Applying to the PhD Program

The PhD program is a rigorous, interdisciplinary course of advanced 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. 

Program Overview

The program consists of coursework, languages, pedagogical training with teaching, comprehensive exams, and a dissertation. All doctoral students work the a faculty advisor and area faculty to progress through the program. 

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 12, 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, valid GRE scores will need to be submitted with your PhD application.

Admission & Funding Information

Admission into the PhD program is offered on a yearly basis. Admitted 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 7 years. 

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
  • Candidate Statement outlining research agenda and proposed course of study
  • Academic Transcripts 
  • 3 Letters of Recommendation 
  • Official Scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) – School code 1832
  • Current Resume or CV
  • Writing sample, 15-25 pages 
  • Application fee:  $75 (waiver available)
  • All international applicants: TOEFL or IELTS score

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.