Programs

The Department of Philosophy at the University of Alberta is a small, but well-rounded department, offering programs leading to both the M.A. and the Ph.D. in Philosophy on a range of possible research areas.   

The M.A. degree requires course work and a thesis. Students with an honours B.A. degree in philosophy or the equivalent are required to complete six courses (two terms of course work). Those with less preparation may be required to take additional courses. Those with only a little background in philosophy may be admitted to a qualifying year of course work (typically eight courses), on the basis of which they may then be considered for the regular M.A. program.  After completing their course work, M.A. students typically spend four to eight months writing a thesis of 60-80 pages.                                                                        

Students entering the Ph.D. program with an M.A. in philosophy will normally be required to take nine single-semester courses at the 500 level with at least five of those in the first two terms and three comprehensive examinations, chosen from seventeen areas of philosophy, within the first twenty four months of the program. Students choose three areas, and take their exams sequentially. Since each exam typically takes about three or four months, this phase of the doctoral program usually lasts 9 to 12 months. (Note that there are alternative formats for the exams, although all finish with an oral examination.) Ph.D. students must also demonstrate competence in those languages required for their thesis research (if any).  Before beginning work on the dissertation, students must pass an oral candidacy examination demonstrating the capacity to carry out the proposed research. Work on the dissertation itself usually lasts one to two years. 

Outstanding students with an honours BA, or its equivalent, in philosophy may be admitted directly to the Ph.D. program, but they will be required to take up to nine courses before proceeding to the comprehensives. The other requirements remain the same. 

All graduate students at the University of Alberta are required to complete eight hours of “Graduate Ethics Training.” Typically, this requirement will be satisfied by seminars, workshops, and a short on-line course, covering such topics as professional practices in teaching and peer review, academic integrity, academic discipline, human rights in the workplace, intellectual property rights, the authoring of a c.v., relations between graduate students and supervisors, etc. 

Detailed program requirements are described in the pamphlet Guide to Graduate Study in the Department of Philosophy (the “Blue Book”).