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. Students are expected to have the equivalent of a philosophy major in courses before entering the program. The purpose of Ph.D. course work is to solidify and deepen knowledge of the philosophy of religion, history of philosophy, and theology or the religious thought of a tradition other than Christianity, as a foundation for taking the qualifying examinations and doing dissertation work. Students will be expected to have some familiarity with both analytic and continental traditions, although they may emphasize one more than the other. In addition to attending regular courses offered by the Department of Religious Studies, the Department of Philosophy, and other departments, students may remedy gaps in knowledge through directed readings or by auditing appropriate courses.
The teaching interests of Faculty in this field encompass classical Greek and Late Antique philosophy, medieval philosophies and philosophical theologies (including especially Anselm, Aquinas and Scotus), the philosophy of religion in the modern period (including Descartes, Hume and Kant), Hegel and nineteenth century responses to Hegelianism whether theistic (as in Kierkegaard), or atheistic (as in Feuerbach, Marx and Nietzsche), Wittgenstein and contemporary Anglo-American analytic philosophy of religion, pragmatism, ‘post-modernism’, and method and theory of the study of religion. Courses are offered which reflect these interests.