General Requirements for the PhD

Unit Requirements

The PhD requires 72 units of course work. 24 semester units may be transferred from previous graduate course work in religion or a related discipline.  The majority of students have completed a Master's degree at the time of application and are subsequently admitted to the 48-unit PhD program (expected to transfer 24 units). In rare cases, students may be admitted into the 72-unit program. More likely, successful applicants with no graduate experience will be admitted to the MA program at the discretion of the faculty admissions committee.

The program in Religion offers students the option of selecting major and minor areas. 48 units will be devoted to the major and 16 units comprise the minor, which may be designate either within or outside the Religion program. A World Religions minor is available through selection of courses in a variety of religions.  (This major/minor arrangement does not apply to those in the dual degree program of MA in Philosophy and Ph.D. in Philosophy of Religion.)

Secondary Research Language Requirement

Students are required to have a reading knowledge of two secondary research languages. Generally, students may choose from the following: Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Greek, (modern) Hebrew, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Sanskrit, and Spanish with the proviso that an examiner is available for the desired language. Choice of secondary language must meet the approval of the student's advisor and the area coordinator.

The secondary language requirements are generally satisfied by completing a two-hour reading examination, in which the student translates a passage with the aid of a dictionary. Each area has its own reading list from which the passages will be drawn.

Typically, students are expected to have prepared for examination of at least one language before beginning the final 48 units of the PhD program (at the beginning of their first year in the case of 48-unit, or the start of the second year for 72-unit PhD students). Certain sanctions may apply for students who have not succeeded in fulfilling their first requirement in a timely manner (See the handbook for explanation). The second language examination must be passed before Qualifying Examinations may be scheduled.

A limited number of summer language workshops are available for students who desire formal preparation.

Primary Text Language Requirement

Certain programs, like Critical Comparative Scriptures, History of Christianity and Religions of North America, or Islamic Studies, assume that students will be proficient in other languages–ancient and/or modern–as necessary to conduct research in their given area. Please review the program area to learn of any primary text language requirements, or consult with faculty in that area. All language requirements must be met before taking Qualifying Examinations.

Transfer of Credit

Students may be eligible to transfer units from an accredited graduate institution. Typically, students holding a Master's degree in a closely related field are allowed to transfer up to 24 units. In any case, at least 48-units of doctoral credit must be earned at CGU.  Certain restrictions remain enforce. Please see the handbook for details.

Time Limits and Residence Requirement

See the CGU Bulletin for rules concerning time limits and residence requirements.

Qualifying Examinations

Students may schedule qualifying exams after completing all of the following requirements: 72 units of graduate course work (at least 48 units of which must be CGU course work); language requirements; a university transdisciplinary course (see the CGU Bulletin); and area requirements such as primary text languages or major papers.

Specific qualifying exam requirements vary between areas. In general, students have a great deal of flexibility within the broad framework of the exam structure. In most cases the student will work closely with the chair of the examination committee (usually, the student's advisor) and the other examination members to develop the parameters for each exam. While three members of the committee must be from the Claremont Colleges, students may enlist specialists essential to their research interests outside the Claremont community of scholars. For more on the exam process, or the precise guidelines governing the examination process, please consult the handbook. Review the program area for requirements unique to that field.

Advancement to Candidacy

Upon successful completion of the qualifying examinations students may petition to advance to candidacy, provided they have obtained approval of their dissertation proposal with the dissertation committee and submitted the necessary paperwork. For further explanation and guidelines, see the handbook.

Dissertation and Final Oral Examination (Dissertation Defense)

To satisfy the final requirement for the PhD the student shall submit a dissertation to either a three or four-person dissertation committee. At minimum the committee shall be comprised of the chairperson from the Religion department faculty and two other members from CGU, CST, or the Claremont Colleges. A four-person committee may include an outside examiner (subject to approval). All members of the committee must agree on the readiness of the dissertation to proceed to the oral defense, where the student will demonstrate their ability to defend their thesis against the broader critical appraisal of their chosen scholarly field. Please see the handbook for a rules and details governing the process of dissertation completion and defense.

2014 Claremont Graduate University 150 E. 10th St., Claremont, CA 91711 (909) 621-8000 Campus Safety Emergency Info Campus Map/Driving Directions