Offered in the Theological School’s Graduate Division of Religion, the Doctor of Philosophy degree supports graduate research in such fields as American religious history, biblical studies, Christianity in late antiquity, theology and philosophy, Christian ethics, and the anthropology, psychology and sociology of religion.

Learn more about what makes the GDR unique.

General Requirements

Twelve courses (36 credits) are required for the Ph.D. degree, with a GPA of at least 3.4 (3.1 for students who entered prior to Fall 2009). Up to one year of course credit may be given for previous work at graduate level in a student’s field, on recommendation by the relevant area faculty and approval by the Committee on Academic Standing. The normal course load for full-time study is three courses per semester. Further requirements for the Ph.D. include proficiency in either one or two modern languages of scholarship, determined by examination, comprehensive examinations, and a dissertation and oral defense. All requirements for the Ph.D. degree must be completed within a period of seven years.

Biblical and Early Christianity

Biblical Studies & Early Christianity

Fields of Study

  • Hebrew Bible
  • New Testament and Early Christianity
  • Transdisciplinary Biblical Studies  (E.g., Bible and Ethics, Bible and Homiletics, etc.)

The Biblical Studies programs seek to cultivate a complex and rigorous interdisciplinarity characterized by methodological multiplicity and theoretical eclecticism. Each program allows for a variety of critical approaches, both textual and contextual. The Hebrew Bible program focuses on the literature of the Hebrew Bible, its complex history of development, and its social, political, and religious attitudes and assumptions. The program in New Testament and Early Christianity investigates the literary and rhetorical aspects of ancient Christian texts in diverse contexts, including the social and cultural formations of early Christianity in the ancient Mediterranean world, from the first to the fourth century. Both programs seek to engage with recent theoretical and methodological developments, such as literary theory and criticism; sociological approaches; feminist, masculinity, and queer studies; contextual, anticolonial, and postcolonial studies; cultural history and cultural studies; and studies in race and ethnicity.

Students interested in developing a transdisciplinary specialization such as Bible and Ethics or Bible and Homiletics (or another combination with another GDR Area) should indicate their interest, preparation, and goals in their application to the program.

Language Requirements

Demonstrated competence at the appropriate level in the relevant ancient languages is a prerequisite for admission into the Biblical Studies and Early Christianity M.A. and Ph.D. programs. Proficiency in these languages is usually demonstrated by evidence of at least two semesters of course work per language at a minimum of 3.0 grade level.

Modern language requirements for these programs are as follows:

German and one other modern language of biblical scholarship (other than English), such as French, Dutch, Spanish, Italian, Swedish, or modern Hebrew, all of which are recognized without petition.

If another language is deemed relevant to the student’s program, the student may petition for a substitution, which requires the recommendation of the student’s area and the approval of the Committee on Academic Standing. This approval is contingent upon the availability of appropriate testing and grading resources.

Historical

Historical Studies

Fields of Study

  • U.S./American Christianity in Global Perspective
  • Wesleyan/Methodist Studies Concentration available

Historical Studies supports doctoral work in U.S./American Christianity in its global context that incorporates the interdisciplinary approaches that are hallmarks of the GDR. The U.S./American Christianity focus explores critical issues such as race, gender, ecology, immigration, and religious experience in the contexts of the United States from the 19th century to the recent past. The course of study draws on GDR faculty from sociology and ethics, as well as from the History and Culture program of the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies, to deepen its historical analysis of various American religious cultures.  The presence on campus of the United Methodist Archive and History Center and the Florence Bell Fund allows students to work closely on primary source materials and with prominent scholars and researchers from around the world.  PLEASE NOTE THAT HISTORICAL STUDIES WILL NOT BE ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR THE 2014-2015 ACADEMIC YEAR.

Language Requirements

In Historical Studies, language requirements are necessarily tailored to the period and/or context of study. Students of late antiquity are required to demonstrate reading competence in two scholarly languages other than English (at least one of which is typically German, French, or Italian) and two ancient languages (typically Latin and Greek).  Students of American religion and culture are required to demonstrate reading competence in one language other than English (typically Spanish, German, or French).

Students in any specialty may pursue initial exams in German or French without petition; however, before seeking qualification for a second language, or if desiring qualification in another language initially, a petition must be submitted to the area.

Proficiency in ancient languages is usually demonstrated by evidence of at least two semesters of course work at a minimum of 3.0 grade level.

Religion and Society

Religion & Society

Fields of Study

  • Psychology and Religion
  • Sociology of Religion
  • Christian Social Ethics

The role of religion in relation to both structures of oppression and struggles of liberation constitutes the main focus of our work in Religion and Society. We study the role of religion in the personal, socio-political, spiritual, and ecological dimensions of those structure and struggles. We also include the intersection of religion and the human sciences. The strengths of this program are found in the variety of graduate students it gathers from every continent on the globe as well as the United States, who come from differing racial/ethnic/sexual groups, together with the diversity of interests, involvements, and expertise of its faculty. The faculty is diverse in academic training, coming from the fields of psychology, sociology, theology, and Christian ethics. Yet they share a focus on issues of race/ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality. They are united in their belief that theory should respond to human experience and that academic scholarship must address contemporary issues.

Language Requirements

Two of the following: French, German, Portuguese, or Spanish. International students whose native language is other than English may use English as their second research language. They must, however, pass French, German, Portuguese, or Spanish before they take their second year of classes.

If another language is deemed relevant to the student’s program, the student may petition for a substitution, which requires the recommendation of the student’s area and the approval of the Committee on Academic Standing. This approval is contingent upon the availability of appropriate testing and grading resources.

Theological and Philosophical

Theological & Philosophical Studies

Fields of Study

  • Theological Studies
  • Philosophical Studies

The area of Theological and Philosophical Studies fosters a transdisciplinary community of inquiry among students, with emphases on constructive, philosophical, systematic, comparative and global approaches to theological themes. These emphases entail strong intersections with sexuality and gender studies, ecology, mysticism, post-/decolonial and empire studies, and the philosophical traditions of pragmatism, naturalism, process, and poststructuralism. Our faculty bring their distinct commitments and approaches to the fields of theology and philosophy, and their various sites of interconnection, to a common table of open, dialogical discourse. Students are invited participants in this collegial and rigorous table talk, learning not only concrete content specific to particular fields of interest, but also appreciation for and negotiation of the complexities and ambiguities of those fields as they take shape within concrete contexts marked by interdisciplinary and interreligious conversation.

Language Requirements

French, German or Spanish.

If another language is deemed relevant to the student’s program, the student may petition for a substitution, which requires the recommendation of the student’s area and the approval of the Committee on Academic Standing. This approval is contingent upon the availability of appropriate testing and grading resources.

Interdisciplinary Study

An uncommon flexibility between disciplines characterizes much of the scholarly work undertaken in the Graduate Division of Religion.  It offers students the interdisciplinary opportunity to take courses and exams outside of a stated primary field of interest, allowing connection to a broader intellectual context, while providing necessary grounding in their specific discipline.

Students whose research interests cross disciplines will find a religion faculty at Drew that supports work in gender studies, Africana studies, Latino/a studies, ecology, postcolonialism, poststructuralism, cultural studies, and sex and sexuality. A concentration in women’s studies is available in all programs. The committed movement toward an ever more versatile and open curricular structure is reflected in seminars and colloquia frequently involving students and faculty from several different fields. The GDR also enjoys close collaborations with other humanities programs in Drew’s Caspersen School of Graduate Studies.

Women Gender Sexuality

Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies Concentration

The Graduate Division of Religion offers a concentration in Women’s and Gender Studies, which may be pursued in conjunction with study in any of the Division’s Areas of Study.

Requirements for the Concentration include:

  1. The Women’s Studies Interdisciplinary Seminar (WMST 712), offered every other Fall;
  2. At least three additional courses in which the student’s work focused centrally on women, gender, sexuality, or feminist analysis.
  3. One comprehensive examination that focuses on women, gender, or feminist analysis (this exam would ordinarily correspond with the interdisciplinary comprehensive examination).

Once these requirements have been met, complete the  Women’s & Gender Studies Form and Women’s & Gender Studies Coursework Verification Card, submitting them to the GDR Administrative Office.

Wesleyan and Methodist Studies

Wesleyan and Methodist Studies Concentration

The Graduate Division of Religion offers a concentration in Wesleyan and Methodist Studies, which may be pursued in conjunction with study in any of the Division’s Areas.

Requirements for the Concentration include:

  1. The Wesleyan and Methodist Studies Interdisciplinary Seminar, offered every other year, or as needed;
  2. At least three additional courses in which the student’s work focuses centrally on some topic relevant to Wesleyan and Methodist Studies (where appropriate, resource persons from the Methodist Archives and/or second readers for student papers may be appointed); and
  3. One comprehensive examination that focuses on a topic directly relevant to Wesleyan and Methodist Studies.

Once these requirements have been met, complete the Wesleyan and Methodist Studies From and Wesleyan and Methodist Studies Verification Card, submitting them to the GDR Administrative Office.