PhD Program

Program Overview

The PhD program is intended for Junior Members (students) whose principal vocation is the life of scholarship and teaching. Graduates of the PhD program are well-equipped to enter research or teaching positions. Admission requirements include a master's degree with a thesis component, a background in philosophy, and prior work in a related area of study.

Two Tracks

ICS is authorized to grant PhD degrees by the Province of Ontario and also offers a conjoint PhD degree with the Free University of Amsterdam (VUA). In the conjoint degree, course work and exams are completed at ICS while the dissertation defence and degree granting takes place in Amsterdam. 

Both PhD degree tracks are mixed programs with a coursework and examination component designed to further develop the competences acquired at the master’s level to the point where the candidate is able to demonstrate an appropriate expertise to write the dissertation the candidate will have proposed.

Program Structure & Timeline

Both PhD tracks require the equivalent of two years of full-time study to fulfill the following requirements: 

The pre-dissertation examination, conducted by a panel of internal and external examiners, tests candidates’ mastery of relevant works from their study at ICS. The exam includes both written and oral components. 

Junior Members should also expect to commit the equivalent of an additional three years of full-time work to the preparation for, writing, and defence of the dissertation itself, which will be defended orally in Amsterdam or Toronto (depending upon enrolment in the conjoint or stand-alone degree program).

A detailed timeline and outline of course expectations can be found in the PhD section of the ICS Junior Member Handbook.

Course Options

In both tracks of the PhD program, and with the mentorship of an ICS Senior Member, Junior Members may select courses that fall within one of the following seven interdisciplinary fields of study:

Courses that fulfill PhD program requirements can come from several sources. Foundations courses and the Interdisciplinary Seminar will almost always be supplied by ICS itself. Elective courses will also normally come from available ICS course offerings, but elective courses may also be drawn from Toronto School of Theology offerings if they prove to be pertinent to a Junior Member's field of study. 

At present, a Junior Member can fit two TST courses into their PhD program of study. In addition, a Junior Member can transfer graduate credits equivalent to two semester-long courses into the PhD program of study with the approval of their Mentor, the Registrar, and the Academic Dean.