The graduate program in Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania offers unique opportunities for students to become first class researchers, teachers, and public scholars. Our program is situated in one of the largest and finest research universities in the country, with easy access to other research centers along the eastern seaboard. The program provides students with a great deal of individual attention from faculty members and the opportunity to interact with other students representing diverse subfields in the discipline.
Within this context of extensive resources and personalized guidance, each student works with an advisor to design their own course of study. The PhD program currently consists of eight core faculty members, and a graduate group comprised of experts across campus who actively participate in the training of graduate students in Religious Studies.
The doctoral program in Religious Studies is funded for five years, over which time students are expected to engage in coursework, complete teaching assistantships, and attend the graduate colloquium. Requirements include a minimum of two research languages, teaching-focused qualifying examinations, research-focused candidacy examinations (with both a written and an oral examination component), an original contribution to scholarly knowledge in the form of a written dissertation, and an oral dissertation defense.
Graduate students in Religious Studies benefit from a wealth of resources unrivalled by any major research university. In addition to possessing one of the best research libraries in the world (including the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books, and Manuscripts), Penn is also home to the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, the oldest institution of its kind in the United States. Within the city of Philadelphia, research centers include The Library Company of Philadelphia (an independent research library specializing in American history and culture from the 17th through the 19th centuries) and the Presbyterian Historical Society (the oldest denominational archives in the United States).