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Religious Studies

Doctor of Philosophy in Theology

In and For the Church in America

Our doctoral program offers a distinctive research focus on locating the work of theology in history and culture with attention to the United States. Theology is at the center, but students examine other disciplines and practices. Students take courses in history, theology, and cultural studies and conduct theological research in conjunction with research methods from the humanities and social sciences. The Ph.D. requires 90 credit hours, 30 of which may be at the master's level. 30 hours may be selected from doctoral courses, and 30 hours will be dissertation hours. Dissertations focus on theological questions that arise from ongoing life of the church in the United States.

In the second year of study, students teach undergraduate introductory religion classes and can serve as instructors of advanced courses in later years. This intensive teaching experience makes our students attractive to potential employers.

The doctoral program prepares students to teach in colleges and universities as well as those intending to work in research and policy positions in church administration. Students graduating from this program have gone on to teach in a variety of academic positions, and have published numerous books and articles.

Program Details

The mission of the Department of Religious Studies is to discover, explore and analyze religious experience in its various manifestations, emphasizing the Roman Catholic tradition in dialogue with the other Christian traditions and with the world religions.

Ph.D. Graduate Assistantships

Most students receive full funding for five years — full-tuition remission with a substantial assistantship stipend — which is awarded on a competitive basis.

Applicants to the theology program should submit the following information in addition to the online application:

  1. Official academic records of all previously attended colleges or universities must be submitted directly from the colleges or universities to the Office of Graduate Admission Processing. Hand-carried transcripts, official copies marked Issued to Student and unofficial copies are not acceptable.
  2. Three letters of recommendation that address the applicant's academic qualifications from professors or employers.
  3. A personal statement explaining the applicant’s goals for doctoral study in theology and how these goals fit with the approach, faculty and resources of UD’s doctoral program.
  4. An official GRE test score.
  5. A sample of academic writing, such as a research paper, published article, or excerpt from published book or thesis. (25 pages maximum)

Additional requirements apply for international students.

Applicants to the program will ordinarily have completed an M.A. in theology, religious studies or similar degree. Applicants with a B.A. in theology or religious studies may be admitted to the program but will be required to complete the prerequisites ordinarily required for the M.A. degree and to complete the core of the M.A. program as part of their doctoral work. Applicants should have a minimum of 3.5 grade-point average in graduate work.

  1. All doctoral applicants are considered for graduate assistantships in the Department of Religious Studies. No additional application materials are needed.
  2. All application materials are to submitted no later than February 1. When submitting your online application, please submit the application itself first and then submit all supplemental materials.
  3. Candidates for the doctoral program are admitted in the fall term only.


Graduate Programs in Religious Studies

300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 1530