Abstract Kinetics and phase evolution of the TiC formation process by carbothermal reduction of carbon-coated titania (TiO 2) powder were investigated using TGA, XRD, and chemical analysis. The TiC synthesis in the present work proceeded via forming titanium oxycarbide (TiC x O y ) followed by its purification toward titanium carbide (TiC). The formation of TiC x O y was achieved via two routes. The uniformly coated pyrolytic carbon on fine titania particles formed the first TiC x O y phase at temperature of 1000 °C. The additional TiC x O y formed from Ti 3O 5 as temperature increased. The activation energy of the additional TiC x O y formation process was calculated to be 278.1 kJ mole . The resultant TiC powders prepared at 1550 °C for 4 h in flowing argon showed fine particle size (0.1–0.3 μm), oxygen content of 0.57 wt%, lattice parameter of 4.331 Å, uniform particle shape, and loose agglomeration between particles.