MA Program

Master of Arts Program: Detailed Policies and Requirements

The requirements for the MA program are as follows:

  • Seven courses in Philosophy.
  • At least two courses in the History of Philosophy, in distinct periods from among the following five: Ancient Philosophy, Medieval Philosophy, 17th-18th Century Philosophy, 19th Century Philosophy, 20th Century Philosophy.
  • At least two courses in Contemporary Problems of Philosophy, in distinct areas from among the following three: Metaphysics, Epistemology, and Science; Mind, Language, and Logic; Values (including ethics, metaethics, political philosophy, aesthetics, philosophy of religion).
  • In the fall term and again in the winter, one graduate course will be designated for MA students only. All full-time MA students will be required to take these courses. (One will be in the broad area of ethics/politics and the other in the broad area of M&E. Either could be historical.)
  • Students will also be required to enroll in PHL3000F, a teaching workshop restricted to MA students. The course will meet 4 times during the fall term, led by a different member of faculty each time, and will count as one of the 7 courses needed for the degree. Students will be expected to introduce and discuss issues that have come up in their grading or tutorial work, such as how to grade papers thoroughly and fairly at a reasonable pace, how to balance teaching and coursework, etc. The course will be graded as “CR” (Credit), or “NCR” (Non-Credit).
  • Students may take up to two terms of Independent Studies Courses as part of the degree. These must be done with a faculty member of the Department, and only when suitable regular courses are not available.
  • With the permission of the Director of Graduate Studies, an MA student may count one course in another graduate unit at the University of Toronto toward the degree.
  • The student’s choice of courses must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.

Each MA student is assigned a faculty advisor who, together with the Director of Graduate Studies, will recommend a suitable program of philosophy courses and will be responsible for overseeing the student’s progress. It is possible for a full-time student to complete all requirements for the MA degree in philosophy in two terms. However, the Department encourages MA students to take no more than three courses during the fall and winter sessions and to complete the remaining course work during the summer session. Part-time enrolment in the MA program is permitted, in which case the requirements for the degree must be completed within five academic years.

Courses taken for graduate credit are assigned a letter grade according to the following scheme: A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, and FZ. Deadlines for course work, as set by the Department and the School of Graduate Studies, apply to all students taking philosophy courses, regardless of the department, centre, institute, school, program, or university in which they are enrolled. The instructor in each course is required to inform the students in writing of the deadlines for course work at the first meeting of the course. Such deadlines must be within the framework set each year by the School of Graduate Studies for submission of grades.  For additional information about extensions, see the Policy on Departmental Coursework Extensions in the Policies and Procedures section of this website.