The 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 of Study, gain a broad understanding of religion as a phenomenon, and join others in the creation of new knowledge. The average completion time is 6-8 years. 

Admission Information

We offer admission to the doctoral program annually. 

Applicants to the PhD program must have a Master’s degree in a program of study related to the proposed area of doctoral study

Application Deadlines     

January 5, 2021

Beginning in the 2020 PhD admissions cycle, there will not be an internal petition process for current Divinity School MA or MDiv students and recent alumni. Current and former students are required to submit the same documentation as external candidates, using the same deadline. Current students and recent alumni (within 2 years) will not have to resubmit GRE scores, even if they are expired. If the University does not have GRE scores on file, they will need to be submitted with your PhD application materials.

Application Materials

Applicants to the PhD program must have a Master's degree in a program of study related to the proposed area of doctoral study.

  • Divinity School Application for Graduate Admission
  • Personal essay outlining research agenda and proposed course of study
  • Academic transcripts from every institution attended
  • At least three letters of recommendation with at least two letters from faculty members from your graduate program
  • Official Scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) – School code 1832
  • Current CV or resume
  • Writing sample, not to exceed 25 pages 
  • Application fee:  $75 (waiver available)
  • All international applicants: Scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). 

Funding Information     

All PhD students receive a fellowship package that includes a full tuition scholarship, coverage of the student premium of the University Student Health Insurance Plan (USHIP) and a $31,000 annual living stipend for the duration of the program, up to 9 years. Funding is contingent upon satisfactory academic progress. 

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
  • Mentored teaching experiences 
  • Dissertation

    Sarah Fredericks

    Director of Doctoral Studies Dr. Sarah Fredericks is also Associate Professor of Environmental Ethics. Professor Fredericks' research focuses on sustainability, sustainable energy, environmental guilt and shame, and environmental justice; her work draws upon pragmatic and comparative religious ethics. 

    She is the author of Measuring and Evaluating Sustainability: Ethics in Sustainability Indexes (Routledge, 2013), and articles in Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and CultureInternational Journal of Sustainable Development and World EcologyEnvironmental Justice, and Ethics, Policy, and Environment. Fredericks co-edits a book series, Religious Ethics and Environmental Challenges (Lexington Press), with Kevin O'Brien. Fredericks, along with colleagues from three other universities, was recently awarded a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-funded Humanities Without Walls, a consortium that funds cross-institutional teams researching topics in the humanities. Prof. Fredericks' project, "Being Human in the Age of Humans: Perspectives from Religion and Ethics," seeks to better understand the impact of climate change from a humanities perspective. Professor Fredericks is currently working on a book about the ethical dimensions of experiencing and inducing environmental guilt and shame, particularly about climate change.