of 1558 to 1583.

A number of factors prompted me to choose U of T. Most importantly, I knew that I wanted to work with my supervisor, Jüri Kivimäe, and that very few other universities could provide the opportunity to study my chosen area. The Department of History has a strong international reputation, and its faculty have the expertise to offer supervision in an impressive range of regions and fields. U of T's excellent library collections, amongst the largest on the continent, were also a significant attraction.

I have been fortunate to encounter a number of inspiring professors at U of T, some of whom have fundamentally changed the way I think about my discipline and the world. The level of support that I have received from professors and administrative staff within the History Department has been outstanding. Over the past few years, I have also benefitted from several significant scholarships, which have given me greater financial freedom to concentrate on my studies.

Upon completion of my degree, I plan to seek employment in academia. As well as being passionate about my research, I really enjoying teaching. A university teaching position would allow me to continue to pursue both of these interests.

U of T has a dizzying number of departments, institutes, centres, etc. I would encourage students to make use of the vast array of courses offered to construct a personalized program that best fits their interests. Take advantage of the size and diversity of the University to explore possibilities for interdisciplinary study.

In such a large institution it can also be valuable to seek out the camaraderie provided by more intimate communities. I have enjoyed being a junior fellow at Massey College, and there are all manners of clubs and societies around the University that welcome graduate students.