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Admission Requirements

Admission to our graduate program is competitive. We admit those applicants who appear to be the most likely to succeed in our programs. There are qualifications that we generally look for in all applications. These include your grades and your background in philosophy. Details on the accepted standards in these areas may be viewed below.

Grade requirements

To be considered for any of our graduate degree programmes, candidates should have at least an A- average in the most recent ten full credits of their academic career.
A "full credit" is the equivalent of one class running the full academic year; the usual half-year class is a "half credit," and the usual full-time undergraduate academic year is five full credits. (Classes in progress when you apply are not counted in the ten credits.) What is an A- average? Given the variety of mark scales used, it's difficult to provide a general account of how we'd calculate this. If you're not sure whether you'd meet this requirement, ask for advice from the Dalhousie Philosophy Department Graduate Coordinator,

Degree prerequisites

For consideration for the One-Year MA degree programme we normally expect applicants to have finished a Canadian four-year honours degree in philosophy, or the equivalent (usually a four-year major or advanced major in philosophy with courses that show evidence of independent research.)

For consideration for the Two-Year MA degree programme we normally expect applicants to have taken an honours or advanced major in a related subject, and a substantial number of "core" philosophy classes -- that is, intermediate or advanced level classes surveying the major philosophers and theories in basic areas such as ethics, theory of knowledge, phil. of mind, phil. of science, etc.

For consideration for the PhD programme we normally require students to have completed an MA in philosophy.


Please note
that if you are not sure your previous philosophy degree satisfies the above requirements for admission to the graduate program, you may contact the philosophy Graduate Coordinator for advice.

Other Options
If you would like to do a graduate degree in philosophy at Dalhousie but do not meet the admission qualifications, there are other options you may like to consider. Two main options that are available are to complete a qualifying year, or to pursue an interdisciplinary degree. The details on these options may be viewed below.

Qualifying year

It is possible to upgrade your qualifications and make a later application. The recommendation in this case is to enroll as a "no degree" undergraduate student. This is what is often called a "Qualifying Year."  You can take courses in philosophy during this year to accumulate the sufficient munber of credits required for admission, and/or to improve your GPA. We can't guarantee admission just because you have done the qualifying year, but it can serve to satisfy our necessary conditions for consideration and improve your chances for admission. No-degree undergraduate students (students completing a qualifying year) at Dalhousie are called Undergraduate Special Students. Application for this status uses the same forms as for regular undergraduate degree program admission. You can find graduate application on the Dalhousie Registrar's Website page, Applying for Graduate Studies.

Interdisciplinary PhD

If you have a background in a variety of subjects, but with insufficient depth in philosophy to qualify for our graduate programs, another option you might consider is an interdisciplinary degree. Dalhousie offers an Interdisciplinary PhD; students may be admitted to this programme without the depth of background in any one subject necessary for the usual one-discipline PhD. Please refer to the Interdisciplinary PhD Program.


For more information, please contact:

Dr.Greg Scherkoske
Graduate Coordinator
(902) 494-3520
greg.scherkoske@dal.ca