The program information below is valid for the fall 2019 term (September 1, 2019 - December 31, 2019).

The Graduate Studies Academic Calendar is updated 3 times per year, at the start of each academic term (January 1, May 1, September 1). Graduate Studies Academic Calendars from previous terms can be found in the archives.

Graduate research fields

  • Ethics and Political Philosophy
  • Language, Logic and Metaphysics
  • Mind and Cognitive Science
  • Philosophy of Science and Mathematics
  • Admit term(s) 
    • Fall
  • Delivery mode 
    • On-campus
  • Program type 
    • Doctoral
    • Research
  • Registration option(s) 
    • Full-time
    • Part-time
  • Study option(s) 
  • Minimum requirements 
    • The average required for admission is 78%.
    • From normal undergraduate programs in Philosophy: the normal background for MA students is that provided by the four-year Honours Bachelor of Arts (BA) at the University of Waterloo.
    • International students with qualifications judged to be equivalent to a Canadian Honours BA in philosophy are normally admitted to full graduate student status, but may be required to take certain specific courses in order to rectify deficiencies in background, either as part of or in addition to their regular graduate program.
    • From a Canadian general BA or equivalent program: students admitted with the three-year Canadian general BA degree or its equivalent will be as qualifying students. A qualifying student is admitted to graduate status but not to a degree program. The qualifying year is a year of work approximately equivalent to the fourth year of an honours program. Students who do well during that year are eligible for admission to full degree status.
    • From undergraduate programs in fields other than Philosophy: students with some philosophy background but whose degree is in another field are encouraged to apply to the program; typically these students will be considered as "transitional students." Transitional students will normally be required to complete selected graduate or undergraduate courses, to be specified in writing at the time the student is recommended for admission, in addition to the usual requirements of the MA program. A transitional student is admitted directly into the MA program and is eligible for financial assistance.
    • From graduate programs: students who have completed a MA in Philosophy should apply to the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program. Students who have completed other advanced degrees in Philosophy or who have already completed work at another PhD program may be given advanced status in the PhD program.
  • Application materials 
    • Supplementary information form
      • Statements answering the questions below (at most 250 words for each answer):
        • Question 1: Please provide a brief statement of interest that outlines the areas of philosophy you hope to pursue in the program.
        • Question 2: Please explain why the University of Waterloo’s Department of Philosophy is a good place to pursue such a project, and why your background makes you well suited to pursue it successfully.
    • Transcript(s)
      • From previous institutions.
      • At the time of applying, an unofficial transcript is fine; if and when a student is enrolled they will be asked to submit official copies.
    • Writing sample
      • A philosophy paper of around 2500 words is desirable; longer and shorter papers are acceptable too, but please don't send anything longer than 5,000 words.
  • References 
    • Number of references:  3
    • Type of references: 

      academic

  • English language proficiency (ELP) (if applicable)

    Thesis option:

  • Graduate Academic Integrity Module (Graduate AIM)
  • Courses 
    • Students must complete the following courses:
      • PHIL 680A/PHIL 680B Departmental Graduate Seminar twice.
        • The seminar is a graduate level survey course intended to acquaint students with a number of topics under active investigation in the philosophical literature in a specific area of philosophy. The topics covered will vary from year to year, so students will not study the same material twice.
      • 3 one-term graduate courses (0.50 unit weight per course), at least 1 of which is a PHIL 674 Graduate Courses.
      • 2 research areas courses (PHIL 698 Research Area Tutorials for PhD), each supervised by a different member of the Department.
        • The intention is that each research area will prepare the student to make a research contribution in a particular area of philosophy. One of the areas will normally cover the subject in which the student intends to write a dissertation.
        • The student selects the research areas in consultation with the Graduate Officer, and in each is assigned a faculty member who determines the program in that area. The Department must approve the student’s choice of research areas. While it is possible to do an area in one of the traditional divisions of philosophy (e.g., Metaphysics, Ethics, Logic or History of Philosophy), they will normally be on a more specific topic (e.g., Theories of Meaning and Mental Content, Theories of Human Rights, Theories of Truth, Plato’s Later Dialogues). Faculty members in charge of areas are free to assign readings, require the taking or auditing of relevant courses, assign papers, and so on, and also examine the student as they see fit---orally, by formal examination, on the basis of papers, etc.
    • To be admitted to the thesis proposal stage, students must complete these requirements with an average of 83% in the seminars, courses and research areas, with no mark lower than 75%.
    • Students are expected to complete their seminars, course work and research areas during the first two years of their doctoral studies. Students who do not complete this work within two years may only continue in the program at the Department's discretion. The Department may choose to set a further deadline for the completion of outstanding coursework or areas on a case-by-case basis. Again, students who do not meet all such further deadlines may not be given permission to continue in the program.
  • Link(s) to courses
  • Academic Integrity Workshop
  • PhD Thesis
    • Thesis Proposal: upon completion of their courses and research areas, students are admitted to the thesis proposal stage. They should then undertake discussions with a member of the Department and invite that person to be supervisor of their doctoral thesis, and should consult with the Graduate Officer concerning the formation of their Thesis Committee. Students will then complete a dissertation prospectus. The Thesis Committee examines the student about the prospectus as they see fit, though normally in an oral exam. The Committee may pass the proposal; pass it with revisions; require the student to revise the proposal for re-examination; or they may reject the proposal and require the student to withdraw from the program.
    • Thesis: upon successful defence of the dissertation prospectus, students proceed to the thesis stage. The PhD degree is awarded after the thesis has been successfully defended in a public meeting and three copies of the thesis have been deposited in the Graduate Studies Office.
  • Other requirements 
    • Teaching preparation: PhD students will normally complete the Centre for Teaching Excellence (CTE), CTE's Fundamentals of University Teaching, course in their first year. Completion of this course is required before students are eligible to teach courses independently for the Department of Philosophy. The Department recommends that students who intend to pursue a career in university teaching also complete CTE's Certificate in University Teaching during their time in the program.