Instituted in 1992, the Collaborative Specialization in Ancient and Medieval Philosophy is an interdepartmental specialization of doctoral study at the University of Toronto, jointly administered by the Department of Philosophy, the Centre for Medieval Studies, and the Department of Classics. A student in the Collaborative Program is registered in one of these academic units, but may draw upon the resources of any unit. The University of Toronto has a long tradition of excellence in the study of ancient and medieval philosophy, and the Specialization trains students to carry on the tradition.

Students do not apply directly to the Collaborative Specialization. Instead, admission takes place through either the Department of Classics, the Centre for Medieval Studies, or the Department of Philosophy, and students indicate their interest in the Collaborative Program on their application. Financial support is guaranteed for all students in accordance with Toronto’s standard five-year packages; support packages involve a combination of scholarships and teaching assistantships and are administered by the unit in which the student enrolls. Students acquire a broad competence in their chosen discipline by fulfilling the normal curriculum of their home unit. Through the Collaborative Specialization’s curriculum students acquire a special competence in ancient philosophy, medieval philosophy, or both, complemented by further work in other areas of philosophy.

The Specialization demands a high level of competence in the languages relevant to the student’s research area: classical or medieval Latin, ancient Greek, or Arabic. Students should begin training in the relevant languages before beginning doctoral studies. The collaborating units normally provide opportunities for language study during the academic year and over the summer; we particularly encourage students who need intensive language training to take their MA in Toronto. Language study continues throughout the doctoral program. Reading knowledge of two languages of modern scholarship is also required, usually French and German.

Large and diverse faculty resources enable us to offer a variety of courses each year, as well as to supervise topics that span nearly two millennia of philosophy, from the Presocratics to early modern philosophy, an extension made possible by Marleen Rozemond’s work on the transition from medieval to early modern philosophy. Deborah Black brings the Specialization expertise in medieval Arabic philosophy, giving the Specialization an unusual breadth. We are also fortunate to have the invaluable support of the Pontifical Institute of Mediæval Studies (PIMS) and of the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology (IHPST). In addition, The University of Toronto is home to the John P. Robarts Research Library, one of North America’s most comprehensive research libraries, as well as a number of convenient smaller and more specialized libraries: the library system is the fifth largest in North America, with over 14 million volumes. Also on campus, the non-circulating PIMS library has one of the finest special collections in the world in ancient and medieval philosophy, including microfilm copies of thousands of medieval manuscripts.

Our activities include an annual proseminar and two reading groups that meet regularly every term to study major texts in ancient and medieval philosophy. There are also frequent seminars and lectures by distinguished visitors and our own colleagues.


The Collaborative Specialization consists of coursework, thesis area and language examinations, and the dissertation. Each collaborating unit has its own curriculum, and students work within the regulations of their home unit. Course requirements, thesis area examination procedures, and required preliminary training will therefore be different for students in Philosophy, Medieval Studies, and Classics, but these central components are common to all students:

» Every student must take at least two graduate half-courses (or the equivalent) in some area of philosophy other than the history of philosophy. Other courses will normally include substantial work in ancient or medieval philosophy.

» Every student must take and receive credit in the specialization’s proseminar (AMP 2000Y); see the Courses page for details.

» Every student must pass a competence examination in each of the languages required for thesis research before proceeding to the examination on the thesis area. These examinations consist of sight translation. The Specialization administers examinations in ancient Greek, Arabic, and classical and medieval Latin.

» The thesis area examination includes a paper involving prepared translation from the languages required for thesis research. This examination will be based on a substantial list of texts relevant to the thesis area.

» Reading knowledge must be demonstrated by examination in two modern languages, usually French and German.

» The thesis committee may be drawn from Specialization faculty in any of the units, but is not restricted to Specialization faculty.

Completion of these requirements permits the designation ‘Completed the Collaborative Specialization in Ancient and Medieval Philosophy’ to appear on the student’s transcript.

Please contact the relevant units for full details about their doctoral programs. (Further information about admissions is available on the Admission page.)