Admission Criteria

See the University Calendar [1.3.3 and 1.3.4] for university admission requirements. MA applicants are expected to have either a 3.33 cumulative GPA or a 3.5 GPA in third and fourth year philosophy courses. Particularly close attention is paid to both letters of reference and writing samples. The department reserves the right to impose a stricter requirement of English proficiency than that specified by the University, especially in view of the fact that most Graduate Students become Teaching Assistants in the Department.

Underqualified Applicants

We are particularly interested in talented, keen students who might not have the standard requisite background in philosophy. If your degree is in another field, or your philosophical education is adequate only in a narrow area, we encourage you to apply. If we do not find that you are quite ready, we may still accept you under one of the following headings:

Conditional admission: If there is a specific requirement that we find you are missing, we may admit you on the condition that the requirement be fulfilled either before your arrival or in the first semester here. Typical examples of such conditions are the completion of a degree, or of course you are currently enrolled in with a certain GPA, or the enrolment in and completion of specific philosophy courses.

Admission with Additional Coursework: If we find that your education is weak in some specific areas of philosophy, we may admit you unconditionally, but require you to complete a specified number of extra courses as part of your program. Typically, these would be advanced undergraduate or graduate courses in the relevant areas of philosophy.

Post Baccalaureate Diploma Program. If it turns out that, while you are potentially a good candidate for our program, your philosophical background is not sufficient for any of the three options above, we may recommend this diploma program as a way of building the necessary background. Indeed, if you are thinking of applying to our graduate program in the near future but are uncertain of your background, we recommend that you enrol in the program and take some undergraduate philosophy courses in our department before you apply.

International Students

The Philosophy department welcomes applications from international students. Our admission process is blind as to citizenship and we often accept students from outside Canada. Non-Canadian Graduate students do not pay higher fees at SFU. Teaching Assistantships (our main form of support) are available to them, as are internal SFU Fellowships and Research Assistantships. Holders of student visas can accept employment on campus, and apply for an off-campus work permit in order to support themselves. Non-native speakers of English must take the TOEFL or equivalent exam, as per university rules (Section 1.3.12 English Language Competence), unless their previous degree is from an English-speaking institution. Because most of our graduate students work as Teaching Assistants, the department pays particular attention to evidence concerning the mastery of English.