StudyQA — PhD: Religious Studies — Stanford University


Religious Studies

Study mode:On campus Study type:Full-time Languages: English
Local:$ 63.1 k / Year(s) Foreign:$ 63.1 k / Year(s) Deadline: Dec 6, 2022
2 place StudyQA ranking:2873 Duration:5 years

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 The Ph.D. is conferred upon candidates who have demonstrated substantial scholarship and the ability to conduct independent research and analysis in Religious Studies. Through completion of advanced coursework and rigorous skills training, the doctoral program prepares students to make original contributions to the field of Religious Studies and to interpret and present the results of such research through teaching and publication.

The following requirements are in addition to the University's basic requirements.

  1. Residence

    Each student completes three years (nine quarters) of full-time study, or the equivalent, in graduate work beyond the B.A. degree, and a minimum of 135 units of graduate course work (excluding the dissertation).
  2. Required Courses

    The 135 units of graduate course work must include the following:
    1. Course List
      RELIGST 304A Theories and Methods 4
      RELIGST 304B Theories and Methods 4
      RELIGST 391 Teaching Religious Studies 3
      RELIGST 399 Recent Works in Religious Studies 1-2
    2. Two courses in an area outside the student's field.
    3. The remainder of the course work is individually designed, in consultation with the adviser.
  3. Languages

    Each student demonstrates a reading knowledge of two foreign languages, including French or German. One of those language requirements should be fulfilled by the time of advancing to candidacy at the end of the second year. Competence in the second language must be demonstrated at the time of the qualifying examination. Each student also demonstrates reading knowledge of other ancient or modern languages necessary for the field of study, area of specialization, and dissertation topic.
  4. Candidacy

    At the end of each academic year, the department's faculty recommend second-year students for candidacy on the basis of all relevant information, and especially on the student's candidacy dossier that includes the approved declaration of an area of specialization, certification for one foreign language, and two substantial papers written for courses during the previous two years. Students are required to take RELIGST 304A Theories and Methods, RELIGST 304B Theories and Methods, RELIGST 391 Teaching Religious Studies, and RELIGST 399 Recent Works in Religious Studies prior to candidacy.
  5. Paper-in-Field

    During the third year, under the supervision of their advisers, students prepare a paper suitable for submission to an academic journal in their field. The paper is read and approved by at least two faculty members in the department. Students are encouraged to register for RELIGST 392Paper in the Field while working on the paper.
  6. Teaching Internship

    At least one teaching internship under the supervision of faculty members is undertaken at a time negotiated with the Graduate Director. Students receive academic credit for the required internship, which is a part of academic training and not of employment.
  7. Qualifying Examination

    To qualify for writing a dissertation, the student must pass a comprehensive examination in the chosen field and the area of specialization, typically during the first quarter of their fourth year. The student must complete the second language requirement before taking the qualifying examination. The qualifying examination is normally conducted by a committee of at least three Academic Council members of the department, one of whom is the adviser. One faculty member may be from outside the department with permission of the Director of Graduate Studies.
  8. Dissertation

    The dissertation contributes to the humanistic study of religion and is written under the direction of the candidate's dissertation adviser and at least two other members of the Academic Council. The University Oral examination is a defense of a completed draft of the dissertation.
    1. Dissertation Committee—The dissertation committee is formed after successful completion of the qualifying examinations. It is normally composed of the dissertation adviser and at least two Academic Council members of the Religious Studies department. One non-departmental faculty member may serve as a reader when approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.
    2. Dissertation Proposal—Candidates submit their dissertation proposal in consultation with their advisers. It is read and approved by the three members of the dissertation committee.
  9. University Oral Examination

    This examination, required by the University of Ph.D. students, is a defense of a completed draft of the dissertation. The composition of the examination committee is set by University regulation: five or more faculty, normally all of whom are members of the Academic Council, one of whom must be outside the department to serve as chair of the committee. Normally, the examining committee includes all members of the dissertation committee. A majority of those voting must be Academic Council faculty from within the department.


  • completed application form (including indication of intended field of study in the department)
  • application fee (pay in online application)
  • statement of purpose (upload to online application)
  • 2 official copies of each transcript (mailed directly to the department)
  • graduate record examination (gre) scores (no more than 5 years old)
  • three letters of recommendation (via online application)
  • writing sample of recent work on a religious studies topic (upload to online application)
  • test of english as a foreign language (toefl)


All students receive five years of fellowship funding, which includes teaching assistantships and tuition for the academic year.  In addition, students receive three years of summer support. 

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