The program information below is valid for the winter 2021 term (January 1, 2021 - April 30, 2021).

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 
    • Master's
    • 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: 


  • English language proficiency (ELP) (if applicable)

    Thesis option:

  • Graduate Academic Integrity Module (Graduate AIM)
  • Courses 
    • Students must complete the following courses:
    • The directed research course will normally be taken with the thesis supervisor, and will involve research leading to the production of the thesis. Students wishing to take this option should have decided on their topic by mid-year.
    • Students must complete PHIL 680A/B and the 3 one-term courses required for the degree with a 78% average with at least one mark in the 80-100% range. The grade requirement for PHIL 696, the preparatory research course for the thesis, is a mark no lower than 78%.
  • Link(s) to courses
  • Academic Integrity Workshop
  • Master’s Thesis
    • The thesis must be accepted by a committee made up of the thesis supervisor and two other members of the department, to be selected in consultation with the Graduate Officer.

    Coursework option:

  • Graduate Academic Integrity Module (Graduate AIM)
  • Courses 
    • Students must complete the following courses:
    • The 3 directed research courses involve writing research papers under the supervision of three different members of the department. The choice of subjects is not restricted in advance, but must be agreed to by the student’s supervisor and by the Graduate Officer. Students with special interests may take 1 of these courses with a member of another department if they have received approval from the Graduate Officer.
    • Students must complete 680A/B and the 3 one-term courses required for the degree with a 78% average with at least one mark in the 80-100% range. The grade requirement for the 3 PHIL 696 directed research courses in lieu of a thesis is no mark lower than 78% with at least 1 in the 80-100% range.
  • Link(s) to courses
  • Academic Integrity Workshop