In 1968, our department was established to critically study religion at a time when it was standard to think about religion only as the study of theology and ethics in philosophy departments.
We are curious and bold. We ask tough questions. We challenge how things stand. We cross borders and push limits in pursuit of knowledge that makes a difference.
Former students describe our courses as “life-changing!”
The study of religion can be foundational to professional careers in law, medicine, education, business, social service, journalism, politics, public policy, and non-profits.
Graduate programs of study are tailored to meet the needs and interests of each student in an apprenticeship model of education.
Rice University has the only graduate program in the world to offer certification in the study of Gnosticism, Esotericism, and Mysticism (GEM).
Rice’s Religion PhD program is ranked among the top 10 programs* in the USA in the discipline of Religious Studies, as a reflection of the faculty’s strong publication activity. We house 3 academic journals in the study of religion.
*Based on Academic Analytics Scholarly Productivity Index as of June 2016, release AAD2015.
We host distinguished lectures and international conferences annually on the study of religion, which highlight student research alongside faculty presentations. Most proceedings are published in prominent academic series.