The Graduate Program in Religious Studies (GPRS) is comprised of students interested in six subfields: New Testament, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, History of the Christian Tradition, Religious Ethics, Religion and Culture, and Systematic Theology. An integral and essential aspect of the GPRS community is the GPRS Student Organization (GSO), which exists to assist students in completing the program and to facilitate communications among the GPRS students and between the students and the GPRS Steering Committee and faculty.
The mission of the GSO is to promote excellence in scholarship by fostering collegiality, stimulating academic success, providing social support and helping prepare students to transition into the professional context. The GSO helps to enrich the graduate student experience and to represent, support, and promote graduate student interests and values.
Among the activities it helps coordinate are those related to professional development, social gatherings, and engagement with the broader SMU community:
- Professional Development: The GSO organizes occasional seminars throughout the academic year, covering topics such as contemporary issues in religious studies, constructing CVs, comprehensive exams preparation, job searches, and project funding. In addition, regular colloquies provide opportunities for graduate students to present their current research and methodological approach and to gain feedback from peers.
- Social Events: These events include a welcome orientation luncheon, spouse/partner meet and greet, Fall and Spring GPRS parties for students and faculty, and a variety of additional social events.
- Broader Engagement: The GSO appoints representatives to serve on the GPRS Steering Committee, the Graduate Student Assembly, the Perkins Student Association, and other liaisons as needed.