Our PhD program provides professional training for a career in the scholarly study of religion, usually through a college or university professorship. The program is divided into four major areas of study: Historical Studies (HS); History of Religions (HR); Theology, Ethics, and Culture (TEC); and Scripture, Interpretation, and Practice (SIP). Each of these areas has defined subfields. Students apply to one of these four broad areas for admission, though final admissions decisions are made by the Department through its Graduate Committee and Director of Graduate Studies.
Of the 72 credits required for the degree, students are expected to complete a minimum of 45 credits of graded coursework by the conclusion of the fifth semester, including RELG 7360 (The Study of Religion) during the first semester.
Students are expected to submit a summary progress report at the conclusion of each semester of study.
Students are expected to file an approved plan for language acquisition at the end of the first semester. Before sitting for comprehensive examinations, students are expected to demonstrate a reading knowledge of at least one modern research language.
Students are expected to file an approved comprehensive examination plan at the end of their first semester.
Upon finishing coursework, students are expected to hold a research conference with their prospective dissertation advisor and two other faculty members in their area to discuss dissertation ideas and a timetable for taking comprehensive exams.
Students are expected to pass comprehensive examinations in their field of specialization by the conclusion of the sixth semester.
Students are expected to complete all requirements stated above by the conclusion of the sixth semester.
Within six months of the completion of comprehensive examinations, students are expected to obtain approval of a dissertation proposal.
Students are expected to write and defend a dissertation.
Each university in the Unites States of America sets its own admission standards so there isn't the same criteria for all the students and the university can decide which applicants meet those standards. The fee for each application is between $35 to $100.
After the selections of the universities you want to attend, the best of all would be to contact each university for an application form and more admission information for the international students. Moreover, for a graduate or postgraduate program it's necessary to verify the admission requirements. Some programs require that you send your application directly to their department.
Admissions decisions are based on students's academic record and different test scores, such as TOEFL, the SAT or ACT (for undergraduate programs) and GRE or GMAT (for graduate programs). Admission decision is based on your academic results and motivation.
To assist doctoral students who are poised to complete distinguished dissertations and enter the job market during their sixth year of study, the Graduate School awards dissertation completion fellowships that provide $20,000 in living support and an opportunity for independent teaching, as well as full remission of tuition, fees and the single student health insurance premium. Details regarding the nomination process are announced annually in late February.
In collaboration with the Office of Graduate & Postdoctoral Affairs and the University of Virginia’s Society of Fellows, the Graduate School awards grants of up to $5,000 to doctoral students in the arts, humanities and social sciences to support preliminary dissertation research during the summer months. These grants fund research travel to archives, collections and field sites that will enable the student to determine the feasibility of prospective dissertation projects, survey available sources and clarify the research focus, thus better positioning the student to apply for support from external funding agencies to support the advanced stage of research and writing. Details regarding the application process are announced annually in late February.