Philosophy: Philosophy PhD

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Description

The PhD program has two options: a five-year option and a four-year option. The five-year option is the most common and is the only direct-entry option for students with a bachelor's degree. The five-year option provides five years of funding and requires two years of coursework, while the four-year option provides four years of funding and requires one year of coursework. The program requirements are summarized below.

Students enrolled in graduate programs in philosophy in other universities are welcome to apply to spend a year studying at the University of Toronto. Please direct any inquiries to the Director of Graduate Studies.

Students who wish to take, for credit, one or more of the courses offered by the department as non-degree students, should apply for admission as Special Students. The application procedures and deadlines are the same as those for the MA program.

Applicants should consult the department's web page for complete details on graduate programs, course offerings, short academic profiles of graduate faculty, and application procedures.

 

PhD Program

Minimum Admission Requirements

  • Applicants approved by the department are admitted under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies.

  • Applicants should have a master's degree in philosophy from a recognized university with an average grade of at least an A– in the applicant's overall program. Applicants must satisfy the department that they are capable of independent research in philosophy at an advanced level.

  • Applicants whose primary language is not English and who are not graduates of a university whose language of instruction is English must complete the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with the following minimum scores:

    • Paper-based TOEFL exam: 600 and 5 on the Test of Written English (TWE).

    • Internet-based TOEFL exam: 100/120 and 22/30 on the writing and speaking sections.

  • Equivalent results in some other recognized test of English-language proficiency are acceptable.

Program Requirements

  • Course Requirements

    • Students must complete a minimum of 3.0 FCEs in philosophy, with a minimum A– average by the end of Year 1 including:

      • At least 1.0 FCE which must comprise history of philosophy courses.

      • At least 1.0 FCE which must comprise problems of philosophy courses.

      • The proseminar in philosophy (PHL 1111H) worth 0.5 FCE during the Fall session of Year 1.

      • With the department's permission, a student may replace up to 1.0 FCE in philosophy with graduate courses offered by another department, provided that the courses are required for the student's planned research.

  • Breadth Requirement. A student must demonstrate competence in at least six areas of philosophy, including the following:

    • Each of the following three areas in the problems of philosophy:

      • Contemporary issues in metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophy of science.

      • Contemporary issues in values (ethics, politics, aesthetics, and philosophy of religion).

      • Contemporary issues in mind, language, and logic.

    • The remaining three required areas must be chosen from the periods in the history of philosophy specified below:

      • Ancient

      • Medieval

      • Seventeenth to eighteenth centuries

      • Nineteenth century

      • Twentieth century.

    • Competence in any area is normally established by successful completion of a graduate 0.5 FCE in that area.

    • A student must also demonstrate competence in logic (defined as proficiency in first-order symbolic logic with identity). This competence is expected of all students prior to beginning doctoral studies. Where this is not the case, competence must be acquired as a supplement to the required number of courses and be demonstrated to the satisfaction of the department by the time the qualifying requirement is met.

  • Qualifying Requirement. After completing all course requirements, the student selects a thesis committee that will oversee his or her academic progress through the final thesis defence. The student meets with the committee to discuss a tentative thesis topic, construct an appropriate research reading list, and receive guidance on writing a qualifying paper. After submitting the qualifying paper and making any required adjustments to the reading list, the student takes a two-part (written and oral) qualifying examination based on the paper and the reading list. The paper will be submitted and written and oral exams taken four to six weeks later, during the Winter session of Year 2.

  • Research Tools Requirement. Each PhD student must demonstrate competence in at least one research tool. A research tool may be one of the following:

    • Reading knowledge of a language other than English.

    • Familiarity with a discipline other than philosophy (e.g., linguistics, psychology, or mathematics).

    • Mastery of research methods not typical in philosophy (e.g., statistical methods).

    • The research tool will be determined by the Graduate Coordinator in consultation with the student's thesis committee.

  • Thesis. A candidate must submit a thesis on an approved subject and defend the thesis at a Doctoral Final Oral Examination. The department is not obligated to provide supervision in areas falling outside the competency, interest, or availability of its graduate faculty.

  • Residence. Students must be registered as full-time, on-campus students and must reside in sufficient geographical proximity to enable them to fulfil the course, breadth, qualifying, and language requirements set by the department in a smooth and timely fashion. They are also expected to participate fully in departmental activities. While writing the thesis, candidates are expected to be in residence, with the exception of absence for research.

  • Normal Timeline Through the Program. By the end of Year 1 of registration, students should have completed all the course requirements for the degree. By the end of the following year of registration, all students should have satisfied any remaining breadth requirements, selected a thesis committee, and passed the qualifying examination. (These are general deadlines; consult the department's web page for specific dates and further details.) Thereafter, the candidate selects a member of the thesis committee to be the thesis supervisor and begins work on the thesis, which he or she is expected to finish within two years.

Program Length

4 years

Time Limit

6 years

 

PhD Program (Direct-Entry)

Minimum Admission Requirements

  • Applicants approved by the department are admitted under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies.

  • Applicants should have an appropriate bachelor's degree from a recognized university; a strong background in philosophy (roughly equivalent to an undergraduate major); and an average grade of at least a B+ in the overall program and at least an A– in philosophy courses.

  • Applicants whose primary language is not English and who are not graduates of a university whose language of instruction is English must complete the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with the following minimum scores:

    • Paper-based TOEFL exam: 600 and 5 on the Test of Written English (TWE).

    • Internet-based TOEFL exam: 100/120 and 22/30 on the writing and speaking sections.

  • Equivalent results in some other recognized test of English-language proficiency are acceptable.

Program Requirements

  • Course Requirements

    • Students must take a minimum of 6.0 FCEs in philosophy, with an average grade of at least an A– including:

      • At least 2.0 FCEs which must comprise history of philosophy courses.

      • At least 2.0 FCEs which must comprise problems of philosophy courses.

      • The proseminar in philosophy (PHL 1111H) worth 0.5 FCE during the Fall session of Year 1.

      • With the department's permission, a student may replace up to 1.0 FCE in philosophy with graduate courses offered by another department, provided that the courses are required for the student's planned research.

    • To remain in good standing, students must complete 3.0 FCEs with an A– average by the end of Year 1, and 6.0 FCEs with an A– average by the end of Year 2.

  • Breadth Requirement. A student must demonstrate competence in at least six areas of philosophy, including the following:

    • Each of the following three areas in the problems of philosophy:

      • Contemporary issues in metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophy of science.

      • Contemporary issues in values (ethics, politics, aesthetics, and philosophy of religion).

      • Contemporary issues in mind, language, and logic.

    • The remaining three required areas must be chosen from the periods in the history of philosophy specified below:

      • Ancient

      • Medieval

      • Seventeenth to eighteenth centuries

      • Nineteenth century

      • Twentieth century.

    • Competence in any area is normally established by successful completion of a graduate 0.5 FCE in that area.

    • A student must also demonstrate competence in logic (defined as proficiency in first-order symbolic logic with identity). This competence is expected of all students prior to beginning doctoral studies. Where this is not the case, competence must be acquired as a supplement to the required number of courses and be demonstrated to the satisfaction of the department by the time the qualifying requirement is met.

  • Qualifying Requirement. After completing all course requirements, the student selects a thesis committee that will oversee his or her academic progress through the final thesis defence. The student meets with the committee to discuss a tentative thesis topic, construct an appropriate research reading list, and receive guidance on writing a qualifying paper. After submitting the qualifying paper and making any required adjustments to the reading list, the student takes a two-part (written and oral) qualifying examination based on the paper and the reading list. The paper will be submitted and written and oral exams taken four to six weeks later, during the Winter session of Year 3.

  • Research Tools Requirement. Each PhD student must demonstrate competence in at least one research tool. A research tool may be one of the following:

    • Reading knowledge of a language other than English.

    • Familiarity with a discipline other than philosophy (e.g., linguistics, psychology, or mathematics).

    • Mastery of research methods not typical in philosophy (e.g., statistical methods).

    • The research tool will be determined by the Graduate Coordinator in consultation with the student's thesis committee.

  • Thesis. A candidate must submit a thesis on an approved subject and defend the thesis at a Doctoral Final Oral Examination. The department is not obligated to provide supervision in areas falling outside the competency, interest, or availability of its graduate faculty.

  • Residence. Students must be registered as full-time, on-campus students and must reside in sufficient geographical proximity to enable them to fulfil the course, breadth, qualifying, and language requirements set by the department in a smooth and timely fashion. They are also expected to participate fully in departmental activities. While writing the thesis, candidates are expected to be in residence, with the exception of absence for research.

  • Normal Timeline Through the Program. By the end of Year 2 of registration, students should have completed all course requirements for the degree. By the end of the following year of registration, all students should have satisfied any remaining breadth requirements, selected a thesis committee, and passed the qualifying examination. (These are general deadlines; consult the department's web page for specific dates and further details.) Thereafter, the candidate selects a member of the thesis committee to be the thesis supervisor and begins work on the thesis, which he or she is expected to finish within two years.

Program Length

5 years

Time Limit

7 years