General Information

  • Required Coursework: The department of Religious Studies requires the successful completion of a minimum of 12 graduate level courses (usually completed in the first 2 years) though many students take more either because their sub-field has additional requirements, or because of their own interests.  No more than one course may be graded on a SAT/UNSAT basis.

You may petition with this form to take an undergraduate class as a graduate level course if the instructor agrees and creates additional assignments to bring the work load to the level expected of a graduate course (e.g., additional readings, a longer final assignment, etc.)  Note that some undergraduate language course count for graduate credit. Check with your ADGS or the DGS if you are unsure.

  • Advising: The department’s advising model mitigates against reliance on a single adviser and encourages students to take classes and examinations with multiple faculty. Students are not assigned a dissertation adviser upon admission and are expected to take courses with various faculty members. Prior to advancing to candidacy (years 1-3), the student’s adviser is the ADGS of the student’s sub-field and signs the student’s schedule.  The ADGS will meet with the student and relevant faculty at the beginning and end of each academic year to discuss course selection, exams, and plans for the dissertation prospectus.  The dissertation adviser is finalized by the student only at the time of the dissertation prospectus colloquium.  After the student advances to candidacy the dissertation adviser is listed as the primary advisor for administrative purposes.
  • Covid-19 policy. In the Spring 2020 semester, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Graduate School adopted a policy allowing extensions of full funding for up to 12 months for students in years 1-6, consistent with general Graduate School policies and definitions of full-time student status. Departments were free to determine how they would implement this policy within the principles and parameters provided by the Graduate School. 
    • The Department of Religious Studies decided to endorse fully funded extensions for all full-time graduate students in good standing who were in years 1-6 in the spring of 2020 and whose dissertations were not filed at that time or, if filed, not withdrawn. “Good standing” simply means that students are progressing towards the planned completion of their degree (a status that is confirmed by the DGS each year of a student’s program) and are expected to file their dissertation by the end of the extended semester or year of support. 
    • Students need not decide immediately whether they will opt for additional funding; as specified by the Graduate School, these extensions will be made official during a student’s sixth year. The records of all students who meet these criteria have been tagged in order to preserve an institutional memory of this commitment. 

Notwithstanding the guaranteed availability of this extension as detailed above, the Department will continue to work with all current RLST doctoral students to help them complete their dissertations in a timely fashion, meeting their original timelines for completion of their doctoral degrees where possible and appropriate.