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

Applications for 2021-22 open on September 22, 2020. Graduate admission deadline is Friday, January 8, 2021.

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

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

Approximately 12 new PhD students and 12 new MA students enroll each year. 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 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.

The one-year MA program 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.

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.

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: With the exception of GRE scores, which are required only of applicants for the PhD, the required documents and application procedures are the same for the MA and PhD programs.

The application and all supporting documents except for test scores (GRE, 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 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. It need not be on a topic in your proposed research area. Submit one writing sample only, preferably not exceeding 15 pages double-spaced (this includes 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.
  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. 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 required of all applicants to the PhD program. These scores must be no more than five (5) years oldThe scores are reported directly to the School of Graduate Studies by the testing service (ETS)Please use University code 0982 and Department code 2801 or 2804. GRE scores are not required of applicants to the MA program.
  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 directly to the University of Toronto (Enrolment Services) by the testing agency, electronically for TOEFL or IELTS; or by mail from MELAB.
  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. Upon completion of the application form (including payment), the University of Toronto online system will generate an email that will be sent to those referees, requesting letters from them. As letters of reference are due at the same time as all supporting materials with the application – by the next deadline of January 8, 2021 – it is important to request them from your referees as early in the process as possible.  Email addresses for referees must be institutional emails – not personal email addresses like or

3. Application Deadline

The closing date for applications for 2021-22, including all supporting documentation, is Friday, January 8, 2021. 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.

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, except that GRE scores are not required.

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 2021-2022 cycle open September 22!

SGS Online Admission