Admission

The department admits students to two degree programs: Master of Arts (MA) (Philosophy OR Philosophy of Science Concentration) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD, four-year OR five-year streams).

Applications for 2023-24 will OPEN on October 24, 2022. Applications CLOSE on January 9, 2023 (at 11:59pm EST).

Please read this page carefully for instructions on how to apply. You can also learn more in the School of Graduate Studies’ Admissions Guide.

Note that students applying for admission should not submit GRE scores. GRE scores are no longer required and will not be considered. Applicants should, however, submit CVs for the upcoming admissions season.

Domestic students are strongly encouraged to apply for the Canadian Graduate Scholarship Master’s (CGSM). Find information about the CGSM on the School of Graduate Studies website. Those who receive the CGSM can be enrolled in either a master’s program or our direct-entry PhD program (five-year stream).

Listen to Director of Graduate Studies Amy Mullin talk about the department’s graduate programs or watch a video in which members of the department, including two current grad students, describe their experiences. You can also review some application tips in another video. One piece of advice has changed – it is best to submit a writing sample in one of your proposed areas of research so that the faculty reading it are those in whose areas of research you plan to focus.

The Director of Graduate Studies, Professor Amy Mullin, will host her next Zoom Graduate Philosophy Admissions Information Session on Thursday, October 20, 2022, from 10 AM to 11 AM. To attend, please register with Petra Dreiser.

Learn more about our limited Application Fee Waiver program for students who identify as a member of an underrepresented group and have self-identified financial need. The deadline to apply is Dec. 1, 2022 by 5:00pm EST.

Domestic and International Students

Both programs are open to Canadian citizens and permanent residents, as well as international applicants; however, our current structure for financial support makes it much easier for us to allocate MA program places to Canadian citizens and permanent residents. We strongly encourage international applicants to apply to the PhD program rather than the MA. Canadian citizens and permanent residents are very welcome to apply to either program.

Cohort Sizes

About 12 new PhD and 15 new MA students enroll each year. Typically, the MA students are domestic, with the majority being admitted to our Philosophy Concentration, and the remainder to our Philosophy of Science Concentration. All students entering both programs are guaranteed funding to cover tuition and living expenses. For details, see our funding and fellowships page.

Applicants who have questions about admissions are encouraged to carefully read through the following sections:

  1. Admissions Requirements
  2. Application Procedure
  3. Application Deadline
  4. Visiting and Special Students

1. Admissions Requirements

Admission to the MA program (Philosophy Concentration, hereafter ‘Philosophy’) requires a bachelor’s degree from a recognized university. The applicant must have a strong background in philosophy (roughly equivalent to an undergraduate major), with minimum average grades of mid-B in the applicant’s overall program and A- in the philosophy courses.

Admission to the MA program (Philosophy of Science Concentration, hereafter ‘Philosophy of Science’) requires a bachelor’s degree from a recognized university. The applicant must have strong interest in philosophy (evidenced in an excellent writing sample, personal statement, and letters of reference) and a superior academic background in either philosophy or, typically, a subject in the natural or social sciences, with minimum average grades of A-.

Our one-year MA program (Philosophy) is intended primarily for those seeking only a more comprehensive and concentrated training in philosophy than undergraduate study permits. The MA also serves as preparation for a PhD program; graduates of the Toronto MA program have gone on to top philosophy PhD programs in Canada and internationally, as well as to law school and careers in government, business and the non-profit sector.

Our one-year MA (Philosophy of Science) is intended primarily for those seeking a more comprehensive and concentrated training in philosophy and the philosophy of science than undergraduate study permits. The concentration also serves as preparation for a PhD program; like other graduates of the Toronto MA (Philosophy), graduates of the MA (Philosophy of Science) will be competitive for application to PhD programs in Canada and internationally, as well as to law school and careers in government, business and the non-profit sector.

Admission to the PhD program requires either a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree in philosophy from a recognized university.

A student seeking admission on the basis of a bachelor’s degree must have a strong background in philosophy (roughly equivalent to at least an undergraduate major), with minimum average grades of B+ in the applicant’s overall program and A- in the applicant’s philosophy courses.

A student seeking admission on the basis of a master’s degree in philosophy must have an average grade of at least an A- in that master’s program. The PhD program is intended primarily for those interested in teaching philosophy and doing advanced philosophical research. Applicants must satisfy the Admissions Committee that they are capable of independent research in philosophy at an advanced level.

Note that admission to our MA and PhD programs is highly competitive and selective.  Students who wish to be considered for both graduate-level programs should apply to the PhD program. You do not need to submit two applications – simply indicate that you are open to being considered for both.

Note to international applicants

The academic records of applicants who completed their final degree(s) at a non-Canadian university will be evaluated to determine their equivalency to a University of Toronto four-year bachelor’s degree and a minimum academic standing of A-.  Please refer to the School of Graduate Studies website to verify your qualifications.

2. Application Procedures

Note: The required documents and application procedures are the same for the MA and PhD programs.

The application and all supporting documents except for English Proficiency Test scores (TOEFL, etc.) must be submitted through the School of Graduate Studies Online Admission Application page:

SGS Online Admission

More detailed application instructions

  • You may need to disable pop-up blockers in your browser if you have difficulty completing the online process.
  • If you are applying to our MA program, you will be asked to choose between MA (Philosophy) and MA (Philosophy of Science).
  • If you are applying to the PhD program, you will be asked to choose between two versions of it: PhD (direct entry) – Philosophy, and PhD – Philosophy.
    • The former is our standard 5-year PhD program, which requires two years of coursework;
    • The latter is our 4-year PhD program, which is designed for students entering with an MA in philosophy and requires one year of coursework.
    • If you are uncertain about which program you would like to apply to, select the 5-year PhD, even if you already have an MA.
  • From the following seven areas, select the one that best characterizes your proposed research area:
  1. Ancient Philosophy
  2. Medieval Philosophy
  3. 17th and 18th Century Philosophy
  4. Continental Philosophy
  5. Analytic Metaphysics/Epistemology/Philosophy of Science
  6. Analytic Philosophy of Language/Philosophy of Mind/Logic
  7. Ethics/Political Philosophy/Aesthetics
  • The selection above will just determine which members of the Admissions Committee initially review your file; students are at liberty to change their focus of study once admitted.
  • If you are applying for external funding (e.g., SSHRC), check the box on your application next to “Awards/Scholarships/Fellowships applied for and related to this application.” This box is for record-keeping purposes only; the status of any external funding applications is not a consideration that is taken into account during our admissions process.

Supporting documents 

  1. All submitted documents must be in PDF format.
  2. The Statement of Interest is a statement of about 300 words which indicates your areas of interest in philosophy at the graduate level. If there is information about you that you would like the committee to have, but that cannot be included elsewhere in the application, you may include it here.
  3. The Writing Sample is a piece of your written work in philosophy (in English or French), such as a term paper. Submit one writing sample only, preferably not exceeding 15 pages double-spaced (this excludes Notes and Bibliography). The writing sample should be as recent as possible and should provide evidence of your ability to do philosophy at an advanced level. All students applying to the PhD are advised to submit a writing sample in one of their proposed areas of research interest. MA students with a strong sense of their proposed areas of research interest are likewise counseled to do so.
  4. All applicants are required to upload one electronic or scanned transcript from each post-secondary institution attended. The School of Graduate Studies online application instructions explain how to do this (details TK). Admissions decisions will be made on the basis of the scanned transcript; however, if you accept an offer of admission, you will then be required to send official paper transcript(s) to our department.
  5. Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores are not required and will not be reviewed for admission.
  6. Scores on English Proficiency Tests: All applicants whose primary language is not English or who have not completed a graduate-level degree in which the language of instruction is English  must satisfy the School of Graduate Studies requirements for English-Language Proficiency; scores should be reported electronically to the University of Toronto (Enrolment Services) by the testing agency.
  7. Letters of Recommendation: Applicants must provide contact information for at least two, but preferably three, philosophy instructors who have indicated they are willing to write a recommendation. On completion of the application form, the University of Toronto online system will generate a notification to those referees, requesting letters from them. Referees may upload their letters of recommendation before the applicant has paid their application fee. As letters of reference are due at the same time as all supporting materials with the application – by the next deadline in January 2023 – it is important to request them from your referees as early in the process as possible. Email addresses for referees should be institutional. If one (at a maximum) of your referees does not have access to an institutional email, please have them submit their letter as a pdf, signed and on institutional letterhead. Please note that referees using an institutional email may simply type or copy and paste a signed and dated letter of reference. We do not accept letters of reference from Interfolio
  8. Curriculum Vitae: Applicants should submit an up-to-date CV.

3. Application Deadline

The closing date for applications for 2023-24 is Monday, January 9, 2023, 11:59 p.m. EST. Processing of applications will begin after this deadline, and decisions will be announced by mid-March. You can check the status of your application on the School of Graduate Studies website after the 3rd week in January. The status of your application will be updated from “Documents Pending” to “Under Review” by mid-February. Your application is complete, however, and you needn’t take any further action unless and until you are notified of your admission by our department. This will happen via email.

4. Visiting and Special Students

Graduate students wishing to take one or more graduate courses offered by the department as non-degree students should apply for admission as Special Students. In particular, graduate students in philosophy at other institutions are welcome to apply to spend a year studying at the University of Toronto. The application procedure and deadline are the same as for the PhD program.

Graduate students from other Ontario universities may apply to take courses through the Ontario Visiting Graduate Students Exchange program. Contact your home university for information about the required paperwork.

Graduate students from institutions outside Canada who wish to visit the department to do research under a particular faculty member should contact that faculty member and consult the Centre for International Experience.


Are You Ready to Apply?

Applications for the 2023-2024 cycle open October 24, 2022!

SGS Online Admission