The Department of Religion offers the Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in three specialty fields:
· Religion in the Americas
· Religions of Asia
· Religion and nature.
Minimum requirements for these degrees are given in the Graduate Degrees section of this catalog.
The first two specialty fields provide advanced education in the academic study of religion focusing on the religions and religious experiences of indigenous peoples. The third specialty field addresses the religious and ethical dimensions of human attitudes and practices regarding the natural world. Specific and current requirements are given at http://www.religion.ufl.edu under “Graduate Program.” In special instances, and with the agreement of the supervisory committee and two sponsoring faculty members, master’s degree students may choose an area outside the three specialty fields.
In addition to materials requested by the Graduate School for admission, applicants must send directly to the Religion Department the following evidence of aptitude and interest
· Three references from persons competent to evaluate the applicant’s potential for graduate work
· An essay of 3 to 5 double-spaced, typewritten pages identifying the applicant’s goals and particular interests pertinent to the three available specialty fields (this essay is extremely important and applicants should attend to it carefully)
· A writing sample.
Beyond these requirements, applicants need to show clear evidence of solid preparation before admission. This usually includes formal study of the primary language in the specialty field. Acceptable scores on the GRE General Test are required. In addition to evidence of preparation and academic promise, the Department gives careful consideration to the fit between an applicant’s central scholarly interests and the resources the Department and University have to offer.
Master of Arts: The M.A. degree provides a broad background in the study of religious traditions, theoretical orientations in the discipline, and an initial concentration in one of the three specialty fields. Course work culminates in a thesis and oral examination on the thesis and course work.
Total credits: Thirty credit hours are required. These include Method and Theory I and II, the core course(s) of the major field (or equivalent for those not in one of the three specialty fields), and 6 hours of thesis research credits. The additional hours shall consist of further courses in the specialty field, other graduate seminars, and up to 6 hours of research language study.
Language study:All M.A. students are required to demonstrate competency in a scholarly language other than English before beginning the thesis. Most languages are acceptable, though students should consult the individual field requirements. The chosen language must be approved by the student’s mentor and the graduate coordinator.
Thesis: Each student, guided by a supervisory committee, will prepare a Master of Arts thesis, acceptable to the Department of Religion and the Graduate School, and undergo an oral examination.
Promotion to doctoral status: The Department anticipates admitting only the best qualified M.A. students to the doctoral program. Resident graduate students who wish to apply for doctoral status (i.e., permission to fulfill requirements leading to doctoral qualifying examinations) must apply during the semester before they wish that status to be changed. A review and decision will be made by the field faculty and the graduate committee.
Doctor of Philosophy: The Ph.D. program trains future scholars to conduct original research and teach in colleges, universities, and other educational, governmental, and nongovernmental institutions. A student usually enters with a religion master’s degree either from this or another institution. Those admitted with master’s degrees in disciplines other than religion may petition to bypass the religion master’s degree with additional religion course work. All students are admitted into one of the three specialty fields and must fulfill the requirements of that field, as outlined. In addition, all students are encouraged to take courses in other departments to support work in their specialty field.
Course requirements: The University of Florida requires 90 hours of course work for the Ph.D. These may include up to 30 hours from a completed M.A. degree. The number of hours credited toward the Ph.D. is at the discretion of department faculty. A minimum of 45 hours is devoted to course work at the doctoral level. The specific distribution of course work depends on the specialization but will include intensive work in the major area of specialization, 6 hours of method and theory (If not taken at the M.A. level) and 12 hours devoted to dissertation writing and research.
Language requirements: All doctoral students must demonstrate proficiency in at least one and in many cases two languages other than English. The chosen language(s) as well as how and when the student’s competence will be judged must be approved by the student’s supervisory committee chair. Frequently language competence is documented by 1) taking an appropriate course or courses in the language with a grade of “B” or better, or 2) passing a translation exam (usually administered by a department member or a language department at the University). Basic course work for scholarly languages will not count toward the required 90 credit hours. However, students studying a scholarly language connected to their research needs (above and beyond basic competence) can receive 6 (or more) credit hours for such advanced courses toward the required 90 total credit hours, with approval of the student’s supervisory committee chair.
Qualifying examinations: Qualifying examinations form a bridge between course work and dissertation research. Normally students will take qualifying examinations during their third year in residence. The precise areas of questioning and the reading list are decided by the supervisory committee in consultation with the student, well in advance of the examinations, but no later than the beginning of the term in which the student intends to take the qualifying examinations.
Dissertation proposal: Each doctoral candidate submits a formal dissertation proposal to the candidate’s supervisory committee chair at least 3 weeks before the end of the semester after the qualifying examination.
Admission to candidacy: On successfully completing the qualifying examination and the dissertation proposal, and all other course and language requirements, and with the approval of the supervisory committee, students make formal application to the Department and Graduate School for admission to Ph.D. candidacy.
Dissertation and its defense: The final years of the program are devoted to dissertation research and writing. The student is expected to present the completed dissertation and defend it at a public oral defense conducted by the supervisory committee.
Mentoring: Each student is assigned a faculty mentor on admission to the program, based on expressions of faculty interest and the student’s intended area of concentration. The mentor and graduate coordinator answer questions and provide support for the student in choosing courses and planning a program. By the end of the second semester, all master’s degree students must designate their supervisory committee chair and one additional department committee member. By the end of the second semester, all doctoral students must designate their committee chair. By no later than the end of the fourth semester of study, all doctoral students must designate a four-member supervisory committee including the chair and one member from outside the department. For details about the programs listed above, visit http://www.religion.ufl.edu.
The department offers a combined program designed for superior students who have the ability to pursue an accelerated program leading to the Bachelor of Arts and the Master of Arts degree in Religion.