Work at The University of Chicago Divinity School encompasses the full range of the academic study of religion. The School generates knowledge about the history, theology, beliefs, and practices of world religions through a broad and rich array of methodological and theoretical approaches that is deeply informed, intellectually curious, and honestly engaged.

Areas of Research and Study

Focusing on religious thought and traditions and their value.  

Philosophy of Religions Religious Ethics Theology

Concentrating on the development of Western religious traditions from their origins to the present.

Bible History of Christianity History of Judaism

The humanistic study of religious traditions and phenomena – and literature and society in relation to religion.

Anthropology and Sociology of Religion History of Religion Religion, Literature, and Visual Culture

The study of Islam as a textual tradition inscribed in history and particular cultural contexts. 

Interdisciplinary focus on religious ideas, practices, institutions, and movements in American religion. 

Interdisciplinary research on topics in Buddhism.

Degree Programs

The Divinity School offers the doctoral (PhD) degree, the Master of Divinity degree (MDiv), the Master of Arts (MA) degree, and a Master of Arts in Religious Studies (AMRS), as well as a major and a minor for College students.

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program is a rigorous, interdisciplinary course of study that prepares students for careers in research, teaching, and publicly engaged leadership. Students develop a sophisticated grasp of methods and theories in a chosen area and broad understanding of religion as a phenomenon, and join others in the creation of new knowledge.

Admission is offered annually. Average completion time is 6-8 years.

Program Requirements

  • Minimum 12 courses (2 years)
  • Demonstrated competence in two secondary research languages other than English. Some areas require additional language study.
  • 4 Qualifying Examinations
  • Teaching experiences totaling 5 teaching points 
  • Dissertation 


The Master of Arts (MA) is a 2-year foundational program to acquire the skills to develop a research agenda for doctoral study, or to strengthen knowledge needed for professional fields. Admission is offered annually.

Program Requirements:

  • Successful completion of a minimum of 15 courses, including
    • DVSC 30400, Introduction to the Study of Religion
    • At least one course in each of the three faculty committees
  • Demonstrated competence in either French or German through an exam or course from the Chicago Language Center


The MDiv is a three-year, cohort-based program designed for students from all religious backgrounds who are interested in careers in public religious leadership, whether in traditional ministerial professions or in new and emerging forms of leadership. 

Program highlights include participation in field education all three years of the program and the ability to take courses at neighboring seminaries or theological schools. Students learn basic skills in textual languages, such as Koine Greek, Biblical Hebrew, Qur’anic Arabic, Sanskrit, or Tibetan.

We offer several Dual Degree Programs:

  • MDiv & Master of Public Policy (MPP) with the Irving B. Harris School of Public Policy Studies
  • MDiv & Juris Doctor (JD) with The University of Chicago Law School
  • MDiv & Master of Social Work (MSW) with The University of Chicago Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice


The AMRS is designed for those practicing other professions (e.g. law, medicine, business, education, journalism, the arts), or those looking to develop a broad basis of understanding in religious studies. Students may enroll either full or part time.



College students of any major may take electives in Religious Studies, and we offer both a Major and a Minor. The field of Religious Studies engages perennial questions about religion and human society. Explore numerous religious traditions, including Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism. 



    Dr. Johnson teaching "Star Wars and Religion" in Spring 2019


Area clubs, student-run clubs, academic workshops, and interest clubs provide a variety of opportunities to engage with colleagues from around the Divinity School and the University.


students listening intently

Council on Advanced Studies Workshops

Graduate research workshops in the humanities, social sciences and the Divinity School meet throughout the academic year. These workshops are organized by faculty and students with common research interests but who come from diverse schools, departments, and divisions.

The Divinity Students Association hosts numerous clubs organized by students around particular interests not covered by the Academic Area Clubs or Identity Clubs.



At the Center of Intellectual Inquiry

inside mansueto library

Providing a dynamic research and learning environment, The University of Chicago Library supports our commitment to research and teaching. Religious Studies was a core component of the original library and the Religion Collection directly supports the research and teaching of Divinity School faculty and students.

The University of Chicago Library