Course Work and Advising

Students are required to take twelve courses, and this is normally done during the first two years of study. A minimum quality requirement, set by the Graduate School, must be met. This stipulates that a student must earn a grade of Honors in two graduate courses.

Although students should seek to take courses with the principal teaching faculty in this field, it is expected that students will explore other subfields within the Department of Religious Studies and other departments within the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. Students should imagine that at least half of their course work will be completed in courses besides those taught by American Religious History teaching faculty, including courses from other units, including other schools at the university.

Graduate seminars at Yale are designated either as research or reading seminars. Students are encouraged to use their research seminars to develop original contributions to scholarship, and to use their reading seminars to foster their bibliographic acumen. Prior to taking their qualifying exams, students will prepare one research article for potential publication in a scholarly journal, and they will also prepare one review essay on recent scholarship that bears directly on their dissertation area. (The former is usually begun in a research seminar; the latter is the standard final assignment of most reading seminars.) The review essay might be a useful tool to begin the development of a qualifying exam list.

Faculty in American Religious History commit to a collaborative advising model. When doctoral students arrive at Yale, they do not have a designated adviser. At the beginning of their first year, the Teaching Group in American Religious History will meet with incoming students to discuss curricular offerings and the student’s goals for their year. At the end of their first and second year, students will meet with that Teaching Group, as well as any other faculty with whom they have developed mentoring relationships. These end-of-year meetings are opportunities for students to reflect with faculty about their experiences and their emerging research interests.