Master’s Program

The Master’s (MA) program in the Department of Philosophy provides students with an opportunity to study philosophy at an advanced level, and to develop the requisite background knowledge and skills to flourish in a PhD program or an analytically-minded career.

Those admitted will work with award-winning faculty members who engage in research in the philosophy of science, philosophy of mind, metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of language, aesthetics, ethics, social/political philosophy, logic, Asian philosophy and the history of philosophy, just to name a few.

Program Overview

There are two routes to receive a Masters degree in Philosophy: a course only route and a thesis route.


  • One year's residency at UBC,
  • Ten one-term courses, including eight at or above the 500 level,
  • During the first year
    • complete six one-term courses, including two courses per term at the 500 level or above
    • have a minimum average of 76% in at least 2 courses per term.


  • One year's residency at UBC,
  • Six one-term courses, including four at or above the 500 level,
  • A thesis prospectus (normally submitted in April for consideration in early May),
  • A Master's thesis,
  • During the first year
    • complete six one-term courses, including two courses per term at the 500 level or above
    • have a minimum average of 76% in at least 2 courses per term.

Graduate Resources

As part of the program, graduate students will have access to a number of resources that support each individual’s work and research.

Graduate Regulations (revised September 2023)

This document contains full details on MA and PhD procedures and requirements, including information on the following topics: the MA course-only and thesis options; transferring from the MA to the PhD program; residency requirements; the course distribution and formal methods requirements; the proseminar; the comprehensive examination; the PhD prospectus; leaves of absence; and PhD thesis preparation. For details on these and other topics, please consult the table of contents.

Graduate students are crucial to the life of the department. They are expected to regularly attend colloquia, to elect a representative for faculty meetings, and to organize periodic social events. There are also work in progress seminars where graduates and faculty are invited to share and discuss their developing research projects. In addition, there is currently an active Graduate Student Colloquium for graduate student presenters only.

Reading groups are also a nice way to explore philosophy in a more informal setting, and students have access to a reading room in addition to having space in the graduate lounge. Lastly, graduate students have the opportunity to hone their teaching skills as TAs or instructors.

Several philosophy department faculty are members of the Science and Technology Studies program in cooperation with faculty from History, English, and other departments. The STS program offers an MA program and a PhD stream within the philosophy PhD. Philosophy PhD students enrolled in the PhD stream take three STS seminars as part of their graduate coursework. STS seminars are frequently cross-listed with philosophy seminars and are open to other graduate students.

Supervision in applied ethics, including biomedical ethics, environmental ethics, and business and professional ethics, is available in conjunction with the Maurice Young Centre for Applied Ethics. The Centre for Applied Ethics is an independent academic unit with resources for graduate education in applied ethics. Graduate students in the philosophy department can seek research supervision from Centre faculty.

Philosophy graduate students at UBC may take courses in the Philosophy Department at Simon Fraser University without paying additional fees. Supervisory committees may include members from both departments.

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