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Religious Studies

The Department of Religious Studies maintains exceptional strength in the study of religion in antiquity, Asian religions, modern religious thought and the theoretical study of religion.

The graduate program in Religious Studies at Brown is one of the finest in the nation. From among a large pool of highly qualified applicants, the department admits four to six doctoral students a year. Current graduate students have distinguished themselves by publishing, presenting papers at international conferences, and earning recognition and support from prestigious external funding organizations. Department's graduates have an excellent placement record, teaching in such institutions as Harvard, Stanford, Indiana University, University of California, Brooklyn College, Reed College, Haverford, Rice University, University of Washington - St. Louis, and University of Wisconsin (Madison).

We offer Ph.D. studies in four areas:

  • Asian Religious Traditions (ART) Islam
  • Society and Culture (ISC)
  • Religion and Critical Thought (RCT)
  • Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean (RAM) (including Ancient Judaism, early Christianity, early Islam, and numerous others)

Additional Resources

The department maintains close working relationships with other Brown departments. Students often supplement their work with courses in history, anthropology, classics, philosophy, political science, sociology, Judaic studies, East Asian studies, art history, comparative literature, and the Institute for Archeology and the Ancient World. Through the University exchange program students may also take courses at other local universities. A monthly seminar, Culture and Religion in the Ancient Mediterranean, brings together students and faculty from across the University.

Admission Requirements

  • Writing Sample: Required (of 25 pages or less). Some tracks also require previous language study.
  • GRE General: Not required
  • GRE Subject: Not required

Application Deadline: January 5

Ph.D. Completion Requirements

All areas require three years (six semesters) of full–time study beyond the baccalaureate degree, including RS200; reading competence of at least two scholarly languages (typically French and German, depending on the track) and relevant other languages; preliminary examination; dissertation; oral defense; one year of teaching experience. Tracks also have additional specific requirements: for details, see the Religious Studies website and the Graduate Handbook.

Department of Religious Studies
Brown University
Box 1927
[email protected]

Visit the Department of Religious Studies


Department Chair: Mark Cladis

Director of Graduate Studies: Stephen Bush