Rice University Department of Religion

Graduate Study Program FAQs

Can I apply directly to a Ph.D. program, or must I apply for the Master's degree first?
Can I apply for either Spring or Fall admission? 

When should I begin the application process?
I may have some documents sent to Rice before I submit the application forms. What will happen to them?
If I do not have all required documents quite ready and the January 15th deadline is at hand, what should I do?
Is there a minimum GRE score?
What is the minimum GPA?
What can you tell me about financial aid?
What if I have other questions?

Can I apply directly to a Ph.D. program, or must I apply for the Master's degree first?
It is important that you indicate the highest degree you are seeking from the Rice University Department of Religion. The religion program is primarily a Ph.D. program and university funding is NOT available for study only for the M.A. degree. Graduate study is open to well-qualified students with a substantial background in religious studies. This usually, though not always, means an undergraduate degree in religious studies though many of our candidates have also completed a Master's in religious studies or another advanced degree at another institution.

Can I apply for either Spring or Fall admission?
The Rice University Department of Religion admits graduate students for matriculation in the Fall semester only. Deadline for receiving your completed application is January 15 of the calendar year you wish to enter the program.

When should I begin the application process?
You should begin your application process early. To make sure scores are available when admission decisions are normally made you should take the GRE, TOEFL, etc. as required by the December prior to the January 15 deadline. You should also request transcripts and letters of recommendation by December or earlier in order to give the senders time to get the material to Rice before the deadline. The deadline for completed applications for the fall semester is January 15.

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I may have some documents sent to Rice before I submit the application forms. What will happen to them?
It is always our preference that your application is self-contained, i.e., all required supporting documents (except, of course, official GRE and TOEFL scores) should be included in the same envelope. If you send documents separately, please include a cover sheet with your name, address, social security number and email address with the mailed materials. These actions ensure the fastest processing of your file. However, should any documents arrive before the application forms, we will hold them in a pending file until the completed forms and application fee are submitted. (Pending file items are held for one year and then destroyed.) Anything sent in separately from the application forms should include notation of the name under which you are applying, the notation that it should be sent to the Department of Religion, your address and your social security number.

REMEMBER: Materials submitted in support of an application are not released for other purposes and cannot be returned to the applicant.

If I do not have all required documents quite ready and the January 15th deadline is at hand, what should I do?
Go ahead and send in what you have ready. Meeting the January 15th deadline is of paramount importance, however and you must call or write to the department if you see a delay is unavoidable for one piece of your application package.

Is there a minimum GRE score?
Rice University does not have an established minimum GRE score. However, this is a highly competitive program and most of our top candidates have GRE verbal scores in excess of the 90th percentile and analytical scores that are equally high.

What is the minimum GPA?
Rice University does not have an established minimum GPA. However, our top candidates have demonstrated excellence in their performance in programs they have completed. Typically this means extremely high GPA's from former undergraduate and, when applicable, graduate institutions.

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What can you tell me about financial aid?
Rice provides graduate fellowships to nearly all entering students enrolled in Ph.D. graduate programs, and most also receive graduate tuition waivers as part of the fellowship package. Alternately, many of our graduates apply for outside funding. More information about Graduate Funding at Rice.

What if I have other questions?
Applicants may obtain departmental information on graduate study elsewhere on this web site or by contacting the Humanities Graduate Administrator, Lydia Westbrook. You may also contact the Department Chair, April DeConick, or the Director of Graduate Studies, Anthony Pinn.