Program information

Department/School Philosophy
Faculty Faculty of Arts
Admit term(s)

Fall (September - December)

Application and document submission deadline(s)

February 1 (for admission in September)

Delivery mode On-campus
Program type Master's, Research
Length of program 12 - 24 months (full-time)
Registration option(s) Full-time, Part-time
Study option(s) Thesis, Coursework
Research field(s) - Graduate research fields are used to better define a student’s research concentration

Ethics and Political Philosophy

Language, Logic and Metaphysics

Mind and Cognitive Science

Philosophy of Science and Mathematics

Watch the How to apply to Waterloo graduate studies video

Due to funding restrictions, the Faculty of Arts is currently limiting the number of international students we can admit. Please contact the department's Associate Chair, Graduate Studies prior to applying to discuss your interest in this program.

What does it take to get in?

Minimum admission 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 material

  • Supplementary information form (SIF)
    • 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.
    • Review the writing your personal statement resources  for helpful tips and tricks on completing this form
  • 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
  • Proof of English language proficiency, if applicable.
    • TOEFL 100 (writing 26, speaking 26), IELTS 7.5 (writing 7.0, speaking 7.0)

How much will it cost?

What can you expect at Waterloo?

Updated February 2023. This program page is effective September 2022; it will be updated annually.  Any changes to the program page following this date will be indicated with a notation. 

We strive to provide you with the necessary information on each of our program pages.  Was there something you found helpful?  Was there anything missing?  Share your thoughts.