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PhD in Religion

Program overview

A PhD in Religion allows you to expand your study into how religious belief continues to impact the world. Concordia's Department of Religions and Cultures is one of the largest in Canada, with faculty expertise in the world's major traditions, including Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. The department has unique strengths in the fields of Canadian Jewish Studies, Roman Late Antiquity, Women, Gender and Sexuality and Iranian Studies. Our department offers a collegial environment and strong mentorship for our doctoral students. Students develop professional, transferable skills while working in a field they are passionate about. The program also allows them to design and teach their own courses, gaining valuable experience that provides them with a competitive advantage in their academic careers.

Program Details

Admission Requirements

  • MA in Religion, or equivalent, with high standing from a recognized university.
  • Proficiency in English. Applicants whose primary language is not English must demonstrate that their knowledge of English is sufficient to pursue graduate studies in their chosen field. Please refer to the English language proficiency page for further information on requirements and exemptions.

Degree Requirements

Fully-qualified candidates are required to complete a minimum of 90 credits.

Please see the Religions and Cultures Courses page for course descriptions.

Religion PhD (90 credits)



  RELI 890 Doctoral Seminar (6.00)


credits chosen from the Seminar of Specialization:

  RELI 891 Religions and Cultures Doctoral Seminar (6.00)
  RELI 892 Judaic Studies (6.00)

Religion PhD students should enrol in either RELI 891 or RELI 892, according to their specialization, in the first or second or equivalent year of the program.


credits of Directed Reading Courses, offered according to the resources of the department and the needs of the students, chosen from the following lists:

PhD Topics in Judaic Studies (PhD)

Topics in Religions and Cultures (PhD)

Note: Some of the courses at the Master of Arts level are open to PhD candidates, with the requirement of additional work and higher standards of performance.



  RELI 860 Doctoral Comprehensive Examination (15.00)



  RELI 870 Doctoral Thesis (45.00)

Topics in Judaic Studies (PhD)

  RELI 801 Topics in Judaic Studies (3.00)
  RELI 802 Topics in Judaic Studies (3.00)
  RELI 803 Topics in Judaic Studies (3.00)
  RELI 804 Topics in Judaic Studies (3.00)
  RELI 805 Topics in Judaic Studies (3.00)
  RELI 806 Topics in Judaic Studies (3.00)
  RELI 807 Topics in Judaic Studies (3.00)
  RELI 809 Topics in Judaic Studies (3.00)
  RELI 810 Topics in Judaic Studies (3.00)
  RELI 811 Topics in Judaic Studies (3.00)
  RELI 812 Topics in Judaic Studies (3.00)
  RELI 813 Topics in Judaic Studies (3.00)
  RELI 814 Topics in Judaic Studies (3.00)
  RELI 815 Topics in Judaic Studies (3.00)
  RELI 816 Topics in Judaic Studies (3.00)
  RELI 817 Topics in Judaic Studies (3.00)
  RELI 818 Topics in Judaic Studies (3.00)

Topics in Religions and Cultures (PhD)

  RELI 820 Topics in Religions and Cultures (3.00)
  RELI 821 Topics in Religions and Cultures (3.00)
  RELI 823 Topics in Religions and Cultures (3.00)
  RELI 824 Topics in Religions and Cultures (3.00)
  RELI 825 Topics in Religions and Cultures (3.00)
  RELI 826 Topics in Religions and Cultures (3.00)
  RELI 827 Topics in Religions and Cultures (3.00)
  RELI 828 Topics in Religions and Cultures (3.00)
  RELI 829 Topics in Religions and Cultures (3.00)
  RELI 830 Topics in Religions and Cultures (3.00)
  RELI 831 Topics in Religions and Cultures (3.00)
  RELI 832 Topics in Religions and Cultures (3.00)
  RELI 833 Topics in Religions and Cultures (3.00)
  RELI 834 Topics in Religions and Cultures (3.00)
  RELI 835 Topics in Religions and Cultures (3.00)
  RELI 836 Topics in Religions and Cultures (3.00)
  RELI 837 Topics in Religions and Cultures (3.00)
  RELI 838 Topics in Religions and Cultures (3.00)
  RELI 839 Topics in Religions and Cultures (3.00)

Your completed application will include:

  • Application form and Fee
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Three Letters of Reference and assessment form. Letters of reference should be of an academic nature (and not from employment unrelated to University studies) 
  • Statement of purpose should include a brief description of your particular academic interests and the pertinence of your educational background to those interests. Please include mention of your competence in languages relevant to your study
  • Description of Proposed Research should include a description of a proposed thesis, including methodology and select bibliography. The description should be from 1,000 to 2,000 words, and the bibliography should present ten to twenty primary and secondary sources.  You may include this item together with your Statement of Purpose.

    The interests and focus of many students evolve and change in the course of their academic career, and you will not be obliged to write on the topic you propose in your Description of Proposed Research. The Admissions Committee will use your Description of Proposed Research to assess your ability to conceive a viable project and to identify potential advisors
  • Transcripts for all post-secondary institutions attended
  • Proof of Canadian citizenship (if applicable)
  • Applicants whose primary language is not English, are required to submit official language test scores, unless exempted.

Please review the department application check list before applying online. Read the how-to guide for application procedures.

Religion PhD Feb. 1 Dec. 1 n/a

Funding opportunities include a variety of entrance scholarships and fellowships, which are available on a competitive basis. Consideration for entrance awards is given to applicants applying for fall admission, and is automatically part of the admission process.

Teaching assistantships are available and awarded to students on a competitive basis. Faculty members offer research assistant positions based on their own research grants.

Many of our students are also funded through provincial (FRQSC) and Federal (SSHRC) grants. Other funding opportunities are available through The Azrieli Institute of Israel Studies and The Institute for Canadian Jewish Studies.

For additional information, please consult Concordia’s graduate funding page and Financial Aid and Awards.

The Department has unique strengths in the areas of Canadian Jewish Studies, Religions and Cultures in Roman Late Antiquity, Iranian Studies, and Women, Gender and Sexuality (WGS). Faculty are well-represented in numerous publications.

The Faculty hosts a monthly Women, Gender and Sexuality Seminar that attracts students and faculty from around the university and from other local universities. This seminar brings world-class faculty to present their research in the department. Recent visitors include: Isabelle Clark-Decés (Princeton); Robert Orsi (Northwestern University); Caroline Walker Bynum (Emerita Columbia); and Joan Wallach Scott (Institute for Advanced Studies). 

The Department of Religions and Cultures boasts a vibrant graduate student community with in-house opportunities for career development, networking, and research creation.

Graduate students in the department foster an impressive array of projects, including an active student organization, the Graduate Religion Students Association (GRSA), Journal of Religion and Culture (JRC), and the Annual Graduate Interdisciplinary Conference (AGIC), now in its 22nd year. Students are also encouraged to participate in other department activities, such as guest lectures and faculty colloquia.

Review a list of recent thesis topics, and read about some of our exceptional graduate students. Many of our graduate students hold prestigious grants, and routinely publish and present their work in local, national, and international venues. 

Graduates of our program go on to careers in academia, government and non-profit agencies, as well as positions in religious or community organizations.

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