A Religion master’s degree or PhD from Temple University will open new doors for you in your career while teaching you how to examine the world through new lenses. Learn more about our Religion MA or PhD, our academic partnerships and exchanges, the admissions process, your academic concentration, your options for funding graduate school, the Religion Graduate Student Association and our tuition and fees.

Earn an MA or PhD in Religion

As part of a major secular public university, Temple University’s Department of Religion treats religion in a scholarly manner without bias or favoritism for one religious or philosophical tradition over another and without preference for any particular form of spirituality or any single methodological or theoretical approach. The academic study of religion is multidisciplinary and draws from these faculty-driven themes:

  • Critical Investigation of Religion and Human Differences: This area builds upon and acknowledges our legacy of interreligious, cross-religious dialogue and critical engagement—a legacy that began 50 years ago. We continue to work among and between religious traditions upholding a strong commitment to the intersections of religion with race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality and disability.
  • Historical Texts and Traditions: This emphasis involves the careful study of texts as an important point of access into religious belief systems, traditions, rituals and practices in their historical (and current) contexts. Among the texts studied are the Hebrew Bible, New Testament and Early Christian texts, Rabbinic texts, Muslim religious and jurisprudential texts, and Chinese (Buddhist, Confucian, Taoist) religious and philosophical texts.
  • Religion and Society: What is religion’s influence on society? How do social forces influence religion? These questions have gripped intellectuals for centuries, and they remain central to the study of religion today. All scholars of religion must consider certain fundamental social questions. For example, what is the impact of religion on American politics? What is bovine veneration and why does Hinduism encourage it?

Students in our MA or PhD in Religion degree programs take a combination of foundations courses and specialized seminars. Foundations courses cover a broad range of religious traditions. Each course covers the basic thought, practices and history of one of the following: African religions, African American religions, Buddhism, Chinese religions, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam or Judaism. Other Foundations courses deal with methodologies in the study of religion, including historical-textual, philosophical and social scientific approaches. Advanced or specialized seminars deal with religion in context of ethnicity, place, race and time.

Temple’s Master of Arts in Religion degree focuses on the multidisciplinary academic study of religious traditions and texts. The MA program provides increased cultural and cross-cultural analytical skills.

Temple’s Religion PhD program focuses on the multidisciplinary academic study of global religious traditions and texts. Our faculty have a broad range of specializations, giving our program both breadth and cross-cultural diversity. Visit our faculty page for faculty members currently accepting students. **Please Note - The PhD program is not accepting applications for the 2023-2024 academic year. You can visit the Religion Graduate Bulletin to learn more about the PhD program.** 

Degree Offerings

Academic Partnerships and Exchanges

We have strong relationships with other programs in the College of Liberal Arts in addition to outside secular and religious institutions. These include the Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, the Lutheran Theological Seminary, the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Religious Studies and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia. A coordinated MA/PhD program in Islamic-Christian Relations is conducted with Hartford Theological Seminary and a Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies is offered in cooperation with Temple’s Women’s Studies Program.

Admissions Process

Please visit the Religion MA Admissions page to learn more about graduate program requirements, dates and deadlines and instructions on how to apply. We strongly encourage PhD applicants to reach out to faculty members currently accepting students prior to applying to the program.

Academic Concentration

As a student working toward your MA or PhD in Religion, you’ll be guided toward a concentration based on your interests and the available resources at the department. View our Graduate Faulty page to see faculty members that are currently accepting students.

Possible concentrations include:

  • Africa Diaspora
  • African American Religious Traditions
  • Biblical Studies
  • Buddhism
  • Gender and Religion
  • Islamic Studies
  • Jewish Studies
  • Religion and Social Science

Temple Graduate School Funding

Financial assistance may be awarded to master’s degree and PhD students based on academic merit. The Religion Department nominates the strongest candidates for University Fellowships and offers a limited number of Teaching Assistantships. We reserve University Fellowships and Teaching Assistantships for PhD students. Due to limited resources, the department is not able to provide funding to all students.

Tuition and Fees

For more than 130 years, we have focused on providing a world-class education at an affordable price. Just compare Temple to other universities and see what we mean. Temple tuition rates vary by college or school (the College of Liberal Arts does NOT charge any additional fees on top of the university’s base rate), residency status, student level and more. Use the Temple Tuition Calculator to estimate your tuition rate.

Graduate Resources

Religion Graduate Student Association

The GSA gives support and a voice to graduate student concerns. Graduate students in the Religion Department are automatically members of the Graduate Student Association (GSA). Temple University’s Department of Religion holds a permanent seat on the National Committee for Graduate Students of the American Academy of Religion (AAR).

  • RELGSA Listserv: Students of the American Academy of Religion (AAR). RELGSA Listserv: The RELGSA (Religion Graduate Students Association) Mailing List is for the exclusive use of the graduate students in Temple University’s Department of Religion. This list is one of the main ways we communicate with each other, exchange information and discuss issues pertaining to our department and programs. Subscription to the list is open to all current graduate students. The current list administrator is Ivanessa Arostegui. If you have questions or wish to subscribe, send them to Ivanessa Arostegui. Before you participate in the Listserv, please review the guidelines.