Doctor of Philosophy in Philosophy (PhD)

Overview

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.

What makes the program unique?

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.

Program Structure

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.

 

Program Enquiries

Still have questions after reviewing this page thoroughly?
Contact the program

Admission Information & Requirements

1) Check Eligibility

Minimum Academic Requirements

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.

English Language Test

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:

TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language - internet-based

Overall score requirement: 100

Reading

22

Writing

21

Speaking

21

Listening

22

IELTS: International English Language Testing System

Overall score requirement: 7.0

Reading

6.5

Writing

6.5

Speaking

6.5

Listening

6.5

Other Test Scores

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.

2) Meet Deadlines

September 2021 Intake

Application Open Date
15 October 2020
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 08 January 2021
Transcript Deadline: 08 January 2021
Referee Deadline: 12 January 2021
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 08 January 2021
Transcript Deadline: 08 January 2021
Referee Deadline: 12 January 2021

3) Prepare Application

Transcripts

All applicants have to submit transcripts from all past post-secondary study. Document submission requirements depend on whether your institution of study is within Canada or outside of Canada.

Letters of Reference

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.

Statement of Interest

Many programs require a statement of interest, sometimes called a "statement of intent", "description of research interests" or something similar.

Supervision

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.

Instructions regarding supervisor contact for Doctor of Philosophy in Philosophy (PhD)
Applicants should browse faculty profiles and indicate in their application who they are interested in working with. No commitment from a supervisor prior to applying is necessary, but contacting faculty members is encouraged.

Citizenship Verification

Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.

4) Apply Online

All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.

Tuition & Financial Support

Tuition

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$106.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,698.56$2,984.09
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
$5,095.68$8,952.27
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$944.51 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $16,954.00 (check cost calculator)
* Regular, full-time tuition. For on-leave, extension, continuing or part time (if applicable) fees see UBC Calendar.
All fees for the year are subject to adjustment and UBC reserves the right to change any fees without notice at any time, including tuition and student fees. Tuition fees are reviewed annually by the UBC Board of Governors. In recent years, tuition increases have been 2% for continuing domestic students and between 2% and 5% for continuing international students. New students may see higher increases in tuition. Admitted students who defer their admission are subject to the potentially higher tuition fees for incoming students effective at the later program start date. In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.

Financial Support

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.

Program Funding Packages

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.

Scholarships & awards (merit-based funding)

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.

Teaching Assistantships (GTA)

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.

Research Assistantships (GRA)

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.

Financial aid (need-based funding)

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.

Foreign government scholarships

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.

Working while studying

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.

International students enrolled as full-time students with a valid study permit can work on campus for unlimited hours and work off-campus for no more than 20 hours a week.

A good starting point to explore student jobs is the UBC Work Learn program or a Co-Op placement.

Tax credits and RRSP withdrawals

Students with taxable income in Canada may be able to claim federal or provincial tax credits.

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.

Cost Calculator

Applicants have access to the cost calculator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.

Career Outcomes

20 students graduated between 2005 and 2013. Of these, career information was obtained for 18 alumni (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016):


RI (Research-Intensive) Faculty: typically tenure-track faculty positions (equivalent of the North American Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor positions) in PhD-granting institutions
TI (Teaching-Intensive) Faculty: typically full-time faculty positions in colleges or in institutions not granting PhDs, and teaching faculty at PhD-granting institutions
Term Faculty: faculty in term appointments (e.g. sessional lecturers, visiting assistant professors, etc.)
Sample Employers in Higher Education
University of British Columbia (3)
University of Ottawa (2)
Auburn University
Western University (Ontario)
Boston University
Queen's University Belfast
Douglas College
Florida State University
Fraser International College
Tokyo University of Agriculture
Sample Employers Outside Higher Education
SAP (2)
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher Education
Specialist, Inbound Customer Engagement
Specialist, Inbound Customer Support
PhD Career Outcome Survey
You may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on outcomes.grad.ubc.ca.
Disclaimer
These data represent historical employment information and do not guarantee future employment prospects for graduates of this program. They are for informational purposes only. Data were collected through either alumni surveys or internet research.
Career Options

Graduates from UBC's Philosophy PhD program have taken academic posts in philosophy, and in related disciplines, at research universities around the world. They also have a broad range of research skills, which make them attractive to employers in a range of fields, especially in those relating to media and the arts.

Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats

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.

Enrolment Data

 20192018201720162015
Applications111751088968
Offers1311965
New registrations74352
Total enrolment3329262523

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 84.62% based on 13 students admitted between 2006 - 2009. Based on 7 graduations between 2015 - 2018 the minimum time to completion is 5.66 years and the maximum time is 8.33 years with an average of 6.92 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
Disclaimer
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each year, May to April [data updated: 10 March 2020]. Enrolment data are based on March 1 snapshots. Program completion data are only provided for datasets comprised of more than 4 individuals. Rates and times of completion depend on a number of variables (e.g. curriculum requirements, student funding), some of which may have changed in recent years for some programs [data updated: 27 October 2019].

Research Supervisors

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.

  • Amijee, Fatema (Metaphysics, Modern Philosophy, feminist philosophy, History of Analytic Philosophy)
  • Anderson, Scott Allen (intersection of ethics and social and political philosophy, largely focused on how to use and regulate power, coercion, and social norms; action theory and moral psychology, privacy, and problems related to the intensification of technology and information.)
  • Aydede, Murat (Philosophy of mind)
  • Ballarin, Roberta (Philosophical logic, nature and sources of necessity)
  • Bartha, Paul (logic; probability; analogical reasoning, Philosophy of science, decision theory)
  • Beatty, John Henry (Socio-political dimensions of genetics and evolutionary biology)
  • Bedke, Matthew (Philosophy, History and Comparative Studies, Foundations of Ethics, Social Organization and Political Systems, Ethics and Fundamental Issues of Law and Justice, metaethics, ethics, political philosophy, philosophy of law, epistemology)
  • Berryman, Sylvia (Philosophy, History and Comparative Studies, Ancient Greek natural philosophy, Aristotle's ethics, ethics and global poverty)
  • Brownlee, Kimberley (Applied Ethics, Ethics and Fundamental Issues of Law and Justice, Ethics and Health, Human Rights and Liberties, Collective Rights, Social Aspects of Aging, Loneliness, Social Human Rights, Belonging, Virtues and Vices, Civil Disobedience and Conscientious Objection, Philosophy of Punishment)
  • Griffin, Michael (Greek philosophy, Ancient philosophy, Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, Proclus, Neoplatonism, Ancient logic )
  • Ichikawa, Jonathan (epistemology; philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, philosophical methodology (including experimental philosophy), cognitive science, and metaphysics, especially but not)
  • Jenkins, Carrie (Philosophy, History and Comparative Studies, Philosophy, Metaphysics, Romantic love, epistemology, Language and meaning, Philosophy of love, Creative scholarship, Critical approaches to normalcy, Art and inclusion, Interdisciplinarity and liminality)
  • Lopes, Dominic (Aesthetics)
  • Margolis, Eric (Philosophy of mind, cognitive sciences, developmental origins of human conceptual system, relationship between language and thought, exaplanation of distinctively human cognition)
  • Mole, Christopher (Philosophical issues that arise from the attempt to understand the mind scientifically, aesthetics of literature )
  • Prueitt, Catherine (Epistemology and Methodology, Asian Philosophy, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of mind/cognitive science)
  • Richardson, Alan Walter (History of philosophy of science in early twentieth century)
  • Russell, Joseph Paul (Free will, contemporary compatibilism, optimism-pessimism contrast)
  • Schabas, Margaret (Philosophy, History and Comparative Studies, History and Philosophy of Economics)
  • Simchen, Ori (Philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, philosophy of law )
  • Stephens, Christopher (philosophy of biology, philosophy of science, rationality, Why be rational?, scientific philosophy)
  • Thompson, Evan (Philosophical Foundations, Philosophy, History and Comparative Studies, Theories and Philosophies, Cognitive Science, Philosophy of Mind, Phenomenology, Asian Philosophies)
  • Wylie, Alison (Philosophy, History and Comparative Studies, philosophy of science, philosophy of the social and historial sciences, feminist philosophy, philosophy of archaeology, research ethics (non-medical), science studies)

Doctoral Citations

A doctoral citation summarizes the nature of the independent research, provides a high-level overview of the study, states the significance of the work and says who will benefit from the findings in clear, non-specialized language, so that members of a lay audience will understand it.
Year Citation
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.

Pages

Further Program Information

Specialization

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.

Faculty Overview

Academic Unit

Program Identifier

VGDPHD-T0
 
 

September 2021 Intake

Application Open Date
15 October 2020
Canadian Applicant Deadline
08 January 2021
International Applicant Deadline
08 January 2021
 

Supervisor Search

 

Departments/Programs may update graduate degree program details through the Faculty & Staff portal. To update the application inquiries contact details please use this form.

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