Doctorate in Philosophy (PhD)

Become Seekers of Knowledge


The primary research interests of the Faculty of Philosophy are in the history of philosophy, metaphysics and contemporary European philosophy and its historical antecedents. Current issues and controversies in such areas as ethics, dialectics, epistemology, phenomenology, philosophical economics and the philosophy of law are also particular strengths within the Faculty. Students with a wide range of thematic and research interests can be accommodated by the Faculty.

The Faculty offers a four-year program of studies leading to a doctorate in philosophy. The principal requirements are the successful completion of six seminars, a candidacy exam and the writing of a thesis followed by an oral defence. Doctoral theses in the Faculty of Philosophy are normally about three hundred pages in length. Doctoral students must demonstrate advanced research and argumentative skills. Candidates are expected to cultivate the necessary linguistic, literary and empirical capabilities for the latest research in their chosen area of specialization.

The Faculty organizes and supports a very active program of conferences and public lectures during the academic year. Doctoral students have an opportunity to present their own work in progress at the annual DUC student conference. Eligible candidates are encouraged to apply for a range of federal and provincial fellowships and scholarships. In addition, there are DUC teaching, research and mentoring assistantships, as well as travel grants, for which students can apply. Are you eligible for an $8 000 entrance scholarship?

In Summary

  • First year: Beginning of the program of studies and completion of four graduate courses.
  • Second year: Completion of the final two courses required, submission of the thesis proposal and passing of the candidacy examination.
  • Third year: Advancement of research work and drafting of the thesis.
  • Fourth year: Completion, submission and defense of the thesis.

Admission Eligibility

A Master’s degree in Philosophy from a recognized institution is normally required for admission to the doctoral program. If the graduate degree has been earned in another field, the applicant may still be admitted, but supplementary requirements or a qualifying year may be added to the student’s program.

Degree Requirements

  • Six graduate-level Philosophy courses (18 course credits).
  • Four academic terms, including the 18 course credits and the thesis proposal.
  • Fees must be paid until completion of all courses, and approval and submission of the thesis proposal (6 research credits).
  • Submission of a thesis proposal (6 research credits).
  • Successful completion of the doctoral candidacy examination (6 research credits).
  • Drafting of a doctoral thesis under the direction of an authorized Faculty member (30 research credits).
  • Thesis defense before a panel of four professors, including one external examiner (3 research credits).
  • Earning of a total of 69 credits, i.e. 18 course credits and 51 research credits.


With over 140,000 works, our specialized library provides ample material in multiple languages. DUC encourages all students to engage with primary sources. The 5 floor library collects works in their original language, as well as in multiple translations. Registered students may also consult and sign out books from Carleton University, as well as from several other libraries in Ottawa. Nestled in a quiet part of the city, DUC’s library is an urban oasis; its quiet and friendly ambiance encourages reading and writing (while permitting the occasional daydream!). *Graduate students may request access to an individual study room in the library.

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