Candidate of Philosophy

Candidate of Philosophy is any of several academic degrees, depending on the country and the institution. In various countries it is a degree higher than or equal to Master of Philosophy but lower than Doctor of Philosophy, often being similar to the latter but without a doctoral thesis. In a few countries the degree is at a level similar to a bachelor's degree elsewhere.

As with many academic degrees, the English name of this degree has a New Latin counterpart. Because Latin inflects degree names for gender, for men the degree is Candidatus Philosophiae or Philosophiae Candidatus (the word order is optional in Latin); for women, it is Candidata Philosophiae or Philosophiae Candidata. The corresponding post-nominal letters are any of the following (with or without periods/stops): C.Phil., Phil.C., C.Ph., Ph.C., Cand. phil., or Phil. cand..

United States

The usual practice in the United States is for a graduate student working toward a doctorate to earn a master's degree (usually Master of Arts or Master of Science) in course after about two years of coursework. In a very few universities, a student who has completed all of the coursework, all of the comprehensive examinations in the subject and all of the language examination requirements, and whose dissertation topic has been approved—in short, who has fulfilled all requirements for the doctorate except the writing and defense of the dissertation itself—may be awarded a Master of Philosophy degree, beyond the Master of Arts or Master of Science already earned. In other universities, such students used the informal designation of Ph.D. (ABD), for "all but dissertation," not an actual degree but an informal convention.

The University of California began offering the Candidate in Philosophy degree in the early 1970s, but some campuses discontinued the practice before the end of that decade; it is still offered at most UC campuses, where it may be awarded within one year of advancing to candidacy.

Very few schools actually designate such students Candidatus Philosophiae or Candidate in Philosophy, abbreviated C.Phil. as a formal status.

U.S. universities offering the C.Phil.

University of California

Seven of the ten University of California campuses offer the C.Phil.


The C.Phil. is broadly similar to some degrees found in Europe.

United Kingdom

The Master of Philosophy and Master of Research degrees in the United Kingdom. The Master of Research typically contains taught work similar to the prerequisite needed for the doctorate in the US and is pursued as a stand-alone degree. Ph.D. students by contrast are typically registered for a Master of Philosophy and have their registration upgraded after making satisfactory progress (usually after the first year). Students wishing to follow a shorter period of study or to offer a dissertation of a more limited scope can opt to continue towards the Master of Philosophy degree. In some instances, failure to upgrade or a judgement of insufficient original contribution at the examination stage of a PhD can result in the student being awarded or offered the opportunity to re-submit for the lower M.Phil. degree instead. The MRes and MPhil degrees are becoming valued in themselves, largely because of UK Research Council imperatives regarding research training and funding. The MRes is usually a first master's degree, whereas the MPhil is often pursued as a second or advanced Masters. For example, at the University of Aberdeen the degree of Master of Philosophy is awarded on successful submission of a thesis of up to 70,000 words and after a viva examination with internal and external examiners. It is unusual for both the MPhil and PhD degree to be awarded as part of a Ph.D. programme. (Note, however, that at the University of Cambridge, the MPhil degree is a one-year degree qualification that combines taught sections with unique research. Graduates who go on to PhD study may therefore earn both a MPhil and a PhD.)

Sweden, Finland, and others

The word "Candidate" is often used in the titles of degrees in a different sense to those described above.

In Sweden and some other European countries the licentiate is a similar degree, in the respect that it requires the coursework of a doctorate, but a less extensive dissertation.

The Candidate of Philosophy is the lowest academic degree, essentially the same as a bachelor's degree, in several countries. For example, Finland and Sweden give these degrees, which are, however, usually translated as "Bachelor". In Finnish, this is filosofian kandidaatti. Like "Doctor of Philosophy", this degree doesn't necessarily imply specialization in theoretical philosophy, but is awarded in a variety of sciences.

In Finland, formerly the undergraduate degree in natural sciences (cf. Bachelor) was called luonnontieteiden kandidaatti "Candidate of Natural Sciences", and the graduate degree (cf. Master) was called filosofian kandidaatti. (See fi:Kandidaatti)


Russia and Central Asian countries



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