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Graduate Studies Calendar 2017-2018 Program Descriptions Philosophy PHIL
Philosophy - PHIL
Contact Information

Location: Social Sciences Building, Room 1248
Program number: 403.220.5533
Fax: 403.289.5698
Email address:
Web page URL:

1. Degrees and Specializations Offered Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Master of Arts (MA), thesis-based and course-based

The course-based Master of Arts degree may be completed on a full-time or a part-time basis.


  • History and Philosophy of Science (MA only)
  • Philosophy of Religion (MA only)

*These two specializations are offered in co-operation with the Departments of History and Classics and Religion respectively. Selecting a specialization is not mandatory.

2. Admission Requirements

In addition to Faculties of Graduate Studies and Arts requirements, the Department requires:

a) Applicants hold a four-year undergraduate degree with honours or a major in philosophy; however, applicants with a degree in a related academic field will be considered.

b) Three letters of reference, and a sample of written work, such as a recent essay, written in English. Applications will not be considered without a sample of written work.

c) A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.50 or higher on a four-point scale over the last 60 units (10 full-course equivalents) and/or the last two years of study in their degree.

d) For applicants required to prove proficiency in English, a minimum TOEFL score of 580 (paper-based test), 97 (Internet-based test), a MELAB score of 83 or an IELTS score of 7.0 must be submitted.

Students can also meet this requirement by successfully completing Tier 3 of the University of Calgary International Foundations Program ( and achieving a minimum grade of “A-” in the IFP Tier 3 Academic Writing & Grammar, Reading Comprehension & Proficiency and Listening Comprehension & Oral Fluency.

3. Application Deadline

The deadline for submitting complete applications is January 15 for September admission.

Candidates applying for financial assistance should ensure that all documents relevant to their scholarship application reach the Department by January 15. The Department makes its first round of decisions for financial support by the end of March.

4. Advanced Credit

The Department does not normally give advanced credit for courses taken previously. However, in special circumstances, a request for advanced credit may be considered if it is made as part of the admission process. Credit will not be given for course work taken as part of another completed degree/diploma or for courses taken to raise the grade point average to a level required for admission. Normally, advanced credit may be given for a maximum of 9 units (1.5 full-course equivalents).

5. Program/Course Requirements

Note: Normally, in both master's and doctoral programs, no more than 3 units (0.5 full-course equivalent) of Directed Reading can be taken to satisfy the minimum course requirement.

In addition to Faculties of Graduate Studies and Arts requirements, the Department requires:

Master of Arts (thesis-based)

a) A minimum of 18 units (3.0 full-course equivalents). Philosophy 603 is a required course and is normally taken in the first year in program.

b) In the specializations History and Philosophy of Science or Philosophy of Religion, courses taken in History or Religious Studies, may, with departmental approval, count as fulfilling course requirements for the degree.

Master of Arts (thesis-based) with Specialization in the History and Philosophy of Science

a) Six units (1.0 full-course equivalent) (two terms) in the philosophy of science.

b) Six units (1.0 full-course equivalent) (two terms) in the history of science.

c) Six units (1.0 full-course equivalent) (two terms) in the history and philosophy of science.

d) Proficiency in a second language or logic, depending on the department of enrolment.

Master of Arts (course-based)

a) A minimum of 30 units (5.0 full-course equivalents), including at least 6 units (1.0 full-course equivalent) in the History of Philosophy and 6 units (1.0 full-course equivalent) in 20th Century or Contemporary Philosophy. Philosophy 603 is a required course and is normally taken in the first year in program.

b) Students to remedy background deficiencies, if any, in a certain area or areas of philosophy by taking course work below the 500-level.

c) Students must complete at least 3 units (0.5 full-course equivalent) in each annual registration period.

Doctor of Philosophy

a) Normally, a minimum of 18 units (3.0 full-course equivalents) for students with a Master of Arts degree, or a minimum of 36 units (6.0 full-course equivalents) for students entering directly from an honours undergraduate program. Philosophy 603 is a required course and is normally taken in the first year in program.

b) In addition, all students must show competence in logic. This requirement may be met by passing Philosophy 677 or equivalent. If taken, Philosophy 677 is considered over and above the required number of graduate courses for completion of a degree.

6. Additional Requirements


7. Credit for Undergraduate Courses

Normally, undergraduate courses will not be credited towards completion of course requirements in a graduate program.

8. Time Limit

Expected completion time for full-time students is two years in a master’s thesis program, three years in a master’s course-based program, and four years in a doctoral program. Maximum completion time is four years for a master’s thesis program, and six years for a master’s course-based or doctoral program.

9. Supervisory Assignments

Students are assigned an interim advisor until they have an opportunity to become acquainted with members of the faculty. Each student must have an assigned supervisor by the end of the second regular academic session after first registration (April for September registrants and December for January registrants). The choice of supervisor must be by mutual arrangement between the student and faculty member concerned, and approved by the Department.

A supervisory committee at the master’s level is not normally appointed. When such a committee is deemed necessary, the Dean’s approval must be obtained.

A doctoral student shall be under the general supervision of a supervisory committee. After consultation with the student, the supervisor will submit a list of possible members of the supervisory committee to the Graduate Studies Committee for approval. The supervisory committee should be established as soon as possible and no later than three months after the supervisor’s appointment.

10. Required Examinations

In addition to Faculty of Graduate Studies regulations for candidacy and thesis examinations, the program requires:

Doctor of Philosophy

Doctoral students must pass a Thesis Proposal Oral Examination and written Field of Study examinations. For complete details of candidacy requirements and examination formats, see

Thesis Examination (Master of Arts (thesis-based) and Doctor of Philosophy)
Scheduling of the Examination

All members of the Supervisory Committee must have reviewed the student’s research, including a relevant written sample of the materials related to the thesis, before an examination can be scheduled.

Composition of the Committee

The Internal Examiner may be internal to the home program.

Master of Arts (course-based)

The course-based Master of Arts has a research component. This component is to be satisfied by passing both the written and oral parts of the Final Master's Examination.

A Final Master’s Examination of overall competency is required after completion of all course work, consisting of written and oral components. The examination policy is available in the Philosophy Graduate Handbook at

11. Research Proposal Requirements

The research proposal only applies to doctoral students and is to be submitted to the examining committee a minimum of two weeks prior to the scheduled Thesis Proposal Oral Examination.

12. Special Registration Information

Incoming students determine course work in consultation with the Graduate Director.

13. Financial Assistance

Most thesis students admitted to the program receive some level of financial support from the Department. Suitably qualified master’s students may be given a guarantee of financial support from September of their first year to the end of April of their second year. All doctoral students receive a guarantee of financial support for the four years of their program.

For information on awards, see the Awards and Financial Assistance section of this Calendar.

Students applying for scholarships must submit their applications to the Department by January 15.

Satisfactory academic progress in the student’s program is required for funding.

Satisfactory Academic Progress:

Thesis-based and Full-time Course-based MA Students

a) Must complete at least 15 units (2.5 full-course equivalents) in their first two terms, and maintain a GPA of at least 3.60 in all courses taken. This GPA is computed at the end of the first week of June each year. In any case no more than one grade of "B-" or lower is acceptable during the course of their program.

b) Are expected to complete their degree by May of their second year in the program. (Equivalent requirements apply to students who register at times other than September.)

Doctoral Students

a) Must complete at least 15 units (2.5 full-course equivalents) in their first two terms, and maintain a GPA of at least 3.60. This GPA is computed at the end of the first week of June each year. In any case no more than one grade of "B-" or lower is acceptable during the course of their program.

b) Must pass all Departmental Field of Study examinations within 20 months of first registration (for those without an MA, the period will be determined by the Graduate Studies Committee).

c) Must take the Thesis Proposal Examination within eight months of the completion of the Field of Study Examinations and pass this examination no later than twenty-eight months after the date of the student’s first registration in the program (for those without an MA, thirty-six months after first registration in graduate studies in philosophy).

14. Other Information


15. Faculty Members/Research Interests

The faculty’s main interests and specialties can be found at: