May 23, 2024  
University of Alberta Calendar 2023-2024 
University of Alberta Calendar 2023-2024 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Doctor of Philosophy (Philosophy)

Program Requirements

Students are required to complete a minimum of 27 units in graduate-level coursework and a thesis.


  • Nine 3-unit graduate-level courses for students admitted with an MA.
  • Students admitted directly to the PhD with a BA will be required to take up to twelve 3-unit graduate-level courses (36 units).
  • For all students, at least five courses must be taken in the first two terms of study.


  • Registration in 900-level THES

Comprehensive Examinations

Within the first twenty-four months of the program, and before taking the oral candidacy examination, students must have passed three comprehensive examinations in areas of the student’s choice. Comprehensive examination topics are chosen from different areas of philosophy, listed by the Department as the currently possible areas for which PhD comprehensive committees are available.

Candidacy Examination

Before beginning work on the dissertation, students must submit a thesis proposal and then pass an oral candidacy examination, demonstrating the capacity to carry out the proposed research. Work on the dissertation itself usually lasts two years.

Residence Requirement

There is a residence requirement of one year of full-time attendance at the University of Alberta for the PhD program.

Length of Program

The time required to complete the program will vary according to the previous training of the applicant and the nature of the research undertaken; however, a minimum of four years is normally required.

The maximum time to complete the PhD program as set by the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research is six years.