Our Phd Program | College of Arts

Our Phd Program


Our department hosts one of the largest PhD programs in philosophy in Canada and its graduates have good career outcomes.  Our faculty and staff provide a supportive environment for realizing your research goals and for developing the professional skills needed to flourish both within and outside academia.

The program is designed to take four years to complete:

  • In your first year you will begin your coursework--our students typically take 3 graduate courses per semester including the PhD Seminar which will guide you in writing your thesis proposal (this course will also train you in a number of professional skills: grant-writing, teaching, publishing, conference presenting, etc).
  • In your second year you will complete your coursework, competency requirement, area requirements and thesis proposal. At the end of the winter semester, you sit your Oral Qualifying Exam.
  • In your third and fourth years you will undertake the writing of your thesis and you will defend it at the end of your fourth year.

We give our students a lot of teaching opportunities:

Our biggest courses all have tutorial components--as a teaching assistant for those classes, you get the opportunity to run your own weekly tutorial classes with undergrads. In the third year, you will also be offered your own course to teach. The department will provide you with a teaching mentor to help you out with any questions you might have about preparing and teaching your own course. 

We also offer interdisciplinary options:

We have options for our graduate students to explore interdisciplinary avenues of research. Graduate students are free to take courses outside of philosophy and a number of our students have availed themselves of opportunity. We also offer a collaborative program at the MA and PhD levels with International Development Studies (please see below for information about this program).

How to apply to our program

Doing the program:

Interdisciplinary PhD in Collaborative International Development Studies (IDS)

The Philosophy MA or PhD can be combined with an IDS collaborative specialization. This offers an interdisciplinary framework for the study of international development that combines training in a selected academic discipline with exposure to a broad range of social science perspectives. In addition to Philosophy program course requirements, students take: 

  • For the MA: "IDS Seminar" (IDEV 6100) and one course from each core area: Sociology/Anthropology, Geography, Economics and Political Science
  • For the PhD: "Theories and Debates in Development" (IDEV 6800) and "Developmental Research and Practice" (IDEV 6850)

Please ensure that your statement of intent explains how your research ideas fit with the IDS specialization, and also explains how your background and interests will contribute to the vitality of the specialization in development studies.

Please visit the IDS website for more information.


The University of Guelph resides on the land of the Between the Lakes Treaty No. 3, the territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit. This land is part of the Dish with One Spoon, a covenant between Indigenous nations to live peaceably on the territories of the Great Lakes region. We recognize that today this gathering place is home to many First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and acknowledging them reminds us of our collective responsibility to the land where we learn, live and work.