Religion PhD

Examine global religious traditions and texts through several high-level methods of study with the Doctor of Philosophy in Religion in Temple’s College of Liberal Arts. Perform critical analyses of major religious belief systems with emphasis on textual and historical research, philosophical and hermeneutical studies, and social and cultural analysis. Undergo in-depth research for the writing, presentation and defense of a dissertation that demonstrates original and significant contributions to the study of religion. 

Students in this doctoral program are guided toward academic areas of study based on their personal and professional interests. These areas of study include 

  • African diaspora;
  • African American religious traditions;
  • biblical studies; 
  • Buddhism; 
  • gender and religion; 
  • Islamic studies; 
  • Jewish studies; 
  • religions of China, India, Japan and Tibet; and
  • religion and social science.

Current Religion PhD faculty members have a broad range of specializations, giving the program both breadth and cross-cultural diversity. Their areas of expertise focus on Buddhist, African American, biblical, Islamic and Jewish studies with an emphasis on the comparison and intersection of their traditions. Learn more about faculty in the Religion Department.

The Religion PhD provides a competitive edge for tenure-track positions in national and international college and university religion departments. Graduates of this doctoral program also advance to top-tier positions in educational government entities and academic administrations.

Religion Department

Founded in 1961, Temple’s Department of Religion was one of the earliest religion departments established at a public or state-related university. The goal of the department and its programs is to provide students with a broad understanding of a wide variety of religious traditions and an awareness of how religion functions in communities around the world.

The department has strong relationships and affiliations with outside secular and religious institutions, including the 

  • Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, 
  • Lutheran Theological Seminary, 
  • Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia and 
  • University of Pennsylvania Department of Religious Studies.

Our Community

The College of Liberal Arts at Temple comprises many disciplines and research areas. Now more than ever, an interdisciplinary liberal arts education is invaluable for your future pursuits. It offers the opportunity to further push your drive to create real change in the world, here at Temple and beyond. In this graduate program, you’ll work closely with diverse faculty members who are highly esteemed in their field and with a curious, passionate community of peers. 

Program Format & Curriculum

Students have seven years to satisfy their requirements for the Religion PhD program, which can be completed on a full-time or part-time basis. Classes take place on Temple’s Main Campus, with some evening classes held at the Temple University Center City campus.

The 60-credit Religion PhD curriculum comprises core courses, advanced seminars, research courses, a language examination and a dissertation.

Core courses include the following. 

  • American Religious History
  • Foundations in Philosophy of Religion
  • Foundations in Religion and Psychology
  • Religious Experience: Body and Meditation
  • The History of Ethics

Learn more about Religion PhD program requirements.

Related Graduate Degrees

Tuition & Fees

In keeping with Temple’s commitment to access and affordability, this Doctor of Philosophy offers a competitive level of tuition with multiple opportunities for financial support.

Tuition rates are set annually by the university and are affected by multiple factors, including program degree level (undergraduate or graduate), course load (full- or part-time), in-state or out-of-state residency, and more. These tuition costs apply to the 2021–2022 academic year.

Pennsylvania resident: $966.00 per credit
Out-of-state: $1,329.00 per credit

Learn more about our tuition and fees.


Additional Program Information