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Doctor of Philosophy

Thesis-based program

Program overview

Philosophy scholars pursue questions of truth at the root of virtually all academic investigation in science and the humanities. Our philosophy graduate program is one of Canada's finest, garnering international recognition. Through their dedication to academic excellence, our doctoral supervisors and students maintain a PhD program that is one of Canada's top five.

The program has a strong placement record for graduates of both the PhD and MA. While many graduates pursue academic careers, the PhD in philosophy can lead to careers in consulting, public policy and research. Students accepted into this highly competitive PhD program will engage with a vibrant philosophical community supplemented with a visiting speaker series and regular research group meetings.

Completing this program

  • Core Course: Graduate Proseminar, usually taken in the first year.

  • Logic: Students must show competence in logic.

  • Thesis: Students will be required to submit and defend an original research thesis.

  • Additional Courses: Topics may include philosophy of science, history of philosophy, metaphysics, ethics, philosophy of language, epistemology, logic and more.

  • Candidacy: Students will complete both oral and written candidacy exams.

  • Professional skills: Students take the required Research and Professional Development seminar after they have advanced to candidacy.


Academia, law, public policy, research analysis, consulting, publishing.

A PhD in philosophy is usually considered a final degree.

Thesis-based program

Students are required to prepare a thesis and successfully defend in an open oral defense.

Classroom delivery

Time commitment

Four years full-time; six years maximum


A supervisor is required, but is not required prior to the start of the program

Fees and funding

See the Graduate Calendar for information on fees and fee regulations, and for information on awards and financial assistance.

Virtual Tour

Explore the University of Calgary (UCalgary) from anywhere. Experience all that UCalgary has to offer for your graduate student journey without physically being on campus. Discover the buildings, student services and available programs all from your preferred device.

Admission Requirements


A minimum of 3.5 GPA on a 4.0 point system, over the past two years of full-time study (a minimum of 10 full-course equivalents or 60 units) of the undergraduate degree.

Minimum education

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.

Work samples

A sample of written work, such as a recent essay, written in English. 

The sample should be 10-15 pages including bibliography, prepared for anonymous review.



Reference letters


Test scores


English language proficiency

An applicant whose primary language is not English may fulfill the English language proficiency requirement in one of the following ways:


For Admission September 1:

January 6

Canadians and permanent residents are strongly urged to apply for SSHRC scholarships in the Fall prior to application.

If you're not a Canadian or permanent resident, or if you have international credentials, make sure to learn about international requirements

Learn more about this program

Department of Philosophy

University of Calgary
2500 University Drive NW
Calgary, AB, T2N 1N4

Contact the Graduate Program Advisor

Visit the departmental website

Faculty of Arts

University of Calgary
2500 University Drive NW
Calgary, AB, T2N 1N4

Visit the Faculty of Arts website