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Department of Philosophy | Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Simon Fraser University Calendar | Fall 2019


Master of Arts

Admission Requirements

See graduate general regulation 1.3.3 for university admission requirements.

In addition, the applicant must have either a 3.33 cumulative grade point average (CGPA) or a 3.5 grade point average (GPA) in upper division philosophy courses.

Honours degrees, where available, are preferred.

The department pays close attention to 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 six courses (excluding PHIL 898 and 899), one of which may be a 300 or 400 division undergraduate course with an A- grade or better, and graduate studies committee permission. One course must be PHIL 880, which will be completed in the first graduate study year.

•demonstrated competence in foreign languages as the graduate studies committee requires for the proposed research

•demonstrated competence in formal logic at the level of PHIL 210 or higher, when relevant to the student’s research

Degree Program Completion

There are three ways to complete a philosophy master’s degree. The following outlines these options.

Non-Thesis Option

This is the recommended degree program option for most students who plan to apply for admission to a philosophy PhD program after completing an MA.

The program broadens and deepens philosophical education and allows the student to develop the necessary materials for a successful PhD program application. This non-thesis option has the following additional requirements.

•completion of at least one course in each philosophy area: value theory; metaphysics and epistemology; history of philosophy. Taken together with upper division undergraduate courses completed previously or in addition to the MA requirement, three courses in each area are required.

•completion of seven rather than six courses (excluding PHIL 899)

•a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.5 is required at graduation

•PHIL 899, completed under the senior supervisor’s direction. The student undertakes the project of 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 produced in PHIL 899 is examined by an examining committee consisting of at least two faculty members who together assign a grade of pass with distinction, pass, or fail. A student who fails may be permitted a second and final attempt.

•the professional paper is presented in a public forum

Specialized Thesis Option

This option is intended for those who have a particular project and supervisor in mind when they enter the program, and especially those with interdisciplinary interests. It has the following specific requirements.

•the student normally enters the program with a well-defined project and a permanent (as opposed to interim) senior supervisor.

•the project and course of study is approved by the graduate studies committee.

•up to three of the required courses may be from outside the Department of Philosophy.

•a thesis, normally no more than 100 pages in length, giving evidence of independent critical ability is submitted and successfully defended.

•the specialization is noted on the student’s final transcript under the heading ‘Committee Decisions.’

Classic Thesis Option

This option has the following specific requirements.

•completion of at least one course in each area of philosophy: value theory, metaphysics and epistemology; history of philosophy.

•a thesis, normally not more than 100 pages in length, giving evidence of independent critical ability is submitted and successfully defended.

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.