• Prof. Kris Culp with PhD student Joel Brown

Doctoral program (PhD)


1. Four years of Scholastic Residence.

2. Satisfactory completion (at least B- level) of significant coursework during at least the first two years of study. Normally, Ph.D. students are enrolled in a minimum of two courses per quarter during these first two years. As a part of this coursework, students must complete one course from each Committee of the faculty.

3. Satisfactory completion of the second-year progress conference, normally held in the spring quarter of the second year, or the fall of the third year. Progress conferences are held in accordance with the respective area's guidelines, and will normally include assessment of coursework to date, cogency of the course of study petition, readiness for qualifying examinations, and development of the dissertation project. A report from the advisor and a timeline for the qualifying examinations is submitted to the Dean of Students following the conference.

4. PhD students must demonstrate reading competence in two languages for scholarly research. Under normal circumstances, these languages will be French and German. When a student, in consultation with her or his advisor for the course of study, comes to the judgment that there is in fact a modern scholarly language that is of more immediate relevance to said course of study, the student may petition the Committee on Degrees to replace French or German with that language. Only one such replacement may be requested. The petition must explain the rationale for the replacement, and demonstrate 1) that the replacement language is indeed of central scholarly importance to the student’s program (i.e., that the scholarly literature in the language is significant) and 2) that the language being replaced is not at least equally relevant. The petition should also indicate whether the University offers a reading examination in the language or, in cases when such an examination is unavailable, explain how the student will certify reading competence. Decisions of the Committee are final, and may not be appealed; i.e., such a petition will be reviewed by the Committee once. (See Foreign Language Requirements and Foreign Language Exam Preparation for more information.)  N,B.  All PhD students must satisfactorily complete the foreign language reading exams before being allowed to sit for PhD qualifying exams.  This includes any area-specific language exam requirements.

5. Approval from the Committee on Degrees of a course of study petition outlining the student's anticipated program of study through the qualifying examination. (For students in the Divinity School's AM in Divinity program, this petition constitutes part of the application for doctoral admission.) Entering PhD students must submit this petition during their first year in residence. (For further details, see The Course of Study Petition.)

6. Satisfactory completion of courses, colloquia, and assignments that may be stipulated in the specific guidelines of the student's area of concentration.

7. Satisfactory completion of the qualifying examination, which consists of:

    a) The four four-hour written examinations specified in the student's petition and approved by the Committee on Degrees.

    b) A research paper written by the student and submitted to all examiners during the first week of the quarter in which the student takes the qualifying examination.

    c) A concluding oral examination focused on the research paper and the written examinations. The oral examination committee must include at least four Divinity School faculty members. (For further details, see The Qualifying Examination.)

8. The completion of teaching assignments equivalent to a total of five (5) teaching points, consistent with the established point system for various levels of teaching appointments currently in effect. The current point value system is available from the Dean of Students. (For example, a teaching assistant appointment is worth one point, and a lecturer appointment is worth two (2) points.) Students ordinarily will begin teaching in the third year, completing two assignments in each of the third and fourth years. A student should consult with the academic advisor to plan for the timing of the qualifying exams and the completion of the teaching assignments.

9. The completion of an acceptable dissertation approved by the student's established reading committee. The dissertation shall be an original contribution to scholarship in the area of religious inquiry.

10. The student should complete the qualifying examinations and submit the dissertation proposal by the end of the fourth year of residence. The dissertation should be completed within five calendar years of approval of the proposal. (For further details, see below.)