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We are the second-largest graduate program in philosophy in Canada, with almost 40 professors whose research and teaching cover a diverse range of topics. Our program has particular strength in four broad areas: moral, political and legal philosophy; philosophy of cognitive science, mind and language; epistemology and philosophy of science; and history of 19th and 20th century philosophy.

The environment is friendly and welcoming. We support and mentor our students and make their goals our goals. Professors co-author articles with students, share social events with them and take students to conferences.

Our PhD students TA two courses a year, with the possibility of gaining additional funding and experience by TAing in the summer. In the 4th or 5th year of the program, students who are making good progress are typically given the opportunity to teach their own course.

The program is designed to be completed in 4 years but often takes longer. All requirements for a doctoral degree must be fulfilled within 18 terms (6 years) of registration as a full-time or part-time doctoral student in accordance with the Faculty of Graduate Studies Registration Policies, including the requirement of continuous registration. Terms that students register as Leave of Absence, Maternal Leave, Parental Leave, or No Course Available are not included in these time limits.

Students must complete Philosophy 6800 6.0: First-Year Seminar and either Philosophy 6850 6.0: PhD Research Seminar or Philosophy 6860 6.0: PhD Research Seminar II, plus another six half-courses (or the equivalent), with no more than one full course equivalent a reading course and no more than one full course equivalent integrated with an undergraduate course. Philosophy 6800 6.0 must be taken in Year 1. The six half courses must normally be completed by the end of Year 2, and Philosophy 6850 6.0 or Philosophy 6860 6.0 by the end of Year 3, in order to remain in good standing in the program. With the permission of the program director, students may take one half-graduate course outside the program, either at York University or elsewhere, and count it towards these course requirements. There are also Breadth and Area Requirements that must be met by the six half courses—at least two of them must focus in-depth on a single historically significant problem or philosopher and cover different periods in the history of philosophy; at least two of them must be in metaphysics and/or epistemology, understood as including philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, and philosophy of science; and at least two of them must be in moral, political, social or legal philosophy.

Normally, by the end of the second year, students must demonstrate to the logic examination committee a mastery of the semantic and syntactic elements of sentential and first-order predicate logic. This includes understanding validity, logical truth, and natural deduction derivations for both sentential and predicate logic. Mastery may be demonstrated by passing an exam in logic that is set by the logic examination committee, or by passing a graduate-level course in logic. Students who fail to fulfill the logic requirement by the end of the second year will be withdrawn from the program.

Students must submit two papers, normally by the end of the first term of Year 3, to be examined by three anonymous examiners in the program. To pass the exam, each paper must be passed by at least two of the three examiners. The papers, which may be based upon previous term papers, will demonstrate the skills that are needed to successfully pursue advanced doctoral research. One paper will be in the student’s primary area of research, and the other paper will be in a closely related (but not identical) area.

Students must submit a suitable dissertation proposal acceptable to the supervisory committee successfully defend the dissertation proposal and pass an oral examination on literature relevant to the dissertation topic. The list of literature will be compiled jointly by the supervisor and the student after the supervisory relationship is formed and before the proposal is written. The examiners will consist of the student’s supervisory committee plus one outside member from the program. This requirement is normally met by the end of the third year.

Candidates must write an acceptable dissertation embodying original research and defend it at an oral examination. It is recommended that Candidates whose field of study necessitates a reading knowledge of a language other than English acquire sufficient knowledge of that language. Candidates may be asked to demonstrate their proficiency to the Examining Committee.

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The Graduate Program in Philosophy at York is an exciting environment to pursue innovative, socially engaging, career-ready education. Contact our Graduate Program Assistant to learn more.