Applying to the Graduate Program

Important Update: 
The department of Religious Studies is currently not accepting graduate applications. Stand by for further updates or contact the department chair Signe Cohen ( or interim director of graduate studies Nate Hofer ( for more information. 
Application Overview
Applications are welcome from candidates who will have completed an Undergraduate degree before the start of their first enrolled semester. An application packet consists of a Statement of Purpose, transcripts, GRE scores, three letters of recommendation and an academic writing sample. Applications must be submitted through the Office of Graduate Studies
Deadlines for application materials are October 15th and February 1st annually. Application materials for both Spring and Fall admission will be considered on a rolling basis. However, the application deadline for guarunteed consideration for funding opportunities is February 1st. Notification of admission and awards will be made no later than April 1. Students applying for January admission should be advised that teaching assistantships are not usually available mid-year. All application materials must be recieved at least six weeks before a student intends to enroll in the program. Make sure to contact the Director of Graduate Studies if you are interested in applying after these deadlines.  If you have any questions about the application process or the online application portal please contact the Director of Graduate Studies.
Application Checklist

To complete your application you will need to create an account and upload the following information to the Graduate Studies admission portal:

  • A Statement of Purpose (1-2 pages) that clearly states why you are applying to pursue graduate work in Religious Studies. This statement could describe your professional goals, research interests, as well as any previous coursework or experiences that may have shaped your interest in the academic study of religion. If you are uncertain about this genre of academic writing, you may want to consult this useful handout from the Duke University Thompson Writing Center on writing Pesronal Statements for Humanities graduate programs
  • unofficial transcripts from undergraduate institution.
  • GRE scores
  • The names and contact information of three individuals who can write strong recommendation letters addressing your preparation to begin a graduate degree in Religious Studies  (Note that you must name three recommenders online to complete your application.Their letters may be submitted either online or via email)
  • A writing sample. This is often, but not exclusively, a paper written for an undergraduate course on a topic related to the study of religion that demonstrates your ability to succeed in a graduate program. It might show that you can sustain an argument, comprehend the methods and theories of religious studies, and/or engage in critical thinking and writing. This sample may not exceed 35 pages in length, including bibliography.
  • International students may need to prepare additional application materials. They should contact the Office for International Admissions. Students whose native language is not English should achieve a score of 550 or more on the paper-based TOEFL exam, 213 or more on the computer-based TOEFL exam, or 79 or more on the internet-based TOEFL exam for admission to the program. International students must, like domestic students, also take the GRE test.



Director of Graduate Studies:

Dr. Nate Hofer (interim for Fall 2018)