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Department of Philosophy | Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Simon Fraser University Calendar | Summer 2023


Doctor of Philosophy

Admission Requirements

See graduate general regulation 1.3.4 for admission requirements. In addition, the applicant is expected to have a 3.67 cumulative grade point average (CGPA) in third year and subsequent philosophy courses.

Honours degrees, where available, are preferred.

The department pays close attention to both letters of reference and writing samples.

If previous work does not satisfy the above conditions, additional undergraduate courses may be required to enrol as a qualifying student before admission.


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Program Requirements

• completion of 11 philosophy courses: one must be the Pro-seminar, PHIL 880, completed in the first graduate year; two courses may be a 300 or 400 level undergraduate course with graduate studies committee permission, completed with a grade of A- or higher. The remainder must be graduate courses.

• demonstrated competence in such foreign languages as the departmental graduate committee requires for the proposed research.

• demonstrated competence in formal logic up to standard metatheory for first order logic, or higher when relevant to the proposed research.

Distribution Requirements

The candidate must complete at least two courses in each of the following philosophy areas: value theory; metaphysics and epistemology; history of philosophy.

Credit for Prior Courses

Up to four graduate courses completed here or at another institution prior to enrolling in the PhD program may, with the approval of the graduate studies committee, count toward course and distribution requirements.

Area Examinations

Competency exams are required in three of the following four fields: metaphysics and epistemology, value theory, logic/formal studies, and history of philosophy. Each examination is based on a reading list whose mastery shall not take more than one term.

Dissertation Prospectus

The final step before advancement to candidacy (or ABD status) is the dissertation prospectus, consisting of a critical literature survey, an extended abstract, and an outline of the proposed dissertation. After the supervisory committee approves the prospectus, the candidate presents and defends the proposed plan of study at an open departmental colloquium.


PhD students write and defend a dissertation embodying original philosophical research.

Academic Requirements within the Graduate General Regulations

All graduate students must satisfy the academic requirements that are specified in the Graduate General Regulations, as well as the specific requirements for the program in which they are enrolled.