Areas of Study FAQ

What are the areas of study at the Divinity School?

The Divinity School curriculum is organized in four faculty committees, each of which has subdivided areas of study. PhD students concentrate their work in one of the 11 areas of study

Some of the schools to which I’m considering applying have topically arranged areas of study, but the Divinity School’s organizational scheme seems different. What can you tell me about that?

The Divinity School’s areas of study are organized methodologically rather than topically—suggesting common questions, interpretive principles, and trajectories of thought. The committees of the faculty are mutually interactive, which allows for the same subject to be studied from various vantage points. 

I don’t see an area in Buddhist Studies. Does the Divinity School offer programs in these areas?

Buddhist Studies at the University is a highly interdisciplinary field that encompasses the Divinity School, several academic departments in the graduate divisions of humanities and social sciences, and multiple language centers. Students interested in Buddhist Studies work primarily through Philosophy of Religions or History of Religions areas, depending on the nature of the research interests and questions. Students interested in Buddhist Studies should view the faculty bios of Professors Christian K. WedemeyerDaniel A. ArnoldMatthew Kapstein, and Brook A. Ziporyn

I am interested in doing coursework and research in a particular religious tradition (e.g. Hinduism, Vedism, Daoism, Jainism, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism, etc.), but I do not see an area of study for any of these. Does the Divinity School have a program for me?

Students pursuing work on these or any other tradition might do so through one or more areas of study in the Divinity School, depending upon the nature of one’s research interests and questions. Students should explore the Anthropology and Sociology of ReligionsHistory of Religions, and Philosophy of Religions areas, and may also find relevant coursework in Religion, Literature, and Visual CultureReligions in the Americas, and Religious Ethics.