|Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Religious Studies|
The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Religious Studies is an advanced research degree for 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 PhD in Religious Studies is a selective research program that prepares students to work at the university level. Research and writing 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 that field.
Students summarize and explain different facets of religion and religious life.
|Praxis||Students apply the tools and theories used in the academic study of religion.|
|Ethics||Students identify ethical issues raised by religion|
|Critical Thinking||Students think critically about specific religious traditions and about the academic study of religion, in general.
Students develop their own critical perspective and engage in sustained analysis about specific religious traditions and about issues in the field of religious studies.
|Communication||Students engage in scholarly writing and presentation|
Students are prepared to engage in an ongoing process of self-understanding that enables them to lead happy, purposeful lives characterized by healthy relationships to self and others.
|Character||Students critically relate religious teachings to their own self-exploration and character development.|
Students recognize the diversity and dignity of all human beings and understand their own role in the pursuit of social justice.
|Pluralism||Students acknowledge the value of religious diversity.|
|Liberation from Suffering||Students critically relate religious teachings to issues of suffering.|
Students possess a holistic understanding of global interdependence in order to cultivate compassionate thought, speech, and action in service to themselves, others, and the environment.
|Culture||Students critically evaluate the role of religion in human culture and society.|
|Research Training (REL 698A, 698B, 710)||12|
|Primary Research/Canonical Language||12|
|Secondary Research Language||6|
Core Courses (9 units): All students complete three core courses during the first two semesters.
|REL 600 History & Theory of the Study of Religion||3|
|REL 601 Seminar: Historical & Textual Methodologies||3|
|REL 607 Research Methods||3|
Electives (42 units): All students select an additional 42 units of courses in consultation with their advisor. Students with a concentration in Buddhist Studies take 30 units of coursework in Buddhist Studies and 12 units of coursework in Comparative Religions. Students with a concentration in Comparative Religions take 30 units of coursework in Comparative Religions and 12 units of coursework in Buddhist Studies.
Concentration Coursework: Buddhist Studies
|REL 505 Women in Buddhism||3 units|
|REL 521 Buddhist Meditation Practicum||3 units|
|REL 530 Topics in Buddhist Meditation||3 units|
|REL 540 Buddhist Hermeneutics||3 units|
|REL 545 Sacred Time & Sacred Space in the History of Religions||3 units|
|MBA/REL 582 Humanistic Buddhism & Management||3 units|
|REL 627 Buddhism & Ritual||3 units|
|REL 630 Seminar: Buddhist Texts in Canonical Languages||3 units|
|REL 636 Seminar: Buddhist Texts in Translation||3 units|
|REL 639 Topics in the Study of Religion||3 units|
|REL 640 Topics in Buddhist Studies||3 units|
|REL 645 Seminar: Regional Buddhist Traditions||3 units|
|REL 653 Vajrayana Buddhism||3 units|
|REL 655 Perspectives in the Study of Chan/Zen Buddhism||3 units|
|REL 657 Humanistic Buddhism & Current Issues||3 units|
|REL 659 Buddhism in the US||3 units|
|REL 670 Spread of Buddhism to Central Asia & China||3 units|
Concentration Coursework: Comparative Religious Studies
|REL 515 Religions of China||3 units|
|REL 520 Religions of India||3 units|
|REL 545 Sacred Time & Sacred Space in the History of Religions||3 units|
|REL 590 Comparative Study of Religion||3 units|
|REL 592 Myth & Mythology||3 units|
|REL 603 Seminar: Philosophy of Religion||3 units|
|REL 610 Seminar: Religion & Ethics||3 units|
|REL 640 Topics in Comparative Religion||3 units|
|REL 660 Seminar: Buddhist-Christian Dialogue||3 units|
Languages: Students must earn 12 units in a primary language and 6 units in a secondary language. Students with a concentration in Buddhism must acquire intermediate working knowledge in a Buddhist canonical language (e.g. Pali, Sanskrit, Chinese, Tibetan) as their primary language requirement. This coursework is required, but is not degree applicable, and may be waived based on a student’s prior experience, education, and/or proficiency.
Qualifying Examinations: Students are required to petition to take the qualifying examinations when they have completed a minimum of 51 units of doctoral coursework and have fulfilled the language requirements. The qualifying examinations cover three subject fields, to be determined individually between the student and members of the doctoral committee. Qualifying examinations must be completed within one semester following the completion of 51 units of coursework.
The qualifying examinations will be written. Students are expected to consult with their committee members to prepare reading lists to serve as the basis for each of the three field examinations. The examinations take place over a two-week period and must be taken on campus. Each examination takes three hours, and students are not allowed to consult books, notes, or the Internet during the examination. Qualifying examinations are graded pass, fail, or pass with distinction. If a student fails an examination, the doctoral committee will decide if and when it may be repeated. Additional work may be required before the student is eligible to retake an examination.
Additional guidelines and details regarding the qualifying examinations can be found in the Religious Studies Graduate Student Handbook.
A student advances to candidacy status upon successful completion of the qualifying examinations and payment of the candidacy fee. Candidacy status lapses automatically if the student loses graduate standing by academic disqualification or failure to comply with university policy on continuous enrollment. 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. Readmission after a break in enrollment is not guaranteed.
Research Training (Dissertation): Upon advancing to candidacy, the candidate enters the dissertation phase and is eligible to undertake advanced graduate-level research and writing. While engaged in the dissertation process, PhD students are required to register for REL 698A, 698B, 710, or a combination of these courses for a total of 12 units.
Upon advancement to candidacy, students are expected to begin work on the dissertation proposal, outlining their intended dissertation project. This project 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 is reviewed by the doctoral committee, after which students attend the proposal defense to present their proposal and respond to the questions of the committee. During the defense, the committee decides whether the proposal is accepted, accepted with revisions, or rejected. Candidates are expected to submit the dissertation proposal during the semester following their advancement to candidacy.
The doctoral committee supervises the student’s proposal, approves the dissertation, and conducts the dissertation defense, a final oral examination. Ordinarily, students defend the dissertation just prior to its completion. Students must be in residence when defending. The defense should be scheduled during a regular academic session and is open to all members of the academic community.
After the dissertation is approved by the doctoral committee, the student makes the necessary revisions and submits at least two (2) copies to the University of the West Library for binding according to UWest Library and Binding Guidelines. The revised dissertation must be submitted to the library no later than one semester after the dissertation defense. In addition to these requirements, students must submit a portfolio of their work to the department for assessment and review.(Portfolio guidelines are found in the Religious Studies Graduate Student Handbook.) The candidate will receive the degree effective the last day of the semester in which the dissertation has been submitted to and approved by the library, the portfolio has been completed, the Intent to Graduate form has been filed with the Registrar’s Office, and the graduation fee has been paid.
Important guidelines and procedures regarding the composition of the doctoral committee, dissertation proposal, dissertation defense, and final submission of the dissertation can be found in the Religious Studies Graduate Student Handbook.
- A minimum of 63 post-baccalaureate semester units in graduate courses as specified for each candidate by the doctoral committee appointed by the department chair or graduate advisor;
- Fulfillment of the language requirements;
- A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0;
- A Pass in the candidacy examination, taken when the student has completed a minimum of 51 units of doctoral coursework;
- Submission to the UWest Library of a research dissertation demonstrating critical judgment, intellectual synthesis, creativity, and skill in written communication.
Transfer of Credit from Other Institutions and Application of Credit from Prior UWest Enrollments towards the PhD: Students may be granted a maximum of 30 units of transfer credit for applicable graduate-level coursework towards their PhD 51-unit course requirement. Courses with a B (3.0) or higher are eligible for consideration. Applicability is determined by the department chair or advisor.
Students entering the PhD program may apply toward the 51-unit course requirement a maximum of 36 units of graduate coursework completed at UWest in a master’s level program or under open enrollment. Courses with a B
(3.0) or higher are eligible for consideration. Applicability is determined by the department chair or advisor.
Graduate courses applied to a bachelor of arts degree may not be applied to a master’s or doctoral program.
Continuous Enrollment: After finishing all coursework, but before submitting their dissertation, students must maintain continuous enrollment until the dissertation is successfully defended. Failure to register and pay the associated tuition and fees may interfere with residence requirements and lead to lapse of candidacy status