General Information

The University of Saskatchewan offers a friendly and supportive environment in which to pursue an MA degree in Philosophy. Students enjoy small seminar classes and one-on-one contact with faculty members. The department offers courses in core areas of faculty expertise and thesis supervision in most areas of philosophy. Faculty members have research interests which give the department special strengths in metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of science, philosophy of mind, moral psychology, 18th- and 19th-century philosophy, ethics and meta-ethics, social and political philosophy, philosophy of language, philosophy of mathematics, and aesthetics. Applications are particularly welcome from students interested in pursuing topics in these areas of study. Locally, the department collaborates with the Women's and Gender Studies Program and the Graduate College’s Interdisciplinary Studies Program. We have regular departmental seminars, visiting speakers, social gatherings, and other events in which our students are encouraged to participate as part of their graduate education.

All students do coursework in their first year (normally, five courses each year). Students who meet the requirements for a thesis option in their first year complete their coursework in the first year and complete their thesis in the second year; students continuing in the course based option normally do half their coursework in the first year and half their coursework in the second year. The University Library subscribes to the major journals in the field and fully sustains graduate research in the department's areas of interest.

Scholarships and teaching assistantships of up to $17,000 per calendar year for the MA are available to qualified applicants on a competitive basis.  Applications must be received by 1 February in order to begin the program in the following September and be considered for funding. It is particularly important for students who require a visa to study in Canada to apply by this deadline as obtaining a visa can be a time-consuming process and commonly takes longer than CIC estimates. Late applications will only be considered in exceptional circumstances.

Eligibility for admission to the Master's program normally requires an honours undergraduate degree in Philosophy, or equivalent in a closely cognate field.  Applicants should have a strong background in philosophy. Applicants must also have a cumulative weighted average of at least 70% (U of S grade system equivalent) in the last two years of full-time study (i.e. 60 credit units U of S equivalent). Transfer to the thesis option requires an average of at least 80% in U of S graduate courses as well as successful completion and approval of a thesis proposal.

Graduates of the program have gone on to PhD work at some of the top programs in North America and Europe. The department also participates in the Interdisciplinary Studies PhD Program, in which philosophical studies of an interdisciplinary nature may be pursued. Those seeking admission to the PhD program should visit the College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies' Interdisciplinary Studies website for further information.

Application requirements and deadlines can be found in the How to Apply section below.


Anna McKenzie- Graduate Application Support
Arts 518

Nadine Penner - Graduate Program Support 
Arts 518
(306) 966-5797 

Dr. Leslie Howe - Graduate Director

How to Apply

To apply to the graduate programs in Philosophy one needs to:

  1. Complete an online application for admission to the graduate program, which includes three letters of reference (the referees whose email addresses you provide in your online application will automatically be directed to an online form to submit), uploading of the supporting documents, and a processing fee of $120 CAD as instructed in the online application.

  2. Upload the following supporting documents with your online application:

    • A statement outlining the areas of philosophy in which you are currently interested and, if you intend to pursue the thesis option, in what areas or specific problems you would be interested in concentrating your research.
    • a sample of your written work on some topic in philosophy (an essay or term paper for a philosophy course would be appropriate).
    • your CV (resume)
    • transcripts and grading scales from all your post-secondary institutions.
    • test results of proof of English proficiency from applicants from non-English speaking countries (e.g., TOEFL, IELTS), if required. Click here for details.

Application Deadline

Applications, including the supporting documnents must be received by February 1, in order to begin the program in the following September and be considered for funding. Late applications will only be considered in exceptional circumstances. Applications are accepted at any time for admission in September of the following year. In order to maximize one’s opportunities for funding, a complete application with all supporting documents should be received by February 1st.

If you have any questions regarding the application process, please contact:

All students may be considered for funding. Please see funding section below.

M.A. Program Requirements

The Department of Philosophy offers a graduate programme which leads to the Master of Arts degree. Admission to the programme requires an honours degree in Philosophy or its equivalent. Students with particularly strong academic credentials who do not meet this requirement may be admitted with probationary status, but a degree in a cognate programme and course background in the discipline is strongly recommended.

The course based programme is the Department's preferred option; nevertheless, incoming students are placed in the thesis-based programme by default but are not required to remain in this programme. Students who do wish to remain in the thesis programme for their second year must meet a number of conditions in their first year, as follows:

  • They must have successfully completed of all their first year courses, including five regular seminar courses, with a cumulative average of at least 80%;
  • They must have assembled an advisory committee of supervisor and two advisors;
  • They must have satisfactorily completed and obtained approval of a thesis proposal, with approval received no later than 30 June (that is, the end of their first year).

 Students may transfer to the course-based programme at any time. Students in this programme must complete 30 credit units of coursework (a total of 10 graduate level courses or equivalent, normally over two years), as well as attending PHIL 990, and complete GSR 960.

Normally, students may, subject to a suitable rationale, substitute at most one ordinary graduate course with either of an upper year undergraduate course, special reading course (898.3), or a graduate level course in another department, if such a course is available. This may only be done once in a year and requires the permission of both the course instructor and the Graduate Director. Faculty are under no obligation to provide special reading courses, which must also be approved by both the Graduate Director and CGPS.

Residency for the MA degree (thesis) is one year, although two years is the normal completion time. Students must register for GSR 960 upon commencement of their program and for PHIL 990 each fall or winter term they are enrolled. Thesis students must also be registered in PHIL 994. The MA-by-coursework option may also be pursued on a part-time basis, though this will make a student ineligible for the thesis option.

Normal Pattern for Initial Registration:

  • Fall Term: Sept – Dec
    • Two or three PHIL 8xx.3
    • PHIL 990
    • PHIL 994
    • GSR 960
  • Winter Term: Jan – Apr
    • Two or three PHIL 8xx.3
    • PHIL 990
    • PHIL 994
  • Spring Term: May – Jun
    • PHIL 994
  • Summer Term: Jul – Aug
    • PHIL 994


The Philosophy department has a variety of funding opportunities available for eligible graduate students.

Some students are funded through the Department by means of Graduate Teaching Fellowships or their equivalent. The Department of Philosophy will automatically consider suitably qualified candidates for this award; no application is necessary. Students receiving such awards are required to work for the department to a maximum of 12 hours/week. This work typically involves acting as a tutorial leader, staffing the Philosophy Help Centre, and/or grading undergraduate essays and tests.  Students occasionally have the opportunity to prepare and deliver lectures in undergraduate classes. Students pursuing the course-based MA option or with averages below 80% are generally not eligible for this award. 

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Master’s scholarships are currently valued at $17,500 per year. Philosophy student with excellent academic credentials should consider applying to the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarships. See the SSHRC website for eligibility details and application procedures. The on-line application deadline is December 1 each year.
You will need to initiate this process yourself and develop a research proposal. The Graduate Chair and your supervisor can provide guidance in the application process. This is a highly competitive and prestigious funding avenue; you should consider it a priority and invest significant effort in your application. Students pursuing the course-based MA option are not eligible for this award. 

Please visit the Funding section at the College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for information on the above awards as well as other funding opportunities. Please also visit CGPS’s Award Database.

Note: Tuition waivers are not available for students at the Master’s level of study.

Student Resources

Student's Advisory Committee

Every student in a thesis-based MA degree programme needs to have a student's advisory committee (SAC) in order to complete the programme (there is no SAC for students enrolled in the course-based MA).

The SAC is composed of a supervisor and at least two regular committee members. As soon as possible after the start of the program the student should identify a faculty member who consents to act as the student's supervisor. With the supervisor, and typically after the completion of the student's course work, the student's first task is to prepare a thesis proposal, a document of about 8-10 double-spaced pages outlining the student’s overall objective in their thesis along with a rough outline of the thesis' argument structure. Once the student and supervisor are satisfied that they have a workable draft of the thesis proposal, they identify who might be potential regular committee members.

Once the other committee members have consented to serve on the student’s SAC, a meeting is arranged to discuss the viability of the proposal. If the advisory committee is satisfied that the proposal is viable and that the student will be able to complete it, the SAC grants the student permission to write the thesis. This approval must be obtained no later than 30 June (the end of the student’s first year). Provided that the student has met the other requirements for the thesis based option (completion of the first year of five courses, PHIL 990, and GSR 960 with a cumulative average of 80%), the student then writes the thesis, while consulting with the SAC.

A thesis should consist of approximately 70 double spaced pages, not including the bibliography or any appendices. Once the SAC approves the thesis, the supervisor arranges an oral defence of the thesis. In an oral defence, the student defends the thesis in front of an examination committee consisting of the student’s SAC and an external examiner from another department within the university.

Once the student successfully passes the oral defence, and any required revisions to the thesis have been made, the student is eligible to graduate with an MA degree.

Potential Supervisors

Potential Advisory Committee Members