Admissions FAQ


I’m interested in applying for an MA in Philosophy but can’t find any information online?

We do not offer an MA in philosophy at McGill University. We offer a PhD: PhD1 for those who hold a BA in philosophy and PhD2 for those who hold a BA and MA in philosophy. The only MA we offer is the MA in Bioethics jointly with the Biomedical Ethics Unit.

If my MA degree is not in philosophy, can I still apply?

Yes, you may still apply, but you should have some background in philosophy. The majority of successful applicants hold BA and MA degrees in philosophy.

May I apply to the PhD program if I only have a BA degree?

Yes, if you feel you have solid grounding in the field. However, the majority of successful applicants hold BA and MA degrees.

May I start the graduate program in winter semester?

No, the department only offers fall admissions. Very important: Do not apply to start the program in winter or summer – applications for winter or summer will be cancelled and the application fee will NOT be refunded.

May I take graduate courses as a special (non-degree) student?

You may only take graduate courses in the department if you are a currently registered McGill student or if you are a registered student in another graduate program with which McGill has a student exchange agreement. Exchanges among Quebec universities take place through the Quebec Inter-university Transfer Agreement. Please refer to

Do you offer a part-time program?

Our PhD programs are full time only.

How competitive is the admissions process?

The department typically receives between 120-150 total applications. We offer admissions to 6-10 applicants. Successful applicants usually have CGPAs of 3.5 or above.

Do I need to contact a prospective supervisor ahead of time?

It is not necessary to secure a supervisor before applying to our program. However, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with our professors’ research interests so you can get a better sense of whom you are interested in working with:

Do you offer funding for graduate students?

For incoming PhD students, the department guarantees each student a financial package of at least $20,000 per year for four years, subject to satisfactory progress in the program. The precise composition of this package varies each year, and is a combination of internal and/or external fellowships, research assistantships, and/or teaching assistantships. PhD students may apply to teach summer courses as well. Admitted students apply directly to the department for TAships after the Student Affairs Manager circulates the call for applications. RAships are arranged individually with professors.

How long is the PhD program?

Completion times vary but students typically complete the program in five to six years.

What will I pay in student fees?

Tuition fees are handled by the Student Accounts Office. The information can be found here:

What is the language requirement for International students?

The language requirement is one that comes from our Graduate Studies Office, please read through the information they provide for applicants:

Do I need to mail in my original transcripts?

All University transcripts must be uploaded online and are unofficial. If you are accepted into our program you will need to provide the University with official transcripts. We will be responsible for calculating your CGPA. Our system is programmed with many different transcript key codes from Universities all over the world.

How do I send you my test scores from TOEFL/IELTS?

All test scores are handled electronically. You must ensure that the official test results are sent electronically directly to McGill by the testing service: (Institutional Code: 0935).  Students cannot upload their results themselves, nor can administration upload paper copies of their results.

I did a study away, do I include this transcript?

Yes. We need your complete record of study from each university-level institution attended to date, including transcripts from study away.

I’ve been out of school for a few years and I’m not sure if I can get 3 reference letters from previous professors, who should I ask?

We need 3 reference letters from sources who can attest to your philosophical knowledge and background. Normally these sources would be instructors in this field of study. If you can get at least 2 out of the 3letters to be written by previous professors, that would work in your favor.