Site Navigation
Important Notice and Disclaimer
Faculty of Graduate Studies General Information
Graduate Students' Association (GSA)
Academic Schedule
Faculty of Graduate Studies Credential Information
Awards and Financial Assistance for Graduate Students
Tuition and General Fees
Academic Regulations
Program Descriptions
Anthropology ANTH
Archaeology ARKY
School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape SAPL
Biological Sciences BISI
Biomedical Engineering BMEN
Chemistry CHEM
Communication and Media Studies CMMS
Computational Media Design CMD
Computer Science CPSC
Data Science and Analytics DATA
Drama DRAM
Economics ECON
Education Graduate Programs
Engineering Programs ENGG
Engineering, Chemical and Petroleum ENCH
Engineering, Civil ENCI
Engineering, Electrical and Computer ENEL
Engineering, Environmental ENEN
Engineering, Geomatics ENGO
Engineering, Leadership in Engineering and Advanced Practice LEAP
Engineering, Mechanical and Manufacturing ENME
Engineering, Graduate Certificates
English ENGL
French, Italian and Spanish FISL
Geography GEOG
Geoscience GEOS
German GSEA
Greek and Roman Studies GRST
Haskayne School of Business Programs
History HIST
Information Security and Privacy ISEC
Kinesiology KNES
Languages, Literatures and Cultures LLAC
Linguistics LING
Mathematics and Statistics MTST
Medicine Programs
Medicine, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology MDBC
Medicine, Biomedical Technology MDBT
Medicine, Cardiovascular and Respiratory Sciences MDCV
Medicine, Community Health Sciences MDCH
Medicine, Gastrointestinal Sciences MDGI
Medicine, Immunology MDIM
Medicine, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases MDMI
Medicine, Neuroscience MDNS
Medicine, Pathologists' Assistant MDPA
Medicine, Precision Health MDPR
Medicine, Medical Science MDSC
Military and Strategic Studies CMSS
Music MUSI
Nursing NURS
Philosophy PHIL
Physics and Astronomy PHAS
Political Science POLI
Psychology PSYC
Public Policy PPOL
Religious Studies RELS
Social Work SOWK
Sociology SOCI
Sustainable Energy Development SEDV
Veterinary Medical Sciences VMS
Interdisciplinary Specializations
Courses of Instruction
Student and Campus Services
About the University of Calgary
Graduate Studies Calendar 2022-2023 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) A completed 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. The sample should be 10-15 pages including bibliography.

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

d) For applicants required to provide proof of proficiency in English, a minimum TOEFL score of 97 (Internet-based test), an IELTS score of 7.0, or a CAEL score of 70 with no section less than 70, or a PTE score of 68. This requirement can also be met by completing the Academic Communication Certificate with a minimum grade of "A-" in Academic Writing and Oral Communication, and a minimum grade of “B+” in all other courses.

3. Application Deadline

The deadline for submitting complete applications is available on the Future Students website:

Master of Arts (course-based):

Master of Arts (thesis-based):

Doctor of Philosophy:

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.

5. Program/Course Requirements

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

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

Master of Arts (thesis-based)

a) A minimum of 21 units. Philosophy 603 is a required course and is normally taken in the first year in program. Philosophy 699 is a required course and is normally taken in the second year of the program.

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

c) Students in the specialization in History and Philosophy of Science must demonstrate proficiency in logic, which is normally done by passing an examination set by the department.

Master of Arts (course-based)

a) A minimum of 30 units, including at least 6 units in the History of Philosophy and 6 units 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 in each annual registration period.

Doctor of Philosophy

a) Normally, a minimum of 18 units for students with a Master of Arts degree, or a minimum of 36 units 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) 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.

c) In addition to a) and b), students must complete Philosophy 700 after course and candidacy requirements are completed. Philosophy 700 is normally taken in the year after advancing to candidacy.

Flexible Grade Option (CG Grade)

The Department of Philosophy will allow students to pursue the Flexible Grade Option (CG Grade).

Students may choose the CG grade for a course taken extra to load.

The use of the CG grade will not affect students' eligibility for internal awards.

6. Credit for Undergraduate Courses

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

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. Required Examinations

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

Candidacy (Doctor of Philosophy)

Doctoral students must complete two Field of Study papers, a Field of Study Oral Examination, a written thesis proposal and an oral examination on the thesis proposal. For complete details of the candidacy requirements, see the Philosophy Doctoral Candidacy Requirements.

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 after completion of all course work, and by passing both the written and oral parts of the Final Master's Examination.

10. 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 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 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).