We regret to announce that the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania will not accept applications for the PhD program during the 2020-21 admissions cycle. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the School of Arts of Sciences made the difficult decision to focus resources on supporting current students and ensure that we are in a position to fully support future cohorts of Penn graduate students. Therefore, we will pause bringing new students into the program for one year, with the expectation of welcoming a new cohort of graduate students in the fall of 2022.
The graduate program in Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania offers unique research opportunities for students to become first class scholars, teachers and expositors in the field. Our program is situated within one of the largest and finest research universities in the country, easily accessible to other research centers along the eastern seaboard. At the same time, the Department of Religious Studies provides students with a great deal of individual attention from faculty members, and the opportunity to interact with students from diverse subfields.
Within this context of extensive resources and personalized guidance, each student works with an advisor to design his or her own course of study. The structure of the PhD program currently consists of eight core full time faculty members, and a graduate group comprised of faculty across the University of Pennsylvania campus whose research and teaching significantly involves the study of religion and who actively participate in the training of graduate students in Religious Studies.
The typical doctoral program in Religious Studies is funded over a five-year period, over which students are expected to engage in coursework, complete teaching assistantships, and attend the graduate colloquium. Requirements for the program include a minimum of two languages, qualifying examinations, preliminary examinations (with an oral examination component), and an oral dissertation defense.
Graduate students in Religious Studies have the benefit of a wealth of resources unrivalled by any major research university. In addition to possessing one of the best research libraries in the world, 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 Pennsylvania, 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.