The University of Chicago | Graduate Admissions

Divinity School - PhD

Division: Divinity School
Degree Type: PhD

Program Description

The Divinity School offers programs of study leading to the degrees of Master of Arts (A.M.), Master of Arts in Religious Studies (A.M.R.S.), Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), and Master of Divinity (M.Div.).

The Ph.D. program is a rigorous program of advanced study and research that prepares students for a lifetime of field-defining scholarship, intellectual leadership and teaching in the academic study of religion.


Application Method

Applications should be initiated through the online application.


Deadline for admissions and financial aid: December 15

Campus Visits

The Department does not require interviews for applicants, but you are welcome to visit campus, sit in on classes, and meet with current students and faculty. You are welcome to contact faculty with questions. To arrange a campus visit, contact the Office of the Dean of Students.

Degree Objective

The Divinity School offers a PhD. It also offers several master's degrees within the study of religion.

Application Requirements

  1. Online Application Form and Supplemental Form
  2. Non-refundable application fee
  3. References: 4 letters of reference should be included with your application.
  4. Graduate Record Examinations and TOEFL Scores: Graduate Record Exam scores (general test only) are required of all applicants, including those with previous MAs. For information on additional examinations required of some international applicants, see the Test Requirements page on the Divisional website. The University GRE code is1832.
  5. Statement of Academic Purpose: All applicants should carefully state their purpose in pursuing a graduate degree. This statement is given considerable weight in the final decision regarding admission.
  6. Writing Sample: All applicants should submit a sample of their scholarly writing, not to exceed 25 pages.
  7. Transcripts: Official transcripts from all post-secondary educational institutions should be submitted with your application.

Admissions Decisions

Admissions decisions are released in early March. No decisions will be given by phone or email.

Program Requirements

  1. 4 years of Scholastic Residence.
  2. Satisfactory completion (at least "B-" level) during the first year of three courses, one from each committee of the faculty.
  3. Reading Competence in French or German. It is possible to replace one language with another modern language deemed relevant to the student's research interests.
  4. Approval from the Committee on Degrees of a course of study petition outlining the student's anticipated program of study through the qualifying examination. Entering PhD students must submit this petition during their first year in residence.
  5. The Qualifying Exam, consisting of:
    1. The four four-hour written examinations specified in the student's petition and approved by the Committee on Degrees
    2. A research paper due during the first week of the quarter in which the student takes the qualifying examination.
    3. A concluding oral examination focused on the research paper and the written examinations.
  6. The completion of teaching assignments equivalent to a total of five teaching points, consistent with the established point system for various levels of teaching appointments currently in effect. Students ordinarily will begin teaching in the third year.
  7. The completion of an acceptable dissertation approved by the student's established reading committee. The dissertation shall be an original contribution to scholarship in the area of religious inquiry.
  8. The student should complete the qualifying examinations and submit the dissertation proposal by the end of the fourth year of residence. The dissertation should be completed within five calendar years of approval of the proposal.

Costs & Financial Aid

Quarterly Tuition Fee: Scholastic Residence: $13,699; Advanced Residence, $5,402

PhD students are eligible for financial aid for five years (full tuition, stipend, health insurance, two summer stipends) in addition to the standard financial aid award provided for students in Advanced Residence.