2008 - 2009 Site Archive



Graduate Bulletin

Religion, Ph.D.


Admission Requirements and Deadlines
Application Deadline:

Fall: January 15

Applications are evaluated together after the deadline.

Letters of Reference:

Number Required: 3

From Whom: Recommendations should be obtained from former faculty who know the applicant best.

Coursework Required for Admission Consideration:

It is suggested that applicants have taken at least 18 semester hours in Religion coursework.

Master's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline:


Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline:

All applicants must present credentials that are the equivalent of the appropriate baccalaureate degree at Temple University.

Statement of Goals:

The Statement of Goals should be two or three pages, giving the background that prepares the applicant for graduate religion studies, including her/his previous successes in academic study and research in the field. The applicant should provide a description of her/his area of interest within the field of religion and how that interest coincides with offering in Temple's Religion Department. The applicant should indicate what teaching and research goals s/he has and how s/he believes study at Temple would further these goals.

Standardized Test Scores:

The GRE is required. Scores of 600 verbal and 500 quantitiative are preferred.

Minimum TOEFL score needed to be accepted: 600 paper-based, 250 computer-based, or 100 internet-based.


A resume is required.

Test Waivers:

The GRE is waived for international students whose native language is not English. These students are, however, required to take the TOEFL and score the minimum stated above.

Program Requirements
General Program Requirements:

Number of Didactic Credits Required Beyond the Master's: 30

Required Courses:

15 s.h. of Foundation courses

33 s.h. of advanced seminars and/or independent study

6 s.h. of coursework outside the department

6 s.h. of dissertation research

The Ph.D. program is divided into three sequential units of study:

Unit I is comprised of the first 24 hours of courses, inclduing all required Foundation courses, and satisfying a first foreign language requirement.  These courses are intended to provide a firm and broad academic base across the the field of religion study. The Foundation courses must include 12 hours in the basic thought, practices, and history of three religions.  An introductory methodology course, e.g., Foundations in Religion and Social Science, must also be completed.  The remaining 9 hours should consist of advanced or specialized courses chosen by the student for the benefit of her/his program after consultation with the advisor and may include up to 6 hours of transfer credit.

Unit II includes all remaining courses and language study to complete the required specialization in preparation for the preliminary examinations and the disseratation proposal.  These include 24 hours of further advanced or specialized courses and 6 hours of courses taken outside of the department, including the remaining hours of transfer credit (not to exceed a total of 24 hours).

Unit III is comprised ot the writing and defending of the dissertation.  The student registers for 6 hours of dissertation research, usually one hour per semester.

Internship: No internship is required.

Language Examination: A language examination is required. Competence in all languages necessary to perform graduate-level scholarly research in the student's area of concentration must be demonstrated. Reading knowledge of a minimum of two foreign languages is required.

Culminating Events:

Preliminary Examination:

The purpose of the preliminary examination is to demonstrate critical and interpretive knowledge in specialized areas of religion. Students are examined in all areas of scholarship and research necessary for their area of study. They must have demonstrated reading knowledge of at least a second foreign language, the first having been examined in Unit I. They prepare a dissertation proposal and an outline of their areas of examinations. The preliminary examination is taken at the end of Unit II.

Members of the student's dissertation committee individually write examination questions. Sometimes faculty are included as "examiners" who will not serve on the dissertation committee. Shudents arrange with their Dissertation Committee when the exams will be taken. Normally exams are done within the Religion Dept., using a computer under supervised conditions. All examiners and members of the dissertation committee must agree that the student has demonstrated competence in the relevant areas of study, and that the student is capable of completing the dissertation proposed.

The written exams serve as the basis for the oral preliminary examination. All faculty for whom exams were written participate in the oral preliminary exam.

Dissertation Proposal:

The proposal demonstrates student's knowledge of the current research in the field on his/her particular problem of interest. Student should show methodological awareness, and state uniqueness of proposed research to ongoing body of scholarly literature.


The dissertation is to demonstrate original and significant contributions to the study of Religion. It should make use of primary texts, and demonstrate reading knowledge of appropriate original languages.

The Dissertation Examining Committee evaluates the student's dissertation and oral defense. This committee is comprised of the Doctoral Advising Committee and at least one additional Graduate Faculty member from outside the Religion Department. The Outside Examiner should be identified no later than the beginning of the semester in which the student will defend the dissertation. The Dissertation Examining Committee evaluates the student's written thesis in making an original scholarly contribution to the field, and the student's ability to defend and discuss orally the contents of the thesis.

If a student needs to change a member of a Committee, the new member must be approved by the Department's Graduate Studies Committee and registered with the Graduate Secretary and the Graduate School.

Students who are preparing to defend their dissertation should confirm a time and date with their Doctoral Advisory Committee and register with the Graduate Secretary at least 30 days before the defense is to occur. The Graduate Secretary will arrange the time, date, and room, and forward to the student the appropriate forms. After the Graduate Secretary has arranged the time, date, and room for the defense, the student must send to the Graduate School a completed "Announcement of Dissertation Defense" form at least 10 days before the defense. The Department will post flyers announcing the defense.

Program Contact Information:


Department Information:

Dept. of Religion
Anderson Hall, 6th Floor
1114 W. Berks Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122-6090


Department Contacts:


Janice Anthony-Lowe


Program Coordinator:


Graduate Chairperson:

Khalid Blankinship



Rebecca Alpert


About the Program

The Temple University Religion Department began shortly after the Supreme Court declared that the study of religion in state-supported public education was commended--and not to be confused with the practice of religion. Temple's department broke from the "seminary model" of traditional fields such as "church history" and "theology," and instead committed to the multi-traditional and multi-disciplinary study of global religious traditions. This gives our program an outstanding breadth and cross-cultural diversity. We have a long history of attracting students from all over the world, and our graduates now work in universities not just in North America, but also in places such as Germany, Japan, Korea, and Malaysia.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 7 years

Campus Location:


Most graduate courses continue to be offered during the day at the Main Campus. Increasingly, courses are offered at TUCC in the evening.

Full-Time/Part-Time Status:

Students are able to complete the degree program through classes offered before and after 4:30 p.m. Students are also able to complete the degree program on a part-time basis (8 credit hours or less per semester).

Department Information:

Dept. of Religion
Anderson Hall, 6th Floor
1114 W. Berks Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122-6090


Interdisciplinary Study:

Students are given a broad, interdisciplinary introduction to Religion in the first unit of study and take courses in other departments and institutions in the second unit of study.


Graduate student exchange agreements exist with the University of Pennsylvania's Department of Religious Studies, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, the Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. In addition, a coordinated M.A./Ph.D. program in Islamic-Christian Relations is conducted with Hartford Theological Seminary and a Graduate Certificate in Women's Studies is offered in cooperation with the Women's Studies Program.

Study Abroad:



Not applicable.


Not applicable.

Areas of Specialization:

The Department of Religion offers graduate programs leading to the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees. Students are introduced to the major methods of study in Religion, with stress on the critical analysis of religions by the methods of the humanities and the social sciences, including textual and historical analysis, philosophical and hermeneutical studies, and social and cultural analysis. The program thus ensures that a well-rounded course of study is achieved. The two basic tracks are: 1) Global Religious Traditions, with concentrations in Asian Philosophy/Religious Thought, Biblical Studies, and Islam; and 2) Religion and Society.

Job Placement:

We have strong evidence that the kind of education we offer has enabled our Ph.D.s to find jobs in a very competitive job market. For example, some of our graduates in the area of Bible were hired explicitly because they had received some instruction in Islam and could serve as a resource about that tradition. We are convinced that breadth and diversity is one of the strengths of our program, and we continue to offer coursework in global religious traditions and the roles of religions in society and culture so as to maintain this strength. Graduates of the Religion Department are employed in colleges and universities in North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. The most common positions are as faculty in religion studies, although some are administrators in educational governmental administrations and academic administrations.


Not applicable.

Non-Degree Student Policy:

Persons not enrolled for a degree program may register for courses as non-matriculated students. Transcripts of undergraduate work should indicate some background in religion studies and an academic average sufficient to maintain graduate work, normally 3.5 or above. Credit toward a subsequent degree program at Temple University is limited to 9 credits. Non-matriculated students may register for courses after an interview with the Director of Graduate Religion Studies, at which time they should present academic transcripts.

Financing Opportunities

Teaching Assistants teach sections independently in the Religion Department.

Updated 10.11.07