Programs by Campus


Religious Studies

College of Arts and Sciences

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(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.)



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 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 research 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 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, (exceptional students with a BA may be admitted to a combined MA/PhD) (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

Doctoral students in Religious Studies follow individualized programs of study. Beyond completing the courses required of all PhD students, each student’s program of study is determined in close consultation with faculty advisors in their subfields of specialization. These programs of study will include specific courses, relevant language training, and qualifying exam structures and bibliographies. The department website lists programs of study frequently undertaken, and reflects current departmental strengths. The fields of study listed are intended to provide general guidance; in practice, each PhD student will follow a program of study tailored to his/her research interests.

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. In addition to R665, all students must take at least one additional 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 three courses at the 700 level (each course must be at least 3 credit hours); R790 (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 stu-dent 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. Other modern languages 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 place the student on academic probation or 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

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