The UBC PhD in Philosophy provides students with intense philosophical training, and can help them transition to careers in philosophical research and teaching.
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.
Students also get the opportunity to gain experience of teaching philosophy, through work as teaching assistants in a broad range of courses.
Students in the UBC Department of Philosophy's doctoral programme work closely with the department's faculty, and so benefit fully from our internationally recognized expertise in a unique range of philosophical fields. The department has a supportive, collegial, and philosophically inspiring culture. Students have a range of opportunities to participate fully in its intellectual life. They are also encouraged to participate in the broader community of philosophers, with several sources of funding being available that enable students to present their research at international academic conferences.
During their first two years in the program all students take courses that provide them with expertise in a broad range of philosophical topics, including value theory, the history of philosophy, and the core areas of metaphysics and epistemology. They also receive training in whatever formal research methods might be necessary for their work. Students who successfully complete the department's comprehensive examination then go on to write a dissertation, working under the supervision of a committee of faculty members, in which their own philosophical ideas are presented and explained.
An essential part of the graduate school application process is reaching out to potential supervisors and referees. Learn strategies on how to do this and make your application as strong as possible from graduate programs team members and current students.Register
The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies establishes the minimum admission requirements common to all applicants, usually a minimum overall average in the B+ range (76% at UBC). The graduate program that you are applying to may have additional requirements. Please review the specific requirements for applicants with credentials from institutions in:
Each program may set higher academic minimum requirements. Please review the program website carefully to understand the program requirements. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitive process.
Applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application. Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application.
Minimum requirements for the two most common English language proficiency tests to apply to this program are listed below:
Overall score requirement: 100
Overall score requirement: 7.0
Some programs require additional test scores such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Test (GMAT). The requirements for this program are:
The GRE is not required.
A minimum of three references are required for application to graduate programs at UBC. References should be requested from individuals who are prepared to provide a report on your academic ability and qualifications.
Many programs require a statement of interest, sometimes called a "statement of intent", "description of research interests" or something similar.
Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.
Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.
All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.
|Fees||Canadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / Diplomat||International|
|Installments per year||3||3|
|Tuition per installment||$1,698.56||$2,984.09|
|Tuition per year|
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
|Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible)||$3,200.00 (-)|
|Other Fees and Costs|
|Student Fees (yearly)||$969.17 (approx.)|
|Costs of living (yearly)||starting at $17,242.00 (check cost calculator)|
Applicants to UBC have access to a variety of funding options, including merit-based (i.e. based on your academic performance) and need-based (i.e. based on your financial situation) opportunities.
All full-time students who begin a UBC-Vancouver PhD program in September 2018 or later will be provided with a funding package of at least $18,000 for each of the first four years of their PhD. The funding package may consist of any combination of internal or external awards, teaching-related work, research assistantships, and graduate academic assistantships. Please note that many graduate programs provide funding packages that are substantially greater than $18,000 per year. Please check with your prospective graduate program for specific details of the funding provided to its PhD students.
All applicants are encouraged to review the awards listing to identify potential opportunities to fund their graduate education. The database lists merit-based scholarships and awards and allows for filtering by various criteria, such as domestic vs. international or degree level.
Graduate programs may have Teaching Assistantships available for registered full-time graduate students. Full teaching assistantships involve 12 hours work per week in preparation, lecturing, or laboratory instruction although many graduate programs offer partial TA appointments at less than 12 hours per week. Teaching assistantship rates are set by collective bargaining between the University and the Teaching Assistants' Union.
Many professors are able to provide Research Assistantships (GRA) from their research grants to support full-time graduate students studying under their direction. The duties usually constitute part of the student's graduate degree requirements. A Graduate Research Assistantship is a form of financial support for a period of graduate study and is, therefore, not covered by a collective agreement. Unlike other forms of fellowship support for graduate students, the amount of a GRA is neither fixed nor subject to a university-wide formula. The stipend amounts vary widely, and are dependent on the field of study and the type of research grant from which the assistantship is being funded. Some research projects also require targeted research assistance and thus hire graduate students on an hourly basis.
Canadian and US applicants may qualify for governmental loans to finance their studies. Please review eligibility and types of loans.
All students may be able to access private sector or bank loans.
Many foreign governments provide support to their citizens in pursuing education abroad. International applicants should check the various governmental resources in their home country, such as the Department of Education, for available scholarships.
The possibility to pursue work to supplement income may depend on the demands the program has on students. It should be carefully weighed if work leads to prolonged program durations or whether work placements can be meaningfully embedded into a program.
Canadian residents with RRSP accounts may be able to use the Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) which allows students to withdraw amounts from their registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs) to finance full-time training or education for themselves or their partner.
Please review Filing taxes in Canada on the student services website for more information.
Applicants have access to the cost calculator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.
20 students graduated between 2005 and 2013. Of these, career information was obtained for 18 alumni (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016):
These statistics show data for the Doctor of Philosophy in Philosophy (PhD). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.
This list shows faculty members with full supervisory privileges who are affiliated with this program. It is not a comprehensive list of all potential supervisors as faculty from other programs or faculty members without full supervisory privileges can request approvals to supervise graduate students in this program.
|2020||Dr. Ransom examined the nature of perceptual learning for expertise, arguing that it is best understood as involving a change in the contents of perceptual experience itself, rather than simply the sorts of inferences experts are able to make. This has an impact on real-world training programs in fields from medicine to military to art criticism.|
|2020||The truth of "magnets attract iron" and "cars stop at red lights" have different weights. The former is more substantive than the latter, which is a convention. Dr. Soltani's research addresses the meaning of, the justification for, and the significance of Henri Poincaré's claim that geometric truths are also conventions.|
|2020||Dr. Sandlin explored the nature of affective qualities, asking: what makes objects pleasant? His discussion was focused particularly on pleasant smells and pleasantness attributed to objects. He argues that pleasantness cannot be independent of our experience, but rather that pleasantness is a relationship between our experience and the world.|
|2020||Dr. Van der Berg studied the cognitive mechanisms that underlie our appreciative engagement with things we value. He showed how existing theories of appreciation, in their narrow focus on our evaluative judgements and experiences of pleasure, overlook the importance of how our attention is modulated as episodes of appreciation unfold.|
|2019||Dr. Livernois examined the theoretical foundations of market-based policies and cost-benefit analysis, arguing that both fall short of delivering results that could forge sound environmental policy. The outcome of this research was to clarify misguided economic concepts with the aim of contributing to the improvement of environmental policy.|
|2018||Dr. Leder developed a novel skill-based, naturalist theory of mental health.|
|2017||Dr. Byun examined the philosophical origin of agnosticism by analyzing underappreciated works of the inventor of the word "agnostic." Thomas Huxley, also known as "Darwin's bulldog," proposed agnosticism as a guide to knowledge. This research shows that it is not a passive, wishy-washy stance, but a constructive, confident position on evidence.|
|2016||When someone is unsure about the truth of a statement, they may have a partial belief; for example the belief that the probability of rain tomorrow is three out of ten. Dr. Lukits defended the claim that rational agents update their partial beliefs by ensuring that they respect evidence without gaining more information from it than necessary.|
|2015||Dr. French investigated how the philosopher Rudolf Carnap understood logic as a kind of conceptual technology. The result is philosophy as conceptual engineering: scientific concepts can be designed and constructed to satisfy the pragmatic demands of scientists. His work has implications for how to view the conceptual foundations of the sciences.|
|2015||What is a free society? Dr. Hellewell proposes that we understand liberty, not as the absence of interference, but as security against ``arbitrary power``, the power that lacks effective mechanisms for ensuring it is accountable to our rights. This conclusion has important implications for the design of political institutions in free societies.|
Philosophy offers courses in most major areas of the discipline, including epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, political and social philosophy, philosophy of art, philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, logic, philosophy of science, philosophy of biology, philosophy of mathematics, and history of philosophy.