Graduate Program

Strengths and Resources

Both our PhD and our MA students are fully funded.  We offer a well-rounded program in philosophy, including the traditional areas of metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, logic, and the history of philosophy. In addition, we have particular strengths in the philosophy of science, aesthetics, political philosophy, biomedical ethics, and the philosophy of language.  With 18 faculty members, our department manages to cover lot of ground without sacrificing the kind of individual attention to students that is the hallmark of all good graduate programs.

Two members of our Department hold prestigious Canada Research Chairs: Kathrin Koslicki holds a Tier 1 CRC in Epistemology and Metaphysics, and Ingo Brigandt a Tier 2 CRC in Philosophy of Biology.  Three Professors are Fellows of the Royal Society of Canada (Bernie Linsky, Jeff Pelletier, and Rob Wilson), while another (Chloë Taylor) is a member of the RSC’s College of New Scholars, Artists, and Scientists.

Graduate students are directly involved in the research of Department members with grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, working in areas such as early analytic philosophy (Bernie Linsky), Aristotle (Kathrin Koslicki), early modern philosophy (Amy Schmitter), logic (Kata Bimbó), environmental ethics (Jenny Welchman), Kant’s aesthetics (Alex Rueger), as well as phenomenology and contemporary French philosophy (Marie-Eve Morin).

If you’re interested in the history of philosophy, we are one of the few departments in Canada with ‘all the bases covered’ in the canonical areas of the history of western philosophy: ancient (Phil Corkum and Kathrin Koslicki), medieval (Jack Zupko), early modern (Amy Schmitter), modern (Jenny Welchman), Kant and 19th-century philosophy (Alex Rueger), and 20th-century philosophy in both the analytic (Bernie Linsky) and continental (Marie-Eve Morin) traditions.  The Journal of the History of Philosophy, the top journal in its field, is now housed at the University of Alberta, under the editorship of Jack Zupko.

Other areas of strength include ethics (Glenn Griener, Howard Nye, Jenny Welchman), philosophy of science (Ingo Brigandt, Alex Rueger, Rob Wilson), logic, language and history of analytic (Kata Bimbó, Bernie Linsky, Jeff Pelletier), feminist philosophy (Cressida Heyes, Chloë Taylor), philosophy of technology (Geoffrey Rockwell), and non-western philosophy (Neil Dalal, who works in Indian philosophy and the Yogic tradition).

We take the teaching of philosophy very seriously at the University of Alberta.  Teaching Assistants receive extensive training, beginning with our Philosophy 101 ‘SuperSection’ and moving on to TA assignments in upper-division courses culminating in work as a solo instructor.  You can expect a lot of feedback on your efforts in the classroom, which is one reason why our current graduate students continue to win awards for their teaching. The department also has a Philosophy for Children summer camp program, Eurekamp, which employs interested graduate students as counsellors.

Faculty and graduate students are prominent in regional, national and international philosophical communities, including participating at conferences. In recent years, the Department has hosted the congresses of the Western Canadian Philosophical Association, the Society for Exact Philosophy, the Canadian Society for Continental Philosophy, and the Canadian Society for Women in Philosophy, as well as several conferences on specific themes. Since 2014, our students have also organized an annual graduate and postgraduate conference. Symposium: Canadian Journal of Continental Philosophy is edited by Marie-Eve Morin, and Amy Schmitter and Ingo Brigandt are executive editors of the Canadian Journal of Philosophy.

We keep our graduate enrollment each year low enough to encourage contact between students and academic staff. At the same time, the total University enrollment of 37,000 students means that the University of Alberta can provide academic facilities and opportunities for interdisciplinary work not available at smaller universities. For example, the University Library is now the second largest in Canada, with around 5 million volumes, including 26,000 serials.

Further information about departmental strengths and interests can be found elsewhere on our website: see also our pages for individual faculty members, graduate students, news items, colloquium listings, past dissertation topics, our placement record, and comprehensive examination committees.