|Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Religious Studies|
Application Deadline: March 15 (for fall admission)
The University offers two doctoral programs:
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Religious Studies with an emphasis in Buddhism: This is for advanced research students specializing in the comparative study of Buddhism in relation to another religion, or the intensive study of an aspect of Buddhism, leading to a dissertation. The Ph.D. in Religious Studies is a research degree that prepares students to work at the university level. Research, writing and lecturing skills are developed to the level necessary to participate in professional academic discourse.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Religious Studies with an emphasis in Comparative Religions: This is for advanced research students specializing in the comparative study of Religions. It prepares students to work at the university level. Research, writing and lecturing skills are developed to the level necessary to participate in professional academic discourse.
A doctoral degree is awarded on the basis of evidence that the recipient possesses knowledge of a broad field of learning and expert mastery of a particular area of concentration within it.
Admission Requirements for the Doctoral Programs
Admission will be on the basis of an evaluation of academic records, the essay and letters of recommendation by the Admission Committee consisting of the Dean of Academic Affairs, the Chair and/or Assistant Chair of Religious Studies, and the Office of Admissions.
Graduation Requirements for the Doctoral Programs
Progress through the doctoral program is determined both by course work and by the successful completion of Preliminary, Candidacy and qualifying examinations. As a means of tailoring the program to the needs and interests of individual students, the number and content of these examinations will be personally determined for each student on an individual and ongoing basis by the Doctoral Committee. Failure to successfully complete any qualifying examination after two attempts in a row may result in termination of the student’s enrollment in the program.
Prior to the beginning of the semester in which an advanced degree is to be conferred, the student must have advanced to candidacy for that degree and should have received formal notice confirming candidacy from the Dean of Academic Affairs. The student should consult the departmental graduate advisor to determine which degree requirements, if any, have not yet been satisfied.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Religious Studies
The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Religious Studies is an advanced research degree meant for those specializing in the comparative study of Buddhism in relation to another religion or the intensive study of an aspect of Buddhism, leading to a dissertation.
The Ph.D. degree requires a minimum of three years of full-time graduate education or the equivalent in part-time study. Four to six years of full-time academic work beyond the bachelor’s degree typically is required to complete the degree. After finishing all course work, but before submitting his or her Dissertation, a student must keep his or her registration alive by paying the registration and library fees until his or her Dissertation is completed. Failure to maintain registration may interfere with residence requirements and lead to lapse of Candidacy Status.
NOTE: STUDENTS DETERMINE WITH THE HELP OF THEIR ADVISOR WHICH LANGUAGES THEY SHOULD STUDY.
(Not applicable to students who have successfully completed an M.A. Thesis in Religious Studies, Theology, Philosophy or equivalent. Students who have completed an M.A. Thesis need only take the Candidacy Examination)
When the student has completed a minimum of 18 units of doctoral course work, he or she must petition in writing their counselor to take the Preliminary Examination. The student’s petition must contain the following:
The research paper must be submitted to the student’s advisor at least two (2) weeks prior to the date of the oral examination.
When the candidate has successfully demonstrated a high level of scholarship, the Doctoral Committee will advise him/her either to proceed to study for the Candidacy Examination or, where necessary, to appear for one or more Qualifying Examinations after further study. As a means of tailoring the program to the needs and interests of individual students, the number and content of these qualifying examinations will be personally determined for each student on an individual and ongoing basis by the Doctoral Committee. Failure to successfully complete an examination in two attempts in a row may result in termination of the student’s enrollment in the program.
When the candidate has completed a minimum of 51 units of doctoral course work, has fulfilled the language requirements, and has passed the Preliminary Examination and all qualifying examinations required by the Doctoral Committee, he or she must petition in writing their counselor to take the Candidacy Examination. The student’s petition must contain the following:
The field examinations will be written. Students are expected to consult with their committee members to prepare reading lists for each of the three field examinations, which will serve as the basis for the examination questions. The examinations will take place over a two-week period, and must be taken onsite at the University of the West campus. Each examination will take three hours, and students will not be allowed to consult any books, notes, or the Internet during the examination. Field examinations will be graded “pass,” “fail,” or “pass with distinction.” If a student should fail an examination, faculty will decide if and when it may be repeated; additional work may be required in order to retake an examination.
Students are recommended for the advancement to candidacy by unanimous vote of the Doctoral Committee.
The Report on Candidacy Examination for Doctoral Degrees must be signed by the Committee at the time the Candidacy Examination is concluded.
Following a unanimous favorable vote of the Committee, the student will be advanced to candidacy upon payment of the $100 Candidacy Fee.
Candidacy will lapse automatically if the student loses graduate standing by academic disqualification or failure to comply with the University policy on continuous registration.
A readmitted student who was a candidate must again advance to candidacy and thereafter enroll as a candidate for at least one academic semester before the degree may be conferred.
Upon being granted candidacy status, the candidate will be ready for the dissertation phase. A Ph.D. student is required to register for REL 710 (at least 12 units) while working on his/her proposal/dissertation.
Immediately after completing the Candidacy Examination, the successful candidate will be expected to begin work on their dissertation proposal. In the proposal, the student will outline his/her proposed dissertation project, which is expected to be an original piece of research, based on primary sources, that makes a relevant contribution to the student’s field of study. The proposal should contain sufficient detail on the project, including: a substantial explanation of the central research problem; a review of previous scholarship on the topic and a discussion of the proposed contributions to the field that this dissertation is expected to make; an account of the research methodology to be employed and the sources to be utilized in the dissertation research; a provisional outline of the form that the finished dissertation will take, including chapter divisions; and a preliminary bibliography of both primary and secondary sources. The cover sheet of the proposal should contain the names of the three members of the student’s Doctoral Committee, and it is expected that the student will confirm these members’ willingness to serve on the Doctoral Committee prior to submitting the prospectus.
Once the proposal has been submitted, it will be reviewed by the members of the student’s Doctoral Committee, and the student will be asked to present their proposal and respond to questions before their committee members. After the proposal is submitted, the committee will decide whether it is to be accepted, accepted with revisions, or rejected.
The Doctoral Committee supervises the student’s program, approves the dissertation and conducts the final oral examination. The chair of the Doctoral Committee is the member of the faculty responsible for providing primary guidance for the student’s dissertation. Ordinarily, the final oral examination will be given just prior to completion of the dissertation and while the student is in residence during a regular academic session, and will be open to all members of the academic community.
After approval by the Doctoral Committee, the student will make any final revisions necessary and submit at least two (2) copies to the University of the West Library for binding.
Submission to UWest Library and Binding Guidelines
The University of the West Library collects copies of all Ph.D. dissertations completed by UWest graduate students, binds them, and catalogues them for inclusion in the University collection. The student pays for the binding. Students are urged to consult with their advisors well in advance of final dissertation/research project preparation on any departmental need for additional copies.
All dissertations must conform to the following UWest Library submission guidelines:
(The Library will bind additional copies for the student’s personal use for an additional charge. When the additional copies return from the bindery, the Library will contact the student by phone and/or mail and request the copies’ prompt pick-up at the Library. The total cost of binding may be submitted in one check.)
The final copy must meet the University’s requirements for style, format, and appearance before the degree can be conferred. Reports must be filed by the deadline published in the semester Schedule of Classes in order for them to be reviewed and accepted in time for the degree to be conferred in that semester.
Course Requirements for the Ph.D. in Religious Studies
Core Courses (9 units) (to be taken during the first two semesters):
Languages (1st Language 12 units; 2nd Language 6 units):
Students must begin fulfilling their language requirements during their first year of coursework or as soon as the relevant courses are offered.
Additional Course Requirements (42 units):
NOTE: Additional courses are to be chosen by the Ph.D. student in consultation with their advisor.
Emphasis in Buddhism:
Students must complete 30 units of course work in Buddhism.
Emphasis in Comparative Religious Studies:
Students must complete 30 units of course work in Comparative Religious Studies.
Research Training (12 units)
REL 710 Dissertation Research (12 units)