Students entering the Ph.D. program with an M.A. in philosophy will normally be required to take nine single-semester courses at the 500 level with at least five of those in the first two terms and three comprehensive examinations, chosen from seventeen areas of philosophy, within the first twenty four months of the program. Students choose three areas, and take their exams sequentially. Since each exam typically takes about three or four months, this phase of the doctoral program usually lasts 9 to 12 months. (Note that there are alternative formats for the exams, although all finish with an oral examination.) Ph.D. students must also demonstrate competence in those languages required for their thesis research (if any). Before beginning work on the dissertation, students must pass an oral candidacy examination demonstrating the capacity to carry out the proposed research. Work on the dissertation itself usually lasts one to two years.
Outstanding students with an honors BA, or its equivalent, in philosophy may be admitted directly to the Ph.D. program, but they will be required to take up to nine courses before proceeding to the comprehensives. The other requirements remain the same.
All graduate students at the University of Alberta are required to complete eight hours of “Graduate Ethics Training.” Typically, this requirement will be satisfied by seminars, workshops, and a short on-line course, covering such topics as professional practices in teaching and peer review, academic integrity, academic discipline, human rights in the workplace, intellectual property rights, the authoring of a c.v., relations between graduate students and supervisors, etc.