Ph.D. Degree Requirements

The Ph.D. program is designed to prepare persons for academic leadership and professional careers as teacher-scholars in schools, colleges, universities, and schools of theology. Students focus their work in one of six specialized fields of study:
  • Hebrew Bible/Old Testament
  • New Testament
  • History of the Christian Tradition
  • Religion and Culture
  • Religious Ethics
  • Systematic Theology


Satisfactory completion of 48 credit hours of approved coursework, including the four courses of the core seminar in Religious Studies: RELI 6301 The Philosophical Study of Religion; RELI 6302 Approaches to Asian Religion; RELI 6303 History, Theory and Method in Religious Studies; and RELI 6304 Contemporary Approaches to the Study of Religion.

Demonstrating, by examination, a reading competence in two approved languages, other than English, relevant to the field of study. For students in the two fields of biblical studies, four languages are required. Examinations must be passed in both Hebrew and Greek as well as in two additional languages.

Passing four comprehensive field examinations on the subjects designated for examination in the student's field, each consisting of a six-hour written examination based on the bibliography agreed upon with the examiner and the second reader.

Securing the steering committee's approval of a dissertation proposal endorsed by the student's adviser, two other members of the Graduate Program in Religious Studies faculty and one reader from outside the Graduate Program in Religious Studies faculty.

  • Satisfactorily meeting the practice teaching requirement.
  • Satisfactorily completing the doctoral dissertation.
  • Passing an oral examination covering the student's entire course of study as well as the dissertation.

Degree Timeline - GPRS - Ph.D.

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GPRS culture

Among the key features that separate the GPRS from other graduate programs in the country are its diverse student cohorts, close-knit community, and collaborative and celebratory culture.