Guidelines and Policies
Departmental Policies and Procedures
The information in the Guidelines supplements the general regulations
of the Graduate School as well as the requirements of the M.A. and Ph.D.
programs in Religion printed in The Bulletin
of Vanderbilt University Graduate School or posted in the catalog
on the Graduate School website. All students and faculty members are expected
to familiarize themselves thoroughly with these regulations. Detailed
descriptions of the policies and procedures for degrees in the several
major Program Areas of the Graduate Department of Religion are presented
in separate documents.
The Faculty of the Graduate Department of Religion is comprised of the
members of the Divinity School and Department of Religious Studies faculties
who are engaged in graduate instruction and research in the areas of Ethics
and Society, Hebrew Bible, Historical Studies, History and Critical Theories
of Religion, Homiletics and Liturgics, Jewish Studies, New Testament,
Religion, Psychology, and Culture, and Theological Studies. In addition, designated
faculty members of other schools or departments of the University who
pursue scholarly interests in any of the programs of study may be invited
to become members of the Graduate Department of Religion with full voting
rights. Certain individuals with teaching or administrative responsibilities
related to the Graduate Department of Religion can also be approved by
the Faculty for Associate or Ex Officio membership, both of which categories
carry the right of voice but not vote in meetings of the Faculty. Such
members are authorized to serve as members of dissertation committees
but not as first readers. The Faculty of the Graduate Department of Religion
has a role in all appointments affecting its membership, and the Chair
of the Department is to provide to the Dean of the Divinity School a letter
addressing a candidate’s potential contribution to the graduate
program and recommending an appropriate action regarding appointment to
the Graduate Department of Religion.
2. DEPARTMENT CHAIR AND ASSOCIATE DEAN FOR GRADUATE EDUCATION AND RESEARCH
The Chair is appointed by the Dean of the Divinity School. The appointment
is for a term of three years, such term being renewable only once. The
Chair has general responsibility for the graduate program in religion.
The Associate Dean for Graduate Education and Research is appointed by the Dean of
the Divinity School in consultation with the Department Chair. The appointment
is for a term determined by the Dean. The Associate Dean’s responsibilities
for the Department include course scheduling, student advising, appointment
of Teaching Fellows, and other matters negotiated with the Chair and the
Dean. The Associate Dean serves on behalf of the Department Chair in the
3. PROGRAM AREAS AND DIRECTORS OF STUDY
Ph.D. and M.A. programs are normally available in the following areas
of major concentration: Ethics and Society, Hebrew Bible, Historical Studies,
History and Critical Theories of Religion, Homiletics and Liturgics, Jewish
Studies (M.A. only), New Testament, Religion, Psychology, and Culture, and Theological
Studies. For a description of the various types of M.A. programs in which
a student may enroll (Specialty, General, Cross-Disciplinary, as well
as the Joint J.D.-M.A. program), see the current Catalog.
General responsibility for the specific functioning of each of the program
areas is vested in the Area Director of Studies. Each Area Director is
appointed by the Chair for a term of one year, upon recommendation by
members of the faculty in the respective area. The appointment is renewable
for three consecutive years.
4. GRADUATE POLICY AND ADMISSIONS COMMITTEE
The Graduate Policy and Admissions Committee functions as the executive
committee of the Faculty, recommending new policy or changes in existing
policies to the Faculty, serving as the admissions and scholarships committee
of the Department, and deciding on student petitions regarding such matters
as extensions and incompletes. It is comprised of the Chair, the Associate
Dean, the Area Directors of Study, and two duly elected Graduate Department
of Religion Student Representatives. The Student Representatives have
voice and vote on matters of policy, including policies relating to admissions
and financial aid; but they are not to be involved in decisions on individual
students, including their admission and financial aid awards.
5. FACULTY MEETINGS
Stated meetings of the Graduate Department of Religion Faculty are held
regularly during the academic year. Special meetings may be called by
the Chair, by the Graduate Policy and Admissions Committee, or by six
Faculty members upon petition. Business is conducted according to Robert’s
Rules of Order. A quorum is constituted by one-third of the membership,
not counting members on leave of absence.
The two Graduate Department of Religion Student Representatives, in addition
to being members of the Graduate Policy and Admissions Committee (Section
4), attend—with voice but not vote—the portion of Faculty
meetings when policy and other regular business matters are considered.
In addition, when any student elects to be present for the Faculty discussion
of her or his own dissertation proposal, this portion of the meeting is
open to graduate student observers (without voice or vote), subject to
the concurrence of the candidate. Faculty action on any proposal is taken
in a closed session at the end of the open discussion. When students elect
not to be present for the discussion of their own proposals, this discussion
and the ensuing action take place during closed session.
6. GRADUATE DEPARTMENT OF RELIGION STUDENT ASSOCIATION
The Graduate Department of Religion Student Association is an elected
body representing all students in the Graduate Department of Religion.
In addition to any activities it organizes or promotes for the benefit
of the graduate students, its major responsibility is to serve as a means
by which students may participate in the formulation and interpretation
of the policies and programs of the Graduate Department of Religion. It
has the authority to direct requests and/or suggestions to the Chair of
the Department, and to respond to communications from that office. Two
Graduate Department of Religion Student Representatives are elected annually
to represent the interests of graduate students at the meetings of the
Departmental Faculty and the Graduate Policy and Admissions Committee.
Each student has a faculty adviser who is responsible for guiding the
student’s progress in his or her program of studies. For entering
Ph.D. and M.A. students, this adviser is normally the Area Director of
Studies; for returning students, the adviser is the Area Director of Studies
or another member of the area faculty. General and Cross-Disciplinary
M.A. students are normally advised by the Chair of the Department or the
Associate Dean. All recommendations concerning student programs that involve
exceptions to current policy should begin with the adviser. The adviser
will direct requests to the Chair, and the Chair will relay the request,
if necessary and as appropriate, to the Graduate Policy and Admissions
Committee, the Faculty, or the Dean of the Divinity School for action.
It is appropriate that faculty members in each area meet with its students
at least once a year for purposes of consulting on such matters as curricular
planning and guidelines for the program of study in the area. More frequent
meetings are desirable. Student representatives may, upon request, serve
as a liaison between students and faculty in the area.
At the end of each academic year, the department will review the progress of each student. The student’s advisor will lead the review process, in consultation with the faculty of the student’s area and the GDR office. The review will cover all areas of each student’s progress, including grades, incompletes, language requirements, and overall research plan. If the review concludes that the student is not making progress in these areas, the department will place the student on probation for one semester. At the end of the probationary semester, the department will conduct a follow-up review of the student. If the student’s progress is still unsatisfactory, the department will have the option of dismissing the student from the University. PhD students who receive unsatisfactory reviews will have the option of pursuing a terminal MA according to departmental guidelines. (Please note that the GDR areas may have more specific policies on evaluating student progress, so students should consult their area statements for additional information.)
8. PH.D. COMMITTEE
When a student expresses his or her intent in writing to take the Qualifying
Examinations, the Dean of the Divinity School, in consultation with the
Department Chair, will appoint the student’s Ph.D. Committee. The
Committee must be composed of a minimum of four members, of whom one must
represent either a Departmental area other than the student’s major or another Department in the Graduate School. At least four members of
the Committee must be members of the Graduate Faculty of the Graduate
School, and the Dean of the Divinity School can, at the request of the
Department Chair, appoint non-members to the Committee. If the director
of the dissertation is not currently an active member of the Graduate
Faculty, a co-director who is an active member must be named. The Ph.D.
Committee has responsibility for: (a) administering, with the Program
Areas, the Qualifying Examinations in accord with Departmental procedures
and guidelines; (b) guiding the development and preparation of the dissertation;
and (c) administering the final oral examination. A first and second reader
will be designated by the Dean of the Divinity School upon recommendation
of the Department Chair, and the first reader serves as the chair of the
Ph.D. Committee. All changes to a Ph.D. Committee after it has been appointed
must be made in writing, with copies to the student’s file and to
all members of the committee (old and new); the changes are not final
until approved by the Dean of the Divinity School.
Updated worksheets, recording progress toward the completion of degree
requirements, will be maintained for each student in the program by advisers
and the Departmental Administrative Assistant.
10. ORIENTATION WORK
Students who enter the Graduate Department of Religion may be required
to take additional courses to orient them to the field before they proceed
to their major and minor concentrations. The number of courses taken for
this purpose will vary with the individual student’s background
and with the program of study. Decisions concerning orientation requirements
are made by the Area Directors in consultation with the respective faculty
11. TRANSFER CREDIT
By the end of a Ph.D. student’s third semester in residence or an
M.A. student’s first semester in residence, the adviser will make
any appropriate recommendations for transfer credit. Advisers should submit
their recommendations to the Chair by completing a Transfer Credit worksheet,
noting all courses and the number of desired transfer credit hours to
be requested. Prior work must be at the post-baccalaureate level and have
a grade of “B” or better to be eligible for transfer credit.
The general guidelines governing the granting of transfer credit will
be administered by the adviser.
The general pattern for a student in the Ph.D. program is to grant up
to 24 credit hours for pertinent work taken toward an M.Div., M.T.S.,
M.A., or another Ph.D. degree (or their equivalent) at an accredited graduate
or theological school. Additional hours of transfer credit may be granted
in cases where students have done further graduate work beyond these degrees
at an accredited graduate or theological school; in such cases, the maximum
amount of transfer credit will normally not exceed 12 semester hours beyond
the initial 24. In no case does transfer credit waive the residence requirement
for the Ph.D. degree at Vanderbilt: 24 semester hours of formal course
work, excluding reading courses.
In the case of the M.A. program, it is possible for a student to receive
up to 6 hours of transfer credit for pertinent graduate work done at another
accredited graduate or theological school.
12. MINOR AREA
All Ph.D. students will take a minimum of 12 hours of course work, normally
at Vanderbilt, in a minor area or areas. The minor can be in another area
of the Graduate Department of Religion or in another Department of the
University, or it can be an interdisciplinary minor defined by a problem
or theme proposed by the student. In the Religion, Psychology, and Culture area
this requirement is satisfied by two minors. Competence in the minor area
will be tested by a Qualifying Examination or paper, as negotiated with
the minor area adviser. A minor in interdisciplinary studies may, under
appropriate circumstances and with the approval of the adviser, include
some courses related to a student’s major area of studies. The Minor
Area Worksheet should be completed by the adviser and kept in the student’s
permanent file in the Departmental office.
The minor area requirement for M.A. students is a minimum of 6 hours,
normally taken at Vanderbilt. The minor can be in another area of the
Graduate Department of Religion or in another Department of the University.
13. REQUIRED COURSES IN THE PH.D. PROGRAM
The Study of Religion (REL 3601) is required of and is limited to first-year
PhD students in the Department. As the catalog describes, the Study of
Religion focuses on “the methods, diversities, connections, purposes,
and contexts of religious studies.”
14. LANGUAGE REQUIREMENTS
M.A. candidates are normally expected to demonstrate
reading competence in one modern language of research relevant to the
proposed program of study. M.A. candidates anticipating Ph.D. studies
should prepare themselves to meet the Ph.D. language requirements as quickly
as possible. M.A. students applying to the Ph.D. program are expected
to have demonstrated reading competence in one foreign language. The M.A.
language requirement may be satisfied by:
- performing satisfactorily in the Departmentally
administered Ph.D. language examination,
- taking and passing with the grade of B+ or higher
a Vanderbilt University course, including a final exam, designed specifically to teach graduate
students to use the language in research, or
- presenting transcript evidence of two years (12
semester hours) of college language credit with a grade average of B
or better during the previous five years.
- Students who matriculated in the program prior
to Fall, 2006 may also fulfill the requirement by passing the
ETS Graduate Student Foreign Language Test with a score of 450 or better.
Since candidates specializing in Hebrew Bible or
New Testament are expected to work with the original texts in Hebrew and
Greek, students in these fields may not meet the general language requirement
with Hebrew or Greek.
Candidates for the Ph.D. degree must demonstrate reading knowledge of one modern language, a second language as designated and approved by the Area and the GDR, and additional languages as specified by the Area (see Area requirements). Each of the areas of major
concentration specifies which languages are acceptable for its students.
The requirements in modern languages of research must be satisfied
at Vanderbilt by one of the following methods:
- performing satisfactorily in the Departmentally
administered Ph.D. language examination, or
- taking and passing with the grade of B+ or higher
a Vanderbilt University course, including a final exam, designed specifically to teach graduate
students to use the language in research.
- Students who matriculated in the program
prior to Fall, 2006 may also fulfill the requirement by passing
the ETS Graduate Student Foreign Language Test with a score of 550 or
Special arrangements are made for demonstrating
competence in languages other than those normally examined by the Department.
Beyond the Department-wide requirements, in the areas of Hebrew Bible
and New Testament a knowledge of Hebrew and Greek are required; competence
will be determined by the faculty in accord with the area’s requirements.
In some areas of Historical Studies a knowledge of Latin or Greek is required.
International students may petition the Department to substitute their
native language for one of the usual modern languages required for the
Ph.D. degree. All students should be prepared to learn such other languages,
ancient and modern, as may appear requisite for scholarly interests.
The Departmental language examinations will be administered twice a year,
at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters. Each test will last
for a maximum of three hours, half of the time allotted to each of the
two parts: (a) translation of a short passage, approximately one page
in length, from an approved journal or book not already available in English
translation, which the student may study in preparation for the test,
the passage to be selected at random by the examiner; and (b) précis
of the content and argument of a longer passage (approximately three to
five pages) from a suitable text in the humanities or social sciences,
the passage to be selected by the examiner. Dictionaries and grammars
may be used. Examinations will be graded on a pass/fail basis, and the
decision of the faculty examiners will be final. See the Department’s
document on language requirements for more details.
Competence in one of the modern languages should be demonstrated by each
Ph.D. student upon matriculation; competence in the second should be demonstrated
by the time the student enters the second year of graduate study. A student
who does not satisfy the first of these requirements prior to the beginning
of the second semester of Ph.D. study will be expected to reduce the course
load to no more than nine hours a semester until the deficiency is overcome.
If the necessary facility in both languages has not been established prior
to the beginning of the fifth semester of Ph.D. study, a student must
discontinue all further course work until both examinations have been
passed. The Graduate School does not permit students to sit for the Qualifying
Examinations until all language requirements have been met.
A student who is unable for good cause to complete course requirements
in the normal time may be given, at the discretion of the instructor,
the grade of “I” (Incomplete). A “Request for Incomplete”
form is available in the office of the Departmental Administrative Assistant.
This form must be completed by the student, be signed by the course instructor,
and be returned to the Departmental office. A date by which the Incomplete
work will be submitted must be approved by the course instructor and be
stated on the request form. Each Incomplete must be completed within twelve
(12) months of the end of the semester in which it was taken, or the Incomplete
will automatically become permanent. Work submitted to fulfill requirements
for an Incomplete must be submitted to the Departmental Administrative
Assistant, who will forward it to the instructor for final evaluation.
When a student enters a semester with two or more Incompletes, he or she
will be restricted to a lighter load of courses. The normal load of four
courses will be reduced by one for two Incompletes or by two for three
or four Incompletes. An “I” that is not replaced by a letter
grade may be changed, at the discretion of the instructor, to an “F”;
otherwise, the “I” will automatically become permanent and
will remain on the transcript. In either case, the course will not be
counted toward the credits required for the degree. Departmental scholarships
will not cover extra hours taken to compensate for permanent incompletes.
16. FINANCIAL AID AND LOANS
Financial aid is available from Departmental sources and in University-wide
competitions. Most awards are specified at the time of admissions, although
in the case of Dissertation Enhancement Awards and travel grants the decisions
are reached in the course of a student’s program of study. Financial
aid is not provided for the in-residence and out-of-residence fees assessed
after completion of 72 hours of credit toward the Ph.D. or after 24 hours
of credit toward the M.A. Various loan programs are available to students,
and interested students should consult with the Financial Aid Office.
17. PREPARATION FOR TEACHING
Numerous teaching opportunities are available to give every Ph.D. student
who desires it the opportunity to gain experience under faculty supervision.
Teaching appointments are made on the basis of application. An announcement
listing available positions at Vanderbilt with information on remuneration,
qualifications, and criteria is sent to Ph.D. students in each semester.
Assignment of teaching fellows is made by the Chair in consultation with
the Associate Dean and with the approval of the faculty involved. In order
to encourage students to pursue a variety of teaching experiences, the
GDR will not assign a student to serve as a teaching fellow more than
twice in the same course.
Teaching Fellowships. Normally after
their first year of studies, Ph.D. students may serve as teaching fellows
in the Divinity School, the Department of Religious Studies, or another
Department of the University. Recipients of stipendiary fellowships from
the Department may, as specified in the terms of the grant, be expected
to serve as teaching fellows without additional remuneration. For assignments
not in fulfillment of specific stipend conditions remuneration is provided.
Fellows are expected to take their responsibilities seriously, understand
the degree program in which students are enrolled, and increase their
sensitivity to the diversity of the student body as regards race, sex,
sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, and life experiences. In August
prior to the year in which students first serve as teaching fellows, they
will participate in an intensive workshop and training session offered
by the Center for Teaching. Teaching fellows for whom English is a second
language will participate in the special workshops provided for them by
the Center for Teaching. Resources from the Center will be available to
teaching assistants throughout the year.
Senior Teaching Fellowships. A few
advanced Ph.D. students will serve as senior teaching fellows with full
responsibility for teaching a course under general faculty supervision
and with appropriate remuneration.
18. M.A. PROGRAM AND THESIS
Ordinarily, students with only the baccalaureate degree are admitted to
the M.A. program. Successful completion of the latter provides a foundation
for doctoral studies, but it does not guarantee admission to the Ph.D.
program at Vanderbilt. Twenty-four (24) hours of graduate work and a thesis
are required for the M.A. in religion.
The M.A. thesis topic is determined in consultation with, and at the approval
of, the candidate’s Thesis Committee, which is comprised of two
faculty members appointed by the Chair, at least one of whom should be
in the area of the student’s major. This Committee also evaluates
the final product. The thesis, typically 50-70 pages in length, should
indicate the candidate’s ability to carry out competent research
and develop an argument in a clear and scholarly manner, using foreign-language
sources as necessary and compiling an adequate bibliography.
19. M.A. IN PASSING
The M.A. in Passing may be received by students in the Ph.D. program when
they have completed the language requirements for the Ph.D., finished
at least 42 hours of graduate study (including 24 hours of formal course
work at Vanderbilt), and passed the Qualifying Examinations. Students
continuing for candidacy for the Ph.D. degree must also have the dissertation
proposal approved. Written request must be made for the granting of the
M.A. in Passing.
20. NON-THESIS M.A.
The non-thesis M.A. may be received by students who have demonstrated
reading knowledge in at least one foreign language at the level required
for the M.A. degree; have completed 48 semester hours of formal, graded
course work at the graduate level, including at least 24 hours at Vanderbilt;
and do not seek candidacy for the Ph.D. degree. Written request must be
made for the granting of the non-thesis M.A.
21. QUALIFYING EXAMINATIONS
The Qualifying Examinations are scheduled three times each year: (1) August,
(2) November or December, and (3) March or April. Beginning with
AY 2006-2007, the Qualifying Examinations will be offered in (1) October,
(2) March, and (3) August. The Department publishes the specific
dates each year. Students who wish to schedule Qualifying Examinations
at other times must receive the approval of their examination committees
and the GDR office. All exams must be completed (but not graded) by two
weeks before the last day of classes during the semester and two weeks
before the start of classes during the summer. Before the Qualifying Examinations
can be taken, the student must have completed 36 credit hours of graduate
work and have met the language requirements. The Qualifying Examinations
are administered by the Ph.D. Committee, through the Departmental office,
in accord with procedures and guidelines established by the program areas
and approved by the faculty. Official notice that a student is ready to
sit for examinations should be submitted to the Departmental office on
the Qualifying Examinations Worksheet, listing the Committee membership.
The Chair of the Ph.D. Committee is responsible for assigning committee
members to write and read the examinations. The Departmental office should
be notified in writing of the topic, writer(s), and readers of each examination
four weeks prior to the examination date. Examination questions are to
be submitted to the Departmental office one week prior to the taking of
the first of the examinations, and the Ph.D. Committee Chair or another
designated person will review the exams to determine that they are prepared
The question sheets for each examination will specify the length of time
allowed. No books or notes are to be consulted at any time during the
examination, either in preparing or in writing the answers, unless exceptions
are specified on the question sheets. The provisions of the Honor Code
of Vanderbilt University apply to all aspects of the examinations. Two
copies of the examination answers will be returned by the student to the
Departmental office within the allotted time stated in the instructions.
All sheets on which notes or outlines are made must also be returned with
The evaluation of Qualifying Examinations will take the following form,
based on the usual set of five examinations: Honors, four or more As;
High Pass, two or three As; Pass, no more than one A; Fail, more than
two Cs or less than a B average; Conditioned Pass, no more than two Cs,
with a B average for the entire series. (For these purposes pluses and
minuses are considered as equivalent to the letter grade.) If a student
fails the examinations, the Graduate School permits one retaking. The
examinations may not be retaken earlier than one year from the date of
the first series. All examinations must be retaken unless the Ph.D. Committee
finds specific reasons for exemptions. In the case of a Conditioned Pass,
the student is required to retake an examination in the field or area
in which he or she received the grade of C or to submit a written assignment
if offered by the Committee as an alternative; the examination, if retaken,
will occur at the next regular examination period. Neither the entire
set of examinations nor any one examination may be taken more than twice.
Qualifying Examinations as a total process must be completed within a
thirty-day period. When a student has completed Qualifying Examinations,
the chair of the student’s Committee will submit a report to the
Departmental office listing the examinations taken by the student and
the assessment of the Ph.D. Committee. Every attempt will be made to grade
individual exams two weeks after the last exam is taken. When the student
has passed the Qualifying Examinations, the Ph.D. Committee shall recommend
to the Dean of the Divinity School that the student be admitted to candidacy
for the Ph.D. degree.
22. DISSERTATION PROPOSAL AND DISSERTATION
Each Ph.D. student will present to the Faculty a dissertation proposal
containing a preliminary statement of the problem and its significance
and describing the subject matter of the proposed investigation, its method
and procedures, its scope, and the availability of necessary resources.
A set of guidelines for the preparation of dissertation proposals is available
and should be followed. The proposal is to be approved by the student’s
Ph.D. Committee following at least one formal meeting of the Committee
with the student. By signing the Dissertation Proposal Worksheet on behalf
of the Committee, the first reader certifies that the Committee has met
with the student and approves the release of the proposal to the full
Faculty. The student will then submit the proposal to the Departmental
office in electronic form for distribution to all Faculty, and the student
will also submit a specified number of paper copies with the signed Worksheet
attached. If within two calendar weeks during term no Faculty member requests
in writing to the Chair of the Department that the proposal be discussed
at the next Faculty meeting, it will be considered approved, and the approval
will be reported to the Faculty at its next meeting. If discussion is
to take place, the student may be present. Faculty members are requested
to communicate concerns and suggestions about proposals directly to the
respective student’s Committee chair prior to the Faculty meeting.
The purpose of the proposal is to secure understanding between the student
and the Ph.D. Committee that a research project is well conceived and
manageable. Approval of the proposal is no guarantee that a dissertation
that closely follows the proposal will automatically be accepted. It is
commonplace for revisions, some quite intensive, to be requested at any
point in the process, even after the defense. The dissertation is accepted
when it receives the signatures of the Committee members, a majority of
Vanderbilt Graduate Faculty members being the minimum required.
23. DISSERTATION STYLE AND FORMAT
The Graduate School has available detailed instructions concerning the
preparation of M.A. theses and Ph.D. dissertations, and students should
consult these instructions before preparing final copies. The Graduate
Department of Religion conforms to the referencing style generally followed
in the humanities, with footnotes at the bottom of each page; permission
has also been given by the Graduate School for the use, if it is an accepted
style in the field or if it is approved by the candidate’s Committee,
of the style followed in the social sciences, using parentheses in the
text to refer to a list of references at the end of the dissertation.
24. DISSERTATION DEFENSE AND SUBMISSION OF DISSERTATIONS
The dissertation defense is an oral examination held as a public event,
conducted by the student’s Ph.D. Committee and normally attended
by other interested persons. No later than two weeks prior to the defense
the Graduate School is notified so that the time and place of the defense
can be announced in the Vanderbilt Register. Formal notification that
a student is ready to defend his or her dissertation should be made by
using the Dissertation Defense Worksheet. This worksheet should be submitted
to the Departmental office no later than one month before the defense.
The Departmental office is responsible for contacting the committee members
to schedule the defense and the defense location and to notify the Graduate
School of the defense.
The Graduate School stipulates that two or more copies of the completed
dissertation are to be submitted to the Ph.D. Committee at least one month
prior to the defense. Members of the Committee will make every reasonable
effort to read the manuscript during this one-month period, and the candidate
must give them several weeks’ advance notice of the intent to submit
the dissertation or chapters. It should be recognized that the deadline
for submission one month prior to the defense may not be enough time for
adequate reading and decision, and it is not unusual for a Committee to
require revisions after the defense. Submission to the Committee two months
prior to the defense is therefore optimal.
The defense is not to be chaired by the first reader of the dissertation
but by another member designated by the Ph.D. Committee. At the end of
the defense, the Ph.D. Committee will assess the dissertation as defended
and will assign the student a grade of Pass or Fail. Failure will require
a second examination. The grade assigned to the dissertation and defense
is the grade recorded on the student’s transcript for any credit
hours taken for the course REL 3990, Dissertation Research.
The Graduate School announces three deadlines during the year, normally
in November, April, and July, by which time two copies (originals on bond-quality
paper) of a completed, defended, approved, and signed dissertation must
be submitted to the Graduate School office for the degree to be granted
in, respectively, December, May, and August. The oral defense of the dissertation
must be conducted no later than two weeks prior to the announced deadline.
As an alternative to hard copy submission, students may submit their theses
or dissertations electronically. Instructions for electronic submission
are on the Graduate School website.
25. PROGRAM DEADLINES
The Graduate Department of Religion complies with the following regulations
of the Graduate School regarding the maximum time allowed for completion
of the course of study:
a. A candidate for the M.A. degree must complete all requirements for
the degree within a six-year period calculated from the end of the student’s
first semester of enrollment in the Graduate School.
b. A Ph.D. student must take the Qualifying Examinations within eight
semesters during which he or she is registered, starting with the first
semester of enrollment as a Ph.D. student. After the qualifying examinations
are passed, students are entered into candidacy for the degree.
c. A Ph.D. candidate must complete the dissertation within four years
after having been admitted to candidacy for the degree. (i.e. four years
after passing the qualifying examinations).
26. PARTICIPATION BY RETIRED FACULTY MEMBERS
IN PH.D. COMMITTEES
A faculty member who has retired from regular teaching responsibilities
and holds the title of emeritus or emerita may continue as first or second
reader of a Ph.D. committee if he or she has already been involved with
the student’s research activities and the Dean of the Divinity School
judges it appropriate to continue this relationship. An emeritus/emerita
faculty member who continues to be active in research and/or teaching,
as reflected by a current appointment in the University, may be newly
appointed first or second reader of a Ph.D. committee. Other emeritus/emerita
faculty members may be appointed as members of a student’s Ph.D.
committee by the Dean of the Divinity School, but not in the role of first
or second reader.
27. RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE FACULTY DURING THE
SUMMER AND ON LEAVE
Faculty members serve the University under an academic-year appointment.
The remainder of the year is at the disposal of individual faculty members,
in consonance with their overall professional responsibilities. Faculty
members are therefore out of residence during the summer months. Students
may request that faculty members assist them with their programs during
the summer, but the faculty is under no obligation in this matter.
Students should bear in mind that dissertation defenses will be arranged
on dates within the regular academic year (approximately September through
May). It is highly unlikely that the Ph.D. Committee can be convened during
the summer for this purpose.
Faculty members on leave of absence have no obligations of any sort to
the graduate program, although occasionally they agree to continue serving
as advisers to a dissertation already underway.
28. JOB PLACEMENT FOR STUDENTS AND GRADUATES
The Graduate Department of Religion makes every effort to assist graduates
and students, both M.A. and Ph.D., to secure employment. Students may,
at the appropriate time, place their dossiers on file with the University
Career Center. These dossiers are sent to prospective employers only upon
request by students.
29. GRADUATE FELLOWS ROOM AND GRADUATE STUDENT
The Graduate Fellows Room and the Graduate Student Lounge are available
for school-related use by all graduate students in the Department, both
for individual and group purposes. Desks are available on a first come,
first served basis, and are not assigned to individual students. Students
should not leave books or other materials on desks, but bookshelves are
available and may be used as space permits.
Updated: 14 March 2008