Application Process

Thank you for your interest in applying to Rice University's PhD program in Religion. Please read carefully the application instructions, answers to frequent inquiries, and program eligibility and application requirements below. Inquiries regarding the application process should be directed to Humanities Graduate Admissions at

Applications for Fall 2020 are closed.

Application Instructions and Notes:

  • Due to circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the GRE requirement is waived for Fall 2021 applicants.
  • Hard copies of official transcripts are not required to apply. Applicants should upload unofficial transcripts and supporting documents to the online application system.
  • 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 an updated version of their CV and unofficial transcripts via the Application Status page.
  • All application materials, including official test scores and 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:

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

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:


Applications for Fall 2020 are now open at Applications will be accepted until 11:59pm EST, December 15, 2019. There is an $85 non-refundable application fee, payable online.


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.


Due to circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the GRE requirement is waived for Fall 2021 applicants.

GRE (Graduate Record Exam) - School Code: 6609 and Department Code: 4901. Scores from the general test only should be sent directly from the Educational Testing Service (ETS); scores must not be more than five years old. GRE scores are required regardless of educational background or previous degrees attained.

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 visit this page 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.


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. 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 automated emails 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: