Frequently Asked Questions

Why does the Ph.D. program in Theological and Religious Studies normally require a master’s degree for admission?  Why doesn’t it admit candidates with only a bachelor’s degree?

The reason for requiring a master’s degree for admission into the doctoral program lies in the program’s requirement that students normally specialize in a primary and secondary religious tradition.  It is not feasible for students to acquire adequate training in two traditions during their time in coursework in our program, so we expect students to come to the program with substantial graduate-level training in their primary tradition.

Does this master’s degree have to be in a religious tradition?

No.  The ideal candidate will bring substantial competence in one religious tradition to the program.  However, students holding a range of degrees and from a variety of programs will be considered (including, for instance, a master’s degree in divinity, rabbinical studies, religious studies or theology).

What are the distinctive strengths of Georgetown’s Ph.D. program in Theological and Religious Studies?

The Theology Department comprises about thirty full-time faculty members with expertise in Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Daoism, as well as areas including systematic theology, philosophy of religion, religious ethics, comparative theology, Asian Christianity, and the history of Christian thought.  Our strengths as a department are augmented by a wealth of other resources at Georgetown, including the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, the Program for Jewish Civilization, the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, the Department of Arab and Islamic Studies, the Department of History, and the School of Foreign Service.

How long does it take to complete the degree?

Usually, the degree is completed within five years of full-time study, including two years of course work, six months to one year to prepare for comprehensive exams, and two years for the dissertation.  There is no part-time option.

What can I expect in terms of job opportunities after completion of the program?

We aim to prepare students for careers in college and university teaching and research, and our recent graduates have accepted academic appointments at such institutions as the Jesuit School of Theology-Berkeley, the Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies, Rockhurst University, Union Theological Seminary, and Valparaiso University.  Our graduates have also gone on to work in fields outside the academy, including government service, non-profit and religious organizations.

When can I expect to learn if I have been admitted to the program?

Normally the graduate admissions committee meets in February to review applications and make admissions decisions, and offers are made shortly thereafter.  Students have until April 15th to accept or refuse an offer of admission.