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Ph.D. Program Timeline

The Program is designed to be completable within four years. Full-time Ph.D. students in the Program are guaranteed funding for four years, provided they make satisfactory progress. Over the last few years, the department has been able to extend full or part funding to all full-time fifth and six year students in good standing. The department is committed to continuing this practice, but it cannot guarantee full funding to students beyond the fourth year.

The following timeline summarizes the Program’s expectations for student progress:

Year One

First Term

  • Meet with the Ph.D. Advisor before the start of term, or as soon as possible after classes begin, for advice about courses and meeting area requirements and to have your course selections officially approved.
  • Take two or three courses.
  • Apply for external scholarships (SSHRC and OGS) by means of a single common application, if you are eligible
  • In consultation with the Ph.D. Advisor, arrange for a thesis supervisor.
  • Determine with your supervisor whether you will have to establish competence in logic or one or more languages other than English before your Qualifying Examination. If you intend to write a thesis on a philosopher who wrote in a language other than English, you will probably have to demonstrate competence in that language. If so, consider whether you should begin formal study of that language now. Graduate students can audit, or take for credit, undergraduate language courses at no extra charge.
  • With the Ph.D. Advisor and your Supervisor, arrange for the other two members of your Supervisory Committee.

Second Term

  • Take the remainder of your five courses other than the Ph.D. Research Seminar (make sure you meet the Area Requirements).
  • Your Supervisory Committee should be complete by the end of February.
  • Ask your course professors or Supervisor if any papers you have submitted for courses would be appropriate for reworking for publication.

Summer Term

  • Schedule your annual supervisory committee meeting, to take place in May, with your Supervisory Committee, the Ph.D. Program Officer and the Graduate Administrator. Here is where you will be told definitely whether you need to demonstrate any special competencies. Also, you will have a chance to discuss your plans for the summer and what you propose to do in your dissertation.
  • Begin or continue study for your language or logic exam, if one is required.
  • Begin preparation of your dissertation proposal.

Year Two

  • Take the Ph.D. Research Seminar (September to April).
  •  Complete any other remaining coursework (you need six courses in total, including the Ph.D. Research Seminar).
  • Apply for external scholarships (SSHRC and OGS) by means of a single common application, if you are eligible.
  • Continue study for your language or logic exam, if one is required.
  • Write your Qualifying Examination document (QE document). Submit a draft of your QE document to your Supervisor by the end of your 17th month in the Program (typically January of your second year). Expect to prepare several drafts and to run them past your Supervisor before your proposal is acceptable for the Qualifying Examination.
  • Take your language or logic exam, if required. The Ph.D. Program Officer will arrange this at your request.
  • Schedule your annual supervisory committee meeting, to take place in May.
  • Take your Qualifying Examination (QE), at which you will defend your thesis proposal (see the section above titled “Qualifying Examination” for details). This normally takes place in May. You may retake the exam once. However, absent special circumstances, you must pass your QE by the end of August to remain in the program.
  • Begin writing your thesis once you have passed your QE.

Year Three

  • Apply for external scholarships (SSHRC and OGS) by means of a single common application, if you are eligible.
  • Work on your thesis. The usual procedure is to submit a chapter at a time to your supervisor for comments, which you accommodate in a revised version. Expect several cycles of comments and revisions. Ordinarily the other members of the Supervisory Committee do not see a chapter until the Supervisor has accepted it. This pattern varies, and should be negotiated in advance with your Supervisory Committee.
  • Arrange annual meeting in May with your Supervisory Committee.

Year Four

  • Apply for SSHRC and OGS if you are eligible and expect to be back for a fifth year.
  • Complete your thesis. A good target is to have a finished draft by January of year four. This gives time for revisions, for nomination by your Supervisory Committee of an external examiner, and for the external examiner to read and prepare a report.
  • Defend your thesis. (If you do it soon enough, you will not need an annual meeting in May with your supervisory committee.)
  • Throughout, you should be trying to produce work which merits publication in a respectable journal. Publication helps your employment prospects and starts your research career. Whenever you have work which you think is of sufficient quality, show it to your supervisor (or other faculty) and receive their opinion as to its suitability for publication. Your supervisor or other faculty members should be able to advise you on appropriate places to send it.