Contacts: Jon Bridges jbridges@fsu.edu

 

Link: the Graduate School

 

American Religious History
History and Ethnography of Religions
Religion, Ethics, and Philosophy
Religions of Western Antiquity

 

American Religious History

Coursework

Hour Requirements: at least 30 hours beyond the MA level (27 with MA thesis in Religion) and at least 24 hours of dissertation credit

Students pursuing the Ph. D. degree are required to take 30 hours (10 courses) of graded course work beyond the Master's level and 24 dissertation hours for a total of 54 credit hours. As students focus their interests, they might be required to engage in further study beyond the 30 hours if their specialties require it. The completion of a Master's Thesis in Religion qualifies a student for a 3-hour reduction in the Ph.D. coursework requirement. The 30 hours of graded coursework should be distributed as follows:

  • Required Course: REL 5035 Introduction to the Study of Religion
  • Seminars: At least 9 hours of graduate seminar courses in American religious history; including a 6000-level course in the historiography of North American religions
  • Secondary Area: 6 hours of additional courses in religion
  • Exam preparation: 6 hours of reading preparation for comprehensive exams
  • Related coursework: At least 6 hours in related fields other than Religion, such as History, American and Florida Studies, Anthropology, English

Languages

Prior to sitting for the doctoral exams, a student must demonstrate reading competency in two research languages beyond English, ordinarily French and German. A student may substitute Spanish for one of those languages in cases where projected research requires it. Likewise, depending on the focus of the dissertation, a student may be required to acquire competency in additional languages, such as Creole and Native American languages, Latin and Greek, or Asian languages.

Exams

An intensive period of examination takes place at the completion of coursework for the Ph.D. and prior to writing a dissertation prospectus. Students write essays in response to questions in four areas and take an oral exam based on their essays. Students work out reading lists for each of their exams in consultation with their advisor and two additional faculty members who serve as their exam committee. Exams periods are at the end of fall semester and at the end of spring semester. The four exam areas are:

  • American Religious History: This exam focuses primarily on the historiography of American religion. The exam covers the history of comprehensive scholarly narratives about American religious history as well as historical analyses of major topics and trends.
  • Methods in American Religious History: This exam involves explanation and analysis of several different methods useful in historical studies of American religion. Methods discussed in this exam might include, for example, ethnography, gender theory, and one more or more types of textual, sociological, or psychological analysis. This exam will also test critical use of historical sources.
  • Outside Area: Ph.D. candidates are expected to show mastery of an area of study in religion outside American religious history. This exam tests that mastery and is designed to help qualify students to teach at least one course in an area outside their specialization in American religious history.
  • Dissertation Area: This exam focuses on the subfield within American religious history in which the student will write a dissertation.

Prospectus

Upon satisfactory performance in the doctoral exams, a student will prepare, in consultation with an advisor, a dissertation prospectus. The prospectus must be delivered to the Graduate Studies Committee in the semester immediately following the doctoral examinations. The prospectus should include a thesis statement, an explanation of how the thesis will be developed and argued from one chapter to the next, and a discussion of the originality of the dissertation thesis with respect to existing scholarly literature. The prospectus should also include a working bibliography. The Committee may require that a candidate revise and resubmit the prospectus. Acceptance of the prospectus signifies the advancement of the student to "Ph.D. candidate" status.

Dissertation and Defense

The dissertation is to be written under the guidance of the student's doctoral advisor. A committee of at least four faculty members, including three from the Religion Department and one from another department, will read the dissertation and set a time for the oral defense. The student will formally defend the dissertation before the committee and peers.

Continuation of Funding

Departmental funding for a doctoral student will expire 24 months after the completion of the doctoral exams.

>>Back to Top

 

History and Ethnography of Religions

 

Coursework

Hour Requirements: at least 24 hours beyond the M.A. in Religion or relevant discipline and at least 24 hours of dissertation credit. 

In consultation with HER faculty, doctoral students will develop a program of course work and advanced research allowing both breadth and depth in the historical and anthropological study of religion, specializing in one of four individual areas of specialization:

  • Religions of Asia(Buddhism, Hinduism)
  • Religions of Africa and the Caribbean
  • Religions of the Mediterranean
  • Religions of Western Europe 

Students pursuing the Ph.D. degree in one of these areas of specialization are required to take 24 credit hours (8 courses) of graded course work beyond the M.A. level (M.A. level is the equivalent of 33 credit hours of graduate course work) and 24 dissertation hours for a total of at least 48 credit hours. The 24 credit hours of graded course work should be distributed as follows:

  • Primary area of specialization: Four courses (12 credit hours)

  • Secondary area of specialization: Two courses (6 credit hours), which may be inside or outside the HER concentration

  • Theory and method: Two courses (6 credit hours), which may be taken in another department, with prior approval

  • Dissertation research (24 credit hours) 

Languages

Doctoral candidates must meet the following minimum language requirements. Languages chosen must be relevant to the field of specialization and approved by the student's faculty committee.

  • First research language, up through 4th year level or equivalent

  • Second research language, if required for the area of specialization

  • Reading knowledge of French, German, Italian, or Spanish, demonstrated by passing the reading knowledge exam (Another language may be substituted with approval).  

The languages necessary for advanced research in each field of specialization include the following:

  • Buddhism: Sanskrit, Tibetan, Chinese, Japanese
  • Hinduism: Sanskrit, Hindi
  • Chinese Religions: Chinese, Japanese
  • African Religions: To be determined in consultation with advisor*
  • Islam: Arabic
  • Christianity (medieval or early modern): Latin  

*Students specializing in Religions of Africa and the Caribbean will determine relevant languages for their research in close consultation with faculty. They should learn about and consider studying any relevant lingua francas, local languages, and European or European-based pidgins and/or creoles used in their research areas. Students will want to learn where such languages are taught in the United States and Africa and whether or not FLAS grants would fund such study. 

Exams

By the end of the semester preceding the completion of course work, a proposal for the content and schedule of the comprehensive exams is worked out between the student and the faculty committee. Comprehensive exams usually begin after all course requirements (including languages) are completed. It is required that all exams be completed within one week, followed then by an oral defense with the faculty committee to be scheduled within two weeks of completion of the corresponding written exam. Successful completion of comprehensive exams signifies the advancement of the student to "Ph.D. candidate" status. 

Exams will be completed in the following four areas:

  • Primary religious tradition (Buddhism, Hinduism, Chinese religions, Islam, African or Caribbean religions, or Christianity)

  • Secondary religious tradition (Buddhism, Hinduism, Chinese religions, Islam, African or Caribbean religions, or Christianity, but with approval may choose Judaism, Jainism, or Sikhism)

  • Theory and methodology in the study of religion, including theory and method specific to student's dissertation research

  • Comparative theme, phenomenon, or issue in religious studies (e.g., asceticism, pilgrimage, sacrifice, nationalism, gender, iconography, a philosophical concept, etc. to be chosen in consultation with the committee) 

Prospectus

Upon satisfactory performance in the doctoral exams, a student will prepare, in consultation with an advisor, a detailed dissertation prospectus. The prospectus must be delivered to the Graduate Studies Committee in the semester immediately following the completion of doctoral examinations. In the case of students applying for dissertation fellowships with early deadlines, it may be submitted earlier. The prospectus should include a thesis statement, an explanation of how the thesis will be developed and argued from one chapter to the next, and a discussion of the originality of the dissertation thesis with respect to existing scholarly literature. The prospectus should also include a working bibliography. The Committee may require that a candidate revise and resubmit the prospectus. 

Dissertation and Defense

Dissertation in area of primary tradition. Extended ethnographic and archival study abroad in a country relevant to the candidate's dissertation research is required as a part of the dissertation preparation. 

Continuation of Funding

Departmental funding for a doctoral student will expire 24 months after the completion of the doctoral exams.

 

>>Back to Top