Undergraduate training

Students with an adequate undergraduate training in philosophy should apply for admission to the PhD programme at the PhD I level. Students who hold an MA degree in philosophy, or equivalent, from another institution should apply for admission to the PhD programme at the PhD II level. Students entering the PhD programme (at PhD I or PhD II) will be required to complete two years of course work. (NB. At present, we do not normally consider applicants for an MA in Philosophy, with the exception of the specialty MA in Bio-Medical Ethics)

The Department considers an adequate undergraduate training in philosophy to be one that furnishes a student with:

  1. A general knowledge of the history of Western Philosophy: Greek, Medieval, and Modern.
  2. A systematic knowledge of the main philosophical disciplines in their contemporary as well as historical contexts: logic, ethics, epistemology, and metaphysics.
  3. An ability to present, in written form, clear and substantial reconstructions and analyses of the materials normally studied in the areas mentioned in 1. and 2.

Highly qualified applicants whose background does not fully satisfy these requirements may be offered admittance to the PhD programme conditional upon the completion of additional course work.

How to apply

The Department conducts its admission process once a year.

The application deadline is JANUARY 15 for September admission. This is a firm deadline.

PhD Program

For detailed instructions on how to apply and how to upload required supporting documents please see:

Students may contact the Graduate Coordinator by email at: angela.fotopoulos [at] (angela.fotopoulos(at) or by telephone at 514-398-2427.

MA Bioethics Program

Students interested in the Speciality MA in Biomedical Ethics should contact:

Heike Faerber
Administrative Coordinator
Biomedical Ethics Unit
McGill University
3647 Peel Street
Montreal, Quebec
Canada H3A 1X1

Tel: ++1 (514) 398-6980
Fax: ++1 (514) 398-8349
heike.faerber [at] 


Required documentation

A complete application is one that includes:

  1. Duly completed (on-line) McGill University application form.
  2. Application fee* paid on-line by credit card when completing the application. (*Application fees and other charges are listed on the student accounts website.)
  3. 3 letters of reference, from three (3) qualified individuals familiar with your work. The Department does not require that these be on special reference letter forms.
  4. A sample of your written work in philosophy (15-20 pages typed double-spaced).
  5. A short statement (2-3 pages, typed double-spaced) explaining your reasons for wishing to undertake graduate studies in Philosophy at McGill University. There is room to make this statement as part of the on-line applications process.
  6. Transcripts of all post-secondary studies. Transcripts in languages other than English or French must be uploaded with an English or French translation provided by the institution issuing the transcript or by a certified translator.
  7. Applicants are strongly encouraged to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Applicants who are taking or have taken the GRE must arrange for the results of the examination to be sent directly to the Department by the examining board. Applicants who are not taking the GRE should clearly state this in their letter of application. The GRE Institution Code for McGill University is 0935.
  8. Non-Canadian applicants whose mother tongue is not English and who have not completed an undergraduate or graduate degree at a recognized Canadian institution or a recognized foreign institution where English is the main language of instruction must submit documented proof of competence in oral and written English, witnessed by performance in appropriate exam, namely those conducted by the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a minimum score of 567 (paper-based) or 100 (internet-based, with no less than 20 on each of the component scores), or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with a minimum overall band score of 6.5. Exam results must be submitted directly from the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing Systems) Office. The TOEFL Institution Code for McGill University is 0935.
  9. The applicant is responsible for ensuring that all application materials are submitted on time (JANUARY 15th).  We encourage candidates to apply as early as possible.

What to expect after applying

When will you have an answer?

Admissions decisions to most candidates will be communicated within two months following the application deadline.

Getting information on your file

As part of the on-line application process, applicants will be given a student number and a Personal Identification Number (PIN). This will allow them to log in to McGill's MINERVA web site to check the status of their applications.

Once an admissions decision has been made on a particular file, a letter informing the candidate of the decision is sent out.

In the Province of Quebec, there are laws in place which are designed to protect the confidentiality of nominative information. These laws prohibit us from giving any details regarding an application or an applicant to a third party, or to divulge information over the telephone or via email. While we do understand that this situation can make applicants anxious, particularly those applying from outside of Canada, we abide strictly by the law. Please do understand that, in so doing, we are protecting you and your file.(Please also note that the same concerns about confidentiality make it impossible to send decision letters by fax.)

Once you have received your admissions decisions

A. If You Have Been Offered Admission

The Department sends you an email informing you of this fact, and also shares a copy of your file with the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office (GPSO) along with a recommendation that a formal official offer of admission be sent to you. The GPSO examines your file in light of the Department's recommendation, and normally sends the official letter on behalf of the University about three weeks later. This apparent delay stems from the fact that the GPSO must process the applications of all graduate departments in the University, of which there are more than 70. Once you have received the official letter from the GPSO, please pay special attention to any conditions of admission outlined on the yellow decision form. These conditions must be satisfied before you register in the programme.

Registration for newly admitted students happens throughout the month of August. The Department will send you a comprehensive information package featuring details about registration and course offerings in early August.

If you would like to defer, or delay, your offer of admission, you must make a formal written request, explaining your reasons. The Department will respond in writing. If your request is granted, you must complete a new McGill University Application Form and pay the application fee again.

B. If You Have Been Refused Admission

The Faculty sends you an email informing you of this fact. If you wish to be reconsidered for admission the next year, you are required to submit a new McGill Application.