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Progression requirements and deadlines

Progression requirements and deadlines approved by the Department on November 1, 2004.

In accordance with Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office regulations, students entering the Ph.D. program with a Bachelor’s degree are admitted at Ph.D. I, and students entering with a Master’s degree or equivalent are normally admitted at Ph.D. II.

Each student on admission to the program is assigned an advisory committee whose function is to advise the student, at the beginning of each year of course-work, in the selection of courses, and to ensure that this selection satisfies the Departmental requirements specified below. This committee remains in place until the student has chosen a Thesis Advancement Committee, at least four months prior to the deadline for completion of the requirements for advancement to candidacy.

1. There are four general requirements for the Ph.D. program:

  1. Course-work (twelve, ten, or nine courses, depending on the student), chosen to meet certain further requirements, set out below.
  2. A language requirement.
  3. A candidacy paper.
  4. A dissertation.

2. General rules governing course selection:

  • Where a course is designated by the Department as falling into more than one area, a student may elect to count the course towards whichever of these areas s/he chooses. No student may count a particular course towards the satisfaction of area requirements in more than one area, however.
  • All Ph.D. students must demonstrate competence at the level of intermediate logic prior to consideration for advancement to candidacy. Such competence may be demonstrated by taking the Intermediate Logic Course, or by some other means approved by the graduate director in consultation with those members of the Department responsible for teaching the Intermediate Logic course. A student may be deemed to have satisfied the logic requirement if he or she has taken a course (or courses) equivalent to the Intermediate Logic course prior to entering the program.
  • The following may be counted by students in partial fulfilment of the Department’s course work and area requirements:
    • pro-seminars
    • 500 and 600 level courses offered by the Department.
    • guided research based on 400 level courses offered by the Department, taken under a 700 number, by agreement with the instructor.
    • reading courses taken with a member of the Department, under a 700 number.
    • Graduate-level courses offered by other departments at McGill, or at other universities in Montreal, if approved by the Department. Such courses are taken either under a graduate level number in the relevant department, or via the IUT (Inter University Transfer) credit system if taken at other universities in Montreal.

3. Specific rules governing course selection for students admitted at PhD 1 and at PhD 2:

Where the Department judges that, while the formal conditions for admission at either level are satisfied, a student’s background is deficient relative to what would be expected given satisfaction of the formal conditions, the Department may require additional course-work to be completed prior to consideration for advancement to candidacy. Where this is the case, the student will be informed of this fact in writing, in the offer of admission from the Department.

Admitted at PhD 1 (Students admitted at PhD 1 normally possess an Honours BA or equivalent in Philosophy)

1/ Students will be required to take and complete 12 courses prior to consideration for advancement to candidacy.

  • One of these courses in each year will be a pro-seminar.
  • The courses must satisfy the following area requirements:
    • At least 2 courses must be in the history of philosophy.
    • At least 2 courses must be in ethics or value theory.
    • At least 2 courses must be in metaphysics or epistemology.


Students must also, if necessary for the satisfaction of the Logic Requirement, take the Intermediate Logic course or an equivalent, prior to consideration for advancement to candidacy. That course will count among the 12 courses required.

2/ Students must complete the course-work requirements by 15th December in their third year in the programme (PhD 3).


Admitted at PhD 2 (Students admitted at PhD 2 normally possess an MA in Philosophy)

1/ Students will be required to take and complete 9 courses:

  • One of these courses in each year will be a pro-seminar.
  • The courses must satisfy the following area requirements:
    • At least 2 courses must be in the history of philosophy.
    • At least 2 courses must be in ethics or value theory.
    • At least 2 courses must be in metaphysics or epistemology.

Students must also, if necessary for the satisfaction of the Logic Requirement, take a 10th course, prior to consideration for advancement to candidacy.
Students may not appeal for remission of a course on the basis of work done for their MA degree.

2/Students must complete the course-work requirements by 15th August in their second year in the programme (PhD 3).


4. Candidacy Paper

The candidacy paper should manifest the sorts of skills and competencies relevant to the successful prosecution of doctoral research. It may be worked up from a paper written to fulfil the requirements of a graduate course. The paper will normally be of no more than 30 pages in length, double-spaced, and will demonstrate the ability to respond to supervision and to revise work in the light of comments and suggestions made on preliminary and (if necessary) intermediate drafts of the paper. The paper is expected to be in the area in which the student proposes to write his or her thesis, and may be either a self-contained piece or a piece suitable to be integrated into the larger context of a dissertation.

The student is responsible for contacting members of the Department with whom s/he wishes to work, and for constituting his/her Thesis Advancement Committee at least four months prior to the deadline for completion of the requirements for advancement to candidacy. The DGS will advise the student on these matters if requested. The TAC will meet with the student prior to the beginning of work to establish what will be expected in terms of the quality of the work and additional research, and to ensure that the project is realistic given both the student’s background and the departmental deadlines.

Deadlines

Admitted at Ph. D. 1:
Students must submit the final draft of their candidacy papers to their Thesis Advancement Committee by 15th December in their third year in the programme (PhD 3). The Department will consider advancement to candidacy of students admitted at PhD 1 at the February meeting subsequent to this deadline.

Admitted at Ph.D. 2:
Students must submit the final draft of their candidacy papers to their Thesis Advancement Committee by 15th August in their second year in the programme (PhD 3). The Department will consider advancement to candidacy of students admitted at PhD 2 at the September meeting subsequent to this deadline.


Penalties

If a student fails to meet the deadlines specified in (3) and (4) above, s/he will be expelled from the programme. A student who fails to meet the deadlines may apply in writing to the department for an extension. Such extensions will be granted only where the department judges that extraordinary circumstances beyond a student’s control have been instrumental in the failure to satisfy the departmental progression requirements. An application in writing for an extension, addressed to the graduate director, must be received at least two weeks prior to the departmental meeting at which the student is due to be assessed for advancement to candidacy; the application will be considered by the department at that meeting.

5. Audits

Graduate Students are expected to contribute to the intellectual life of the Department also after being promoted to candidacy. They can do so by participating in reading and discussion groups and, most of all, by auditing seminars both within and without their areas of specialty. The Department takes this aspect of student life very seriously. At the beginning of every academic year, every student will seek formal advice from the Graduate Director and his/her most immediate thesis supervisor for mapping out a programme of activities and seminar participation. A record of participation in reading or discussion groups will be entered, whenever available, in a student progress report, as well as a record of audited classes stating that a student has satisfactorily completed an auditing, i.e. has attended class sessions throughout, has done the required reading, and has demonstrated leadership in discussion. These records might be used by the student in any future job application dossier.

6. Language requirement

Students must satisfy Departmental language requirements, by demonstrating competence at the advanced level in a research language, or at the intermediate level in two research languages. Language exams are administered and graded by the Department. It is strongly advised that a student satisfy the language requirements as early as possible in the program, so that s/he can benefit as much as possible from the relevant linguistic competences in his or her thesis research.

7. Departmental Policy on Course-Work Extensions for Graduate Students

A student who is granted a one-term extension on the work due in a given course receives a grade of K. If an additional extension is granted, a further grade of KE must be submitted.

1/ Number of Ks and KEs Permitted: A student is permitted to hold a total of no more than two Ks/KEs at any time during an academic year. In addition, a student may hold only one K/KE at the beginning of an academic year.

No student will be admitted to candidacy with any incomplete coursework.

 

NOTE:
If accepted, non-Canadian students and non-permanent residents are required to obtain a Canadian Student Visa and a Certificate d'Acceptation du Québec. Proof of ability to support oneself while in Canada is required in order to obtain these documents. The figure projected by Québec Immigration as the amount required to support a year's study for a single person in Montreal is $10,600 plus tuition and other fees. Please see the Québec Immigration website at: Ministère de l'Immigration et des Communautés Cuturelles du Québec for more information. Income from various sources may be combined to make up the amount required.