Application Process

Thank you for your interest Rice University's PhD program in Religion program.

Applications for fall 2024 are now closed. Applications will open in early September 2024 for fall 2025 admission.

For more information about graduate program qualifications, visit Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

Please pay particular attention to the application instructions, answers to frequent inquiries, and program eligibility and application requirements below.

Candidates will be notified of admissions decisions in early February; communications will be sent to the email address provided by the candidate on the application form.

Application Instructions:

  • Applicants will upload unofficial transcripts and supporting documents to the online application system. Hard copies of official transcripts are not required to apply.
  • If admitted, applicants will be required to send official transcripts to complete the admissions process.
  • Once a completed application is submitted, the applicant will be able to pay the application fee and monitor the status of their application on the Application Status page.
  • Application information and supporting documents cannot be edited after final submission. However, applicants are able to upload updated version of their CV and unofficial transcripts via the Application Status page.
  • All application materials, including three letters of recommendation, must be received by the deadline to be considered for admission.
  • Incomplete applications will not be considered for admission.

Frequent Inquiries:

  • The PhD program in Religion is a full-time, funded program and does not offer online or distance courses.
  • Applications are accepted annually for Fall matriculation only; there is no Spring matriculation.
  • In general, applicants should have a minimum 3.0 (B) grade point average, or the equivalent, in their undergraduate work.
  • The Department of Religion does NOT require a GRE score for applicants.

Program Eligibility

Candidates who hold a Bachelor's degree, or who will complete a Bachelor's degree by the start of the admission term, are eligible to apply. Applicants of all academic backgrounds are considered for the PhD program.

Application Requirements

The following materials must be submitted by the application deadline to be considered for admission:


The fall 2025 application form will open in early September 2024.

Unofficial transcripts from previous colleges and universities. The department will review unofficial transcripts during the admissions process; official transcripts will be required after acceptance into the graduate program.

The Department of Religion does NOT require a GRE score to apply.

ENGLISH LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY (International applicants only)
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) scores should be directly from ETS to Rice (School Code: 6609). Please see the following webpage for additional information regarding IELTS and waiver options:

A statement describing the applicant’s educational objectives and intended area of study. Additionally, the statement should discuss any scholarly research, writing, or similar research currently being pursued. Statements should be no longer than two or three pages, double-spaced.

A sample of the applicant's academic writing, preferably one that uses primary sources. The writing sample may be a paper you have submitted for class or an original essay written for the application. Writing samples should be seven to ten pages, double spaced.

Three letters of recommendation by individuals best qualified to testify to the applicant’s capacity for graduate work in religious studies are required. Academic references representing the applicant’s major field are preferred. If this is not possible, individuals who can comment on qualities relevant to the applicant’s academic goals and research will be accepted. Recommenders named in the application form will be sent an automated email requesting that they complete an online evaluation and upload the letter of recommendation. We advise applicants to make sure recommenders know to expect this email and to give them sufficient time to complete this task ahead of the application deadline.

Inquiries regarding the application process should be directed to Humanities Graduate Admissions: