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


Master of Arts

Our course-based, two-year program is geared towards students who are considering pursuing a PhD in philosophy and want to strengthen their application or make a decision about alternate career paths in a supportive setting. Our requirements are structured to give students a strong foundation across sub-fields in philosophy while also ensuring that they produce high-quality, refined, original work in an area(s) in which they specialize further. We also include developing the practices of philosophical pedagogy as part of our philosophical training for students.

The department specializes in Ethics and Social/Political Philosophy, Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Science, Epistemology and Metaphysics, History of Early Modern Philosophy, and Logic.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must satisfy the University admission requirements as stated in Graduate General Regulations 1.3 in the SFU Calendar. In addition, the applicant must have either a 3.33 cumulative grade point average (CGPA) or a 3.5 CGPA in upper division philosophy courses. 

The Philosophy Department requires a higher score on the TOEFL and IELTS than in the SFU Calendar. Applicants must score at least 22 in each of the sections of the TOEFL. Applicants must score at least 7.0 in each section on the academic IELTS. All students are required to demonstrate competence in formal logic at the upper division undergraduate level or higher.

Program Requirements

This program consists of coursework and a project or thesis for a minimum of 41 units.

Students must complete

and five graduate Philosophy courses

and requirements for one of the options below

Project Option

and one additional Philosophy graduate course

and a project

PHIL 899 - Professional Paper Project Completion (6)

Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G100 TBD

Thesis Option

and a thesis

PHIL 898 - MA Thesis (18)

Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G100 TBD

Program Length

Students are expected to complete the program requirements in six terms.

Other Information

Course Work

Students are required to complete at least one course in each of the three main area streams: value theory, metaphysics and epistemology, history of philosophy. Before enrollment in course work, the GPC will evaluate past course work completed in the area streams and recommend the remaining course work area distribution. One course may be a 300 division Philosophy undergraduate course with a grade of A- (GPA of 3.67) or better.

In order to receive credit towards graduation, a course must be passed with a grade of at least B+ (GPA of 3.33). Grades of B or lower do not count towards graduation requirements of any kind.

Satisfactory Progress

A cumulative grade point average of at least 3.5 is required to maintain good standing in the program.

Failure to maintain the required minimum GPA may result in a probationary status and a required plan set out as a contract with the student and any of the supervisor, Graduate Chair, or Department Chair, for returning to good standing. Failure to fulfill the contract for return to good standing will result in a student being required to withdraw from the program.

Project Option

The project option, called the professional paper, is recommended for most students who plan to apply for admission to a philosophy PhD program after completing an MA.

The project is completed under the supervisor's direction. It involves revising a paper, normally from a previously completed graduate course, to a standard suitable in form and content for submission to a professional journal. The resulting professional paper normally will not exceed 30 pages.

The professional paper is presented in a public form and is examined by an examining committee consisting of at least two faculty members who together assign a grade of satisfactory or unsatisfactory. Committees may require minor revisions to be completed prior to awarding of degree. A student who receives unsatisfactory grade may be permitted a second and final attempt. The paper is submitted to the Department Graduate Secretary at least two weeks in advance of the scheduled presentation date. The paper does not need to be deposited to the library.

Thesis Option

The thesis, normally not more than 100 pages in length, gives evidence of independent critical ability and is submitted and successfully defended in a public form and is examined as per GGR 1.9 and graded as per GGR 1.10.2.

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.