PhD in Philosophy


PhD students in Philosophy take seminar courses in their first year, take two specialized research area courses in their second year, defend a dissertation proposal, then write the dissertation. The main objective of the Philosophy PhD program is to prepare students to conduct rigorous independent research projects and to explain complex ideas helpfully and clearly to a variety of audiences. We are proud of how our graduates have used those all-purpose skills in careers in and beyond academia.

The University of Waterloo also has Graduate Diplomas in Cognitive Science and Theoretical Neuroscience which can be a great complement to a PhD degree.

Key program features

  • Seminar offerings tend to include a high proportion of topics with interdisciplinary and/or practical-oriented content
  • Professionalism seminar with a focus on philosophy
  • Research area courses to deepen your areas of specialisation and competence
  • Dissertation can be a traditional monograph or a “integrated thesis” whose chapters are in the style of journal articles.


All PhD students in the Department of Philosophy receive a standard annual funding package. Outside the funding package, each spring term the department offers extra TA positions to some of our interested graduate students. Students have access to conference and workshop reimbursements from the department, faculty, and university level through the Graduate Student Conference Assistantship. Our department also awards an Excellence in PhD Studies Travel Award once a year to provide additional support for presenting papers at workshops and conferences. For questions about funding, please contact the Graduate Coordinator.


Applications are due by February 1 for the following academic year.

*Note: 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.