Programs by Campus


Religious Studies
College of Arts and Sciences

Departmental E-mail: religion [at] indiana [dot] edu

Departmental URL:

(Please note that when conferring University Graduate School degrees, minors, certificates, and sub-plans, The University Graduate School’s staff use those requirements contained only in The University Graduate School Bulletin. Requirements may or may not be reflected identically in departmental URLs.)



Degrees Offered

Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy

Special Departmental Requirements

(See also general University Graduate School requirements.)

Graduate Record Examination General Test. In addition, Ph.D. applicants must submit a writing sample. Specific deadlines and expectations are spelled out in the Student Guide, available from the department office and on the department’s Web site.

Master of Arts Degree


B (3.0) average; B or higher for each course.

Course Requirements

A total of 30 credit hours, including R665, at least 2 other 600- or 700-level seminars. No credit hours older than five years can count.

M.A. students must also complete an approved revision of a research paper, between 20-30 pages in length (not counting endnotes). The original paper will normally develop out of one of your 600-level (or 700-level) seminars but may grow out of another rsearch project.

Language Work

All M.A. students must demonstrate reading proficiency in one of the two modern languages of scholarship required for the Ph.D. (French or German). Another modern language may be substituted with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies and the student's advisors. Students may demonstrate proficiency in French, German, or Spanish by any of the three methods normally sanctioned by the University Graduate School. They may demonstrate proficiency in other languages by successful completion of course work through the intermediate level or by departmental examination.

Doctor of Philosophy Degree

Admission Requirements

(1) Completion of an M.A. degree in the study of religion at Indiana University or another recognized institution, (2) a superior record in religious studies, (3) proficiency in one of the required languages, and (4) review and approval by a field committee consisting of faculty in the student’s major area of interest.


No grades below B (3.0) will be counted toward this degree.

Fields of Specialization

A doctoral student specializes in one of the fields of study that have recognized faculty advisory committees (e.g., region, tradition, or methodological approach). Each field has its own specific requirements, including required courses, language skills, and qualifying examination structures and bibliographies, which are determined by the faculty in that field. For the cur­rently available fields of study, their faculty members, and their requirements, see the department’s Web site and the Guide for Graduate Students in Religious Studies, which is available from the department office. With the approval of the department’s graduate studies committee, a student may combine two fields or declare a special field of study and form an ad-hoc advisory committee for it.

Course and Research Requirements

Doctoral students must earn 90 hours of graduate credit, no more than 30 of which may be transferred from other institu­tions. The department allows up to 30 hours of M.A. credit toward the doctorate, which means that doctoral students must earn 60 hours of credit beyond the M.A. Up to 30 of the total 90 credit hours may be designated as thesis hours (R799).

All doctoral students, regardless of field of specialization, are required to take R665 if they did not do so during an M.A. at Indiana University. All students must take a second thematic, methodological, or cross-cultural seminar in the department; the director of graduate studies will identify in advance courses that satisfy this requirement. Additional course requirements beyond the M.A. degree include 12 credit hours at the 700 level; R790 (a one-credit hour course devoted to the develop­ment of teaching skills); and an outside minor (normally 12 credit hours).

Doctoral students are required to produce two revised research papers prior to taking the qualifying examination. These papers will normally develop out of 700-level seminars, although they may grow out of other research projects as well. Papers should be modeled on a submission to a refereed journal in the student’s field of study and should follow that journal’s requirements for length and documentation (e.g., Chicago Manual of Style, Turabian, MLA, SBL Handbook of Style). A faculty member must approve each research paper for the student’s file, but a stu­dent may not secure approval for both papers from the same faculty member. Length is normally 20–30 pages, exclusive of endnotes. An approved research paper may not be a language translation, a bibliographical essay, a text edition, or a set of field notes. Annotated translations may be accepted with the approval of the graduate studies committee.

Language Work

All candidates will be required to show proficiency in two modern languages of scholarship (French and German) and any necessary primary source languages required by their field. An­other modern language may be substituted for French or Ger­man with the approval of the director of graduate studies and the student’s advisors. Proficiency in primary source languages is demonstrated through methods determined by the faculty in the student’s field.

Qualifying Examinations

The faculty advisory committee in the student’s field sets and supervises the qualifying examination after the student has completed all residency requirements. The exam consists of a total of 12 hours of written exams, which are divided into 3 or more parts, followed by an oral exam, all taken within a 3-week period. The exam is initially taken in its entirety, but it may be retaken once as a whole or in part at the discretion of the faculty committee.

Termination of Enrollment in the Doctoral Program

If a doctoral student falls below a 3.0 (B) grade point average, fails either the written or oral parts of the qualifying examina­tion two times, or otherwise fails to make satisfactory progress toward the degree, the director of graduate studies, in consul­tation with the student’s advisory committee, can initiate steps to terminate the student’s enrollment in the program.

Final Examination

Oral defense of dissertation.

Ph.D. Minor in Religious Studies

Students electing the study of religion as an outside minor in a doctoral program will be required to complete 12 credit hours of course work. A maximum of 6 credit hours may be transferred from other institutions or taken from cross-listed courses. At least 6 credit hours are to be taken in the depart­ment.

Academic Bulletins

PDF Version

Click here for the PDF version.