Program Overview

The Claremont School of Theology offers a 48-unit Doctor of Philosophy in Religion degree with five areas of concentration:

  • Comparative Theology and Philosophy
  • Hebrew Bible and Jewish Studies
  • New Testament and Christian Origins
  • Process Studies
  • Religion, Ethics and Society

Students applying to the Ph.D. in Religion will ordinarily have completed a Master’s Degree but, with the approval of the faculty in the field, may be admitted to the Ph.D. after having completed a minimum of 24 hours of graduate work appropriate to the field of study.

Common Requirements

The Ph.D. Colloquium Intensive is a one week course offered during the January Interterm that is taken by students during their first year of study. Early in their program, students receive intensive training on navigating library resources, adhering to particular standards of style, and appropriate documentation to assist them in writing expectations for doctoral study. Particular attention is given to The Chicago Manual of Style as it is the standard used in all programs at CST.

This intensive class covers research methods and resources as well as bibliographic styles and documentation.

Students in the Ph.D. in Religion program must show competence in two research languages. The language requirements must be met before making application for qualifying examinations.

Unit credit toward the degree is not allowed for courses taken to enable a student to meet language requirements. The language requirement is to be met by examination or by an approved course. All language examinations can only take place during the Fall and Spring semesters. The Hebrew Bible and New Testament and Christian Origins concentrations require additional languages, some of which may be taken for academic credit. For specific language requirements in each area, see below.

The primary purpose of qualifying examinations is to build and demonstrate broad knowledge in the areas of the examinations, the ability to think critically in these areas, and the ability to think deeply about particular issues and thinkers.

More specifically, the process of qualifying examination research, preparation, and examination builds upon and goes beyond course work, serves as foundational research for the dissertation, and prepares a student to teach in the areas of the exams.

Information specific to qualifying exams for each concentration can be found below.

The dissertation must be based on independent research and must demonstrate the student’s competence in the field of study. All Ph.D. dissertations must meet specified editorial standards.

Comparative Theology and Philosophy (CTP)

The Ph.D. program in Comparative Theology and Philosophy (CTP) develops doctoral-level competence in the comparative study of religious beliefs, worldviews, and practices. Religious beliefs and practices are frequently analyzed solely from the perspective of a single religious tradition, or they are reduced to their social, political, or even biological functions.

The CTP program at CST presupposes both that beliefs are an important part of the study of religious traditions and that an adequate comprehension of any given religion requires the study of its similarities to and differences from other traditions.

Doctoral students may write dissertations focused primarily on a single tradition (Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, or Hindu theology, for example), but the program as a whole requires interreligious competence and in-depth knowledge of the “location” of one’s own reflection in contrast to alternatives. Philosophical resources—whether they are seen as intrinsic to religious reflection or as representing competing, non-religious alternatives—are crucial to success in this program.

Graduates concentrating in Comparative Theology and Philosophy are expected to:

  1. Demonstrate doctoral-level mastery of the history of thought and belief (where relevant, the “theology”) of at least one religious tradition.
  2. Develop doctoral-level competence in at least one other religious or non-religious belief system and in the central methodologies for comparative theological and philosophical studies.
  3. Recognize connections between thought and practice, social context and belief, religious commitments and ethical or political commitments.
  4. Demonstrate their mastery of these fields in a culminating doctoral thesis that sheds new light on beliefs in a particular tradition through comparative, historical, philosophical, and/or theological study.
Students concentrating in CTP will work with an academic advisor to determine how best to structure the course of study. Choice of advisor will depend greatly on the student‘s curricular choices and particular interests. Students are also required to:

  • Demonstrate competence in two research languages
  • Show competence in at least two religious traditions
  • Complete coursework that indicates sufficient breadth in their research fields
  • Attend the Ph.D. Colloquium
  • Receive approval of their Dissertation Prospectus from their dissertation committee
  • Pass four qualifying examinations that demonstrate doctoral-level competence in these fields
  • Prepare a Dissertation Proposal and defend it during their orals
  • Write and defend a dissertation that extends knowledge in their particular area(s) of specialization
In the CTP concentration, students provide a rationale for the choice of languages, demonstrating that their two chosen languages are most pertinent to their research interests. English may be considered one of the research languages if English is not the native language of the student. The student’s selection of research languages is considered approved when the student’s advisor and two other CTP faculty members approve the selection.

It is the student‘s responsibility to secure instruction in the research language. If the student receives a grade of Conditional Pass or Fail, the examiner will provide written feedback to the student. The student is required to retake the translation examination until s/he receives a grade of Pass or High Pass. Competency may be demonstrated through:

  • Translation of a document in the language, receiving a Grade of Pass or High Pass from a CST-approved examiner
  • Evidence of studying in a national school system for at least three years in that language at the high school level or above
  • Evidence of passing appropriate language classes or exams from other institutions or institutes, such as the Goethe Institute for German or CGU’s summer Spanish class for Ph.D. Religion students.
Students must demonstrate competence in at least two religious traditions. One tradition may be the student’s own tradition or the tradition of his/her primary research. Students must be well versed in the major tenets, the contextual setting, the forms of practice, and the major conversations in the scholarship of both traditions. Competency can be demonstrated through a grade of B+ or above in two graduate-level courses, documented either on a transcript from previous coursework no more than seven years old or through courses taken during the Ph.D. program at CST. If taken during Ph.D. studies at CST, the credits may be applied to the student’s 48 units of coursework.

Students may also satisfy this requirement through professional academic activities related to the religious tradition in question. Examples include publishing an article in a peer-reviewed journal, reading a paper at a major academic conference, teaching a course at an accredited institution, or serving as a teaching assistant in two courses on that religious tradition. Meeting the requirement by any of these means requires advance approval by the student’s advisor and two other members of the CTP faculty.

Students must satisfy the Interreligious Requirement before taking their Qualifying Exams. Students are expected to draw on their knowledge of these religious traditions during the course of their doctoral research and dissertation writing.

Students in the Doctor of Philosophy in Religion program are required to register for the Ph.D. Colloquium at Claremont School of Theology every semester they are in coursework.  Students do not receive academic credit for the Colloquium which meets about once a month. The events in the Colloquium series and the conversations they engender provide opportunities to learn, develop, and practice research and professional skills for the academy.

Topics include research methods, making academic presentations, developing curriculum vitae, interviewing for jobs, etc. Advanced doctoral students may teach some of the sessions, which provides an opportunity for advanced students to be supportive of newer students, offer their experience and wisdom, and foster community among doctoral students.

Students must have completed coursework, the language requirement, and the interreligious requirement before taking their qualifying exams. Students will take four written exams over the course of two weeks, followed approximately one week later by a two-hour oral examination.

The examinations are:

  1. Individual Tradition Exam I. Two of the four exams cover the theology and philosophy of an individual religious tradition. Normally each of these two exams is on a single tradition, e.g. one on Islam and one on Buddhism. But the advisor may also authorize an exam that covers multiple related traditions, e.g. the Dharma traditions of India, the religions of Japan, or indigenous traditions. These exams will reflect the core intellectual commitments of the CTP doctoral concentration as described above and will include the history, philosophy, and theology of the tradition(s) in question.
  2. Individual Tradition Exam II.
  3. The Methodology and Epistemology of Comparative Theology/Comparative Philosophy. In the Methodology exam the student will demonstrate doctoral-level competence in the methodology of comparative studies and the epistemological questions raised by this field. The Methodology exam includes major thinkers, major theories and approaches to comparative work, and major debates about the methodology of comparative studies. Tensions between the comparativist approach and traditional understandings of the religions in question should also be thematized.
  4. Comparative Theology/Comparative Philosophy. In the Comparative exam, students demonstrate a doctoral-level ability to compare and contrast three or more religious traditions. At least one Abrahamic religion and at least one of the religions of Indian and/or Asia must be represented. With prior approval of his/her advisor, a student may choose to include a philosophical tradition that functions as a religion for its adherents.

Hebrew Bible and Jewish Studies

The PhD program in Hebrew Bible and Jewish Studies requires rigorous training in reading biblical and Jewish texts in their original languages; research languages such as modern Hebrew, German, French, Yiddish, and others; and in the modern critical study of Biblical and Jewish literature, thought, and history from antiquity through modern times. Training in the program presumes competence in the broader field of Religious studies. Since this Ph.D. program draws on the faculty resources of the Academy of Jewish Religion/CA (AJR/CA) as well as Claremont School of Theology it is expected that students will be taking some of their classes at AJR/CA and some at CST.  Students register for these classes through CST but will attend class at both CST and the AJR/CA campus in Los Angeles, which is accessible by car and by train.

Students in the Hebrew Bible and Jewish Studies Concentration choose from one of two tracks:

Hebrew Bible (HB). The HB track focuses on interpreting the Hebrew Bible in relationship to the ancient Near East and the Hellenistic worlds. Students in the Hebrew Bible track may further focus their studies in one of three areas:

  1. Literary-historical and theological interpretation of the Hebrew Bible;
  2. Archeological and historical interpretation of the Hebrew Bible in the contexts of the larger ancient Near Eastern and Greco-Roman worlds;
  3. Second-Temple and Rabbinic period Jewish literature and history, including textual versions of the Hebrew Bible.

Hebrew Bible and Jewish Studies (HBJS). The HBJS track focuses on interpreting the Hebrew Bible in relationship to the larger context from ancient Judaism through modern times. Students in the Hebrew Bible and Jewish Studies track may further focus their studies in one of three areas:

  1. Interpretation of the Hebrew Bible in the contexts of the ancient Near Eastern, Greco-Roman, and Jewish worlds;
  2. Interpretation of Rabbinic literature (including Jewish mysticism) in the contexts of late antiquity and the subsequent development of Judaism and Jewish thought;
  3. Study of modern Jewish thought, literature, and history.

Students will choose a track and a primary area of focus within that track. The other two areas will serve as secondary foci. Dissertation advisors and committee members will be chosen from among the faculty members active in the CST Hebrew Bible and Jewish Studies program.

Students completing the Ph.D. in Religion with a concentration in Hebrew Bible and Jewish Studies at CST are expected to:

  1. Have full competence in the interpretation of the Hebrew Bible and Jewish Studies and related literature according to methods accepted by modern critical scholarship;
  2. Have full command of the relevant biblical, ancient Near Eastern, Jewish, and modern research languages in the field;
  3. Understand the historical, multicultural, and multi-religious context in which the Hebrew Bible and Judaism arose;
  4. Contribute to the field through new research, appropriate scholarly publications, lectures at professional scholarly organizations, and engagement in other academic, religious, and public contexts;
  5. Relate the study of the Hebrew Bible and Jewish Studies to the broader world of other religious, theological, and public contexts in positive and healing ways.
Students in the Hebrew Bible track must pass research language exams in French and German as well as an examination in Biblical Hebrew and demonstrate competence in Aramaic. Students are also required to study at least one additional Semitic language. Normally, the additional language will be Akkadian, although Ugaritic, Syriac, Arabic, and other relevant languages may be substituted with the permission of the student’s program advisor. Aramaic and the additional Semitic language may be taken for academic credit.

Students in the Hebrew Bible and Jewish Studies track must demonstrate competence in biblical, rabbinic, and modern Hebrew and Aramaic. In addition, students must pass exams in two research languages, such as modern Hebrew, German, French, Yiddish, or other languages deemed necessary by the student’s program adviser. Students entering the program must already demonstrate proficiency in Hebrew by examination. Advanced Hebrew, Aramaic, Koine Greek, Syriac, and Arabic, may be taken for academic credit.

A principle of the Ph.D. program is that doctoral level work in Hebrew Bible and Jewish Studies should presuppose general knowledge of Hebrew Bible, Jewish Studies, and the wider field of religion, such as that provided by an undergraduate degree in religion or Jewish studies, an M.A. program in Jewish studies or religious studies, and/or education in a rabbinical/cantorial school or in a school of theology. In addition, students may take up to two courses (8 credits) in religious traditions outside of Judaism.

In consultation with one’s academic adviser during the first semester of study, students will determine how to satisfy breadth requirements in two of the following areas:

  1. Theoretical study of religion;
  2. Comparative religions;
  3. Philosophical, theological, and/or moral reasoning.

Students will select the areas of their breadth requirements in consultation with and approval of the adviser within the first year of coursework and must fulfill all breadth requirements with a “pass” or “excellent pass” before taking qualifying exams.  Competency in these areas can be validated in any of the following ways and their combination in accordance with the adviser: previous transcript, by course work, by teaching experience, and by research:

  1. Competence demonstrated by previous transcript means that a student has taken one or more graduate courses in the breadth area that are no more than seven years old from the date of entrance into the School and in which the student has received a grade of “B+” or better.
  2. Competence demonstrated by coursework means that a student may enroll in one or more graduate courses per area at CGU or AJRCA after beginning the Ph.D. program and receive a grade of “B+” or better.  Please note that courses taken to fulfill breadth area requirements cannot count toward the 48-units required for graduation. Students can audit these courses, but must formally enroll as an auditor and must request a written memo from the course professor certifying that the student has completed all work for the course and would have received a B+ or better.
  3. Competence demonstrated by teaching experience means that a student has taught one course (or served as a teaching assistant in two courses) at an accredited undergraduate or graduate institution in the breadth area.
  4. Competence demonstrated by research means that a student has published an article in a peer-reviewed journal or as a relevant book chapter (or had either accepted for publication), delivered a paper at an academic conference with a clearly recognizable national or international reputation (e.g., American Academy of Religion, American Philosophical Association, Association for Jewish Studies), or engaged in forms of Internet activity comparable to research qualifications mentioned and accepted by faculty.

Students must complete all breadth requirements before taking qualifying exams.

Core Requirements for All Students – 28 units  
THB 4033Aramaic4 units
Minimum 16 credit hours in Hebrew Bible 16 units
Free Electives8 units
Hebrew Bible Track Additional Requirements – 20 units 
Additional Hebrew Bible Electives16 units
One additional Semitic language, such as Akkadian, Ugaritic, Syriac, or Arabic4 units
Hebrew Bible and Jewish Studies Track Additional Requirements – 20 units 
Minimum 16 credit hours in Post-Biblical Jewish Studies 16 units
AHB4500A and AHB4500B: 5th Year (Rabbinic) Hebrew at AJR/CA4 units

Within the 48 unit degree, 16 credit hours are usually taken with the student’s program advisor and 8 credit hours are taken with each of the two additional committee members.  Students who test out of a language requirement usually taken for academic credit (Aramaic, one of the Semitic languages, or Rabbinic Hebrew) may add those units to their Free Elective category.

Normally coursework will be at the 4000 level. Doctoral (4000-level) coursework presumes the reading of biblical, Jewish, and other texts in the original languages and the use of secondary research in German, French, or modern Hebrew. When it is necessary for a student to take a 3000-level course (with the permission of the student’s program advisor), the instructor will stipulate additional requirements, including the reading of biblical, Jewish, or other texts in the original languages, secondary reading in German, French, modern Hebrew, and other requirements deemed necessary by the instructor.

Students concentrating in Hebrew Bible and Jewish Studies will complete one substantial research paper, which will be presented to the Hebrew Bible and Jewish Studies student bodies and faculty at the end of the fourth semester of study. Students should have final clearance from their adviser for their paper topics by the end of the third semester.  Papers are meant to aid students in the process of thinking through their dissertation topics.

Students in their first year of study will be required to provide a substantive response to one of the papers being presented. The assignments of respondents will be determined in consultation with Hebrew Bible and Jewish Studies faculty. All Hebrew Bible and Jewish Studies students still enrolled in the program are strongly encouraged to attend the yearly colloquium.

After completing coursework, students take four qualifying examinations and submit a dissertation proposal. There is an oral exam on all four written exams and the proposal.

New Testament and Christian Origins

The Ph.D. program in New Testament and Christian Origins at Claremont School of Theology provides advanced training in the critical interpretation of ancient Christian texts for students preparing for research and teaching in institutions of higher education, religious and community service, and other relevant contexts. The program focuses on the New Testament and related literatures in the context of post­-biblical Judaism, classical Greek and Hellenistic literature, religion and philosophy, and the cultures of the early Roman Empire.

Students completing the Ph.D. in Religion with a concentration in New Testament and Christian Origins at Claremont are expected to:

  1. Have competence in the interpretation of the New Testament and related literature according to methods accepted by modern critical scholarship;
  2. Have command of the relevant biblical, ancient Near Eastern, and modern research languages in the field;
  3. Understand the historical, multicultural, and multi-religious context in which the New Testament arose;
  4. Contribute to the field through new research, appropriate scholarly publications, lectures at professional scholarly organizations, and engagement in other academic, religious, and public contexts;
  5. Relate the study of New Testament and Christian Origins to the broader world of other religious, theological, and public contexts in positive and healing ways.
In addition to passing language exams in French and German, students concentrating in New Testament and Christian Origins must pass one exam in New Testament Greek and take courses in and/or pass exams in Latin, Hebrew, and either Aramaic, Coptic, or Syriac.
A principle of the Ph.D. program is that doctoral level work in any particular area should presuppose a general knowledge of the wider field of Religion, such as is provided by an undergraduate degree in religion, an M.A. in religious studies, and/or education in a school of theology. Breadth Requirements at CST have three main purposes:

  • To demonstrate master’s level competence in the student’s area of concentration and in related theological and/or religious fields.
  • To establish a base of common knowledge considered prerequisite to doctoral study at Claremont School of Theology.
  • To demonstrate sufficient preparation to teach introductory undergraduate courses in the fields tested.

In consultation with one’s academic advisor during the first semester of study, students will determine how to satisfy breadth requirements in two of the following areas:

  • Theoretical study of religion
  • Comparative religions
  • Philosophical, Theological and/or Moral Reasoning

Students will select the areas of their breadth requirements in consultation with and approval of the advisor within the first year of coursework and must fulfill all breadth requirements with a “pass” or “excellent pass” before taking qualifying exams. Competency in these areas can be validated in any of the following ways and their combination in accordance with the advisor: by previous transcript, by course work, by teaching experience, and by research:

  • Competence demonstrated by previous transcript means that a student has taken one or more graduate courses in the breadth area that are no more than seven years old from the date of entrance into the School and in which the student has received a grade of “B+” or better.
  • Competence demonstrated by course work means that a student may enroll in one or more graduate courses per area at CST or CGU after beginning the Ph.D. program and receive a grade of B+ or better. Please note that courses taken to fulfill breadth area requirements cannot count toward the 48-­units required for graduation. Students can audit these courses, but must formally enroll as an auditor and must request a written memo from the course professor certifying that the student has completed all work for the course and would have received a B+ or better.
  • Competence demonstrated by teaching experience means that a student has taught one course (or served as a teaching assistant in two courses) at an accredited undergraduate or graduate institution in the breadth area.
  • Competence demonstrated by research means that a student has published an article in a peer­-reviewed journal or as a relevant book chapter (or had either accepted for publication), delivered a paper at an academic conference with a clearly recognizable national or international reputation (e.g., American Academy of Religion, Society of Christian Ethics, American Philosophical Association, Catholic Theological Society of America), or engaged in forms of Internet activity comparable to research qualifications mentioned and accepted by faculty.
  • Other analogous work, as accepted by the area faculty

Students must complete all breadth requirements before taking qualifying exams.

The Ph.D in New Testament and Christian Origins requires 12 four-unit classes.

TNT4033 – Advanced Reading in New Testament Greek

Up to 4 classes may be taken in related fields of study that are strictly relevant to the student’s research agenda, as agreed upon by the student and advisor. Related fields of study are usually in the area of Hebrew Bible, Theology, History, or Religious Studies.

Up to 2 classes may be in Ancient Biblical Languages (Coptic, Syriac, or Aramaic).

Remaining coursework must be taken in New Testament Studies (TNT4xxx).

After completing coursework, students take four qualifying examinations and submit a dissertation proposal. There is an oral exam on all four written exams and the proposal. The four exams are as follows:

  • One exam on the methodologies in the study of the New Testament
  • One exam on the historical and cultural contexts of Christian origins
  • Two exams in areas relevant to the student’s dissertation

Process Studies

The purpose of the program in Process Studies (subtitled “Eco-­Process Studies in Culture and Religion”) is to train future leaders in process­-relational approaches to the study of ecology, culture, and religion today. Process Studies combines a variety of newly emergent fields and integrative methods in order to address key areas of debate that arise at the intersection of religion, culture, and nature.

The program aims to provide academic leaders, religious leaders, and leaders in society with the tools necessary for understanding the interconnections between ecology, culture, and religion in this postmodern and pluralistic world.

They will be trained in emerging theoretical perspectives that help to re­-conceive and overcome fundamental dichotomies and binaries in contemporary culture. Using the techniques of postmodern/poststructuralist scholarship in particular, students will learn to formulate a truly pluralistic and differentiated worldview, one that is appropriate to our contemporary society and able to contribute to transformational change.

The Process Studies concentration draws on and seeks to integrate the whole range of contemporary studies in culture and religion, including their theological, philosophical, cultural, environmental, and interreligious dimensions. It aims to train students in the integrative shift that has been initiated by process theology, so as to enable them to work for a creative transformation of our world in the context of the most pressing concerns of our day.

The diverse fields of interaction will include philosophies in Western and non-­Western traditions, theologies and philosophies of religion in diverse traditions, comparative religious studies, process studies and process theology, gender studies, feminist theory and feminist theologies, cultural studies (critical theories and liberation theologies), ecological studies (philosophies, theologies, and spiritualities), and the various fields of religion and science.

At the center of the Process Studies program is a commitment to breadth. We seek to educate students not with a narrow specialization, but with the ability to understand the inherent connectivity of process thought and to apply process insights with broad regions of human experience and scholarship. But it is possible to obtain such interrelations and applications only when students develop an equally broad range of competencies.

In particular, we expect some knowledge of methods and theories in the following five areas: Process Philosophy, Philosophy of Religion / Philosophy of Science, Constructive Theology, Postmodern / Poststructuralist Studies, and Comparative Religious Studies. Students will deepen their knowledge in these five areas through course work, outside studies (e.g., reading, papers, classes, or book reviews), their internship program, the interreligious requirement, and preparation for their qualifying examinations.

Students successfully completing the Ph.D. in Religion with a concentration in Process Studies are expected to:

  1. Demonstrate thematic and conceptual knowledge of Whiteheadian process thought, postmodern/ poststructuralist studies, philosophy of religion, philosophy of science, Western Christian theology, and religious pluralism.
  2. Identify cognate ideas, connections and tensions in historical and  contemporary theologies, philosophies, cultures and ecologies.
  3. Utilize the elements of process studies in conducting new research on culture, ecology and/or religion.
  4. Show a clear understanding of the influence of cultural diversity – historical, religious, and/or contemporary cultures – on the chosen field of study.
  5. Communicate the ways in which research in process studies responsibly engages matters of pressing social concern.
Students must demonstrate competence in at least two religious traditions. One tradition may be the student’s own tradition or the tradition of one’s primary research. Students must be well versed in the major tenets, the contextual setting, the forms of practice and the major conversations in the scholarship of each religious tradition. Competency can be demonstrated through a grade of B+ or above in two graduate­-level courses for each tradition, documented on a transcript from previous coursework no more than seven years old or courses taken during the Ph.D. program. If taken at CGU, the credits may be applied to the 48 unit degree requirements. Students may also satisfy this requirement by:

  • Teaching a course at an accredited institution or serving as a teaching assistant in two courses.
  • Publishing an article in a peer­-reviewed journal, publishing a relevant book chapter (or had either accepted for publication), publishing three book reviews in a peer-­reviewed journal (or had them accepted for publication), delivering a paper at an academic conference with a clearly recognizable national or international reputation (e.g., American Academy of Religion, Society of Christian Ethics, American Philosophical Association, Catholic Theological Society of America), or engaging in forms of Internet activity comparable to research qualifications mentioned and accepted by faculty.

Students must satisfy the Interreligious Requirement before applying for Qualifying Exams. Students are expected to integrate their knowledge of multiple religious traditions as they utilize the elements of process studies in conducting new research on culture, ecology and/or religion.

In the Process Studies concentration, students provide a rationale for the choice of languages, demonstrating that the two chosen languages are most pertinent to her or his research interests. For students in Process Studies, English may be considered one of the research languages if English is not the native language of the student. It is the student’s responsibility to secure instruction in the research language.

If the student receives a “conditional pass” or “fail,” the examiner will provide written feedback to the student. The student is required to repeat the task until she/he received a “pass” or “excellent pass.” If students make the case that the proposed research languages support his/her planned research but are less relevant than the usual research languages, he/she has to convince one faculty of the program if the others don’t have objections. Competency may be demonstrated through:

  • Translation of document in the language – receiving a pass/ high pass from a CST/CGU examiner.
  • Evidence of three years of high school or college taking a full course of subjects required in a particular national school system conducted in the language.
  • Evidence of passing language classes and exams from other institutions or local language places.
Students are required to attend doctoral-­level colloquia where they will have the opportunity to learn, develop and practice research and professional skills for the academy. Topics covered will include research methods, making academic presentations, developing curriculum vitae, interviewing for jobs, etc. Some sessions will include all Ph.D. students in Religion; other sessions are specifically for students in the Process Studies concentration.

The Ph.D. colloquia will be taught by CST faculty, library staff, Center for Process Studies (CPS) affiliated staff, and advanced doctoral students. Attendance will be taken and students must attend 80 percent of the sessions for each year that they are in residency.

Advanced doctoral students may teach some of the sessions, which provides an opportunity for advanced students to be supportive of newer students, offer their experience and wisdom, and foster community among doctoral students.

All students will be involved in the planning and implementation of at least one public lecture, conference or class of the Center for Process Studies (CPS) and its affiliated research entities. The service should meet a CPS event need, be coordinated in collaboration with CPS-­affiliated staff, and improve the quality of the CPS event.

Each student should have input in the development and/or implementation of the CPS event, using his or her academic knowledge and skills in service to CPS, and develop an understanding of the application of process thought. At the completion of this work, students will submit a written reflection on the service-­learning experience (see the CPS service learning reflection standards attached below).

CPS-­affiliated staff and the faculty advisor will evaluate the student, with a final report cataloged in the student’s file. If the student receives a “conditional pass” or “fail,” CPS staff and the faculty advisor will provide written feedback to the student. The student is required to repeat the task until s/he received a “pass” or “excellent pass.”

The service-­learning component helps students to communicate the ways in which research in process studies responsibly engages matters of pressing social concern. This Service­-Learning requirement must be completed before the student can set the date for the Oral Defense of the dissertation.

There is one required course: a non-­credit course on pedagogy and teaching tools. This course, taught, for instance, during the January interterm, teaches students the creation of a syllabus, student learning outcomes, learning and teaching strategies, and pedagogical theories. This requirement must be completed before the student can set the date for the Oral Defense of the dissertation.
At the time of the dissertation defense, the student will write a brief personal statement outlining implications of one’s research for responsible social engagement within a specified contemporary context. The personal statement helps students to communicate the ways in which research in process studies responsibly engages matters of pressing social concern.
Students must have completed coursework, the language requirement and the interreligious requirement before taking the qualifying exams. Students will take exams in four­-hour blocks of time (per exam) over the course of two weeks. Although all the exams will be distributed to all the committee members, one committee member has the primary responsibility for composing and grading each exam.

All students must successfully demonstrate competence in Process Philosophy, its methods, themes, and applications of process thought as based on A. N. Whitehead’s “philosophy of organism.” In addition, students must successfully demonstrate competence in three of the following topics:

  • Philosophy of Religion/Philosophy of Science: The student demonstrates that s/he is knowledgeable of the major conversations in philosophy of religion and philosophy of science.
  • Constructive Theology: The student demonstrates that s/he is knowledgeable in major conversations in historical and contemporary Western Christian theology.
  • Postmodern/poststructuralist studies: The student demonstrates that s/he is knowledgeable in methods and practices of postmodern/ poststructuralist studies.
  • Comparative Religious Studies: The student demonstrates that s/he is knowledgeable in comparing and contrasting at least three religious traditions. With prior approval of his/her advisor, a student may choose to include a philosophical tradition that functions as a religion for its adherents.

Religion, Ethics, and Society

The Ph.D. program in Religion, Ethics, and Society (RES) focuses on the intersection of the religious, the ethical, and the political. Viewing religion as both a source and subject for ethical reflection, students and faculty train their eyes on public spaces and the people who interact there as they engage pressing social, economic, and political questions.

In order to prepare students to engage this pluralistic, public space, students are engaged with dialogic competencies, knowledge of religious traditions other than their own, resources for theological reflection, a facility with a variety of methods for moral deliberation, and the critical tools for analysis and argumentation required to contribute thoughtful, publicly defensible ethical assessment.

The RES program is designed to provide a solid foundation in ethics while offering students the flexibility and resources necessary to develop an expertise in a cognate field (such as public policy, political theory, theology, or cultural studies). The core courses of the program cover philosophical, theological and religious, and social ethics.

Because ethics is an inherently interdisciplinary field, students will be encouraged to take courses in other schools that partner with Claremont School of Theology, such as Claremont Graduate University, Bayan Claremont, University of the West, and the Academy of Jewish Religion, California.

Students successfully completing the Ph.D. in Religion with a concentration in Religion, Ethics and Society are expected to:

  1. Develop scholarly expertise in the field of ethics as well as competence in related fields of study and situate their original ideas within the broader context of the academy.
  2. Be knowledgeable about sources and forms of ethical reflection; major thinkers and historical movements; contemporary issues and global contexts; and scholarship, including voices from the margins.
  3. Demonstrate dialogical competencies and critical tools for responsible ethical analysis and argumentation necessary to contribute thoughtful, publicly defensible ethical assessment in the academy, as well as in a pluralistic public sphere.
  4. Demonstrate a critical appreciation of religion as both source and subject for ethical reflection.
In addition to the general requirements of the Ph.D. in Religion, students concentrating in Religion, Ethics and Society choose courses from among three traditional forms of ethics:

  • Ethics with a Minor track (9 courses in Ethics, 3 courses in the second academic area of study)
  • Ethics with a Second Major track (6 courses in Ethics, 6 courses in the second academic area of study)

While in coursework, students must enroll and participate in the monthly, 0-unit PhD Colloquium, wherein they will gain skills in professional development.

Students have the freedom to select which two languages are most relevant to their research interests. RES faculty are prepared to give exams in French, German, and Spanish. In cases where a student wishes to pursue a different research language, she must first secure consent from her advisor and her own examiner (who is a faculty member at CGU or another peer institution).

If the student receives a “conditional pass” or “fail” in an approved language course, she must repeat the exam until she receives a “pass” or “high pass.”

Before determining the topics for qualifying exams, students set up a meeting with their dissertation committee to discuss the qualifying exam areas and topics as well as the dissertation topic. At least one week before this meeting, the student should provide the members of the committee with a dissertation prospectus (approximately 7 pages in length).

The student should then come to the meeting prepared to discuss it with the committee, who will offer advice on the project with an eye to formulating the dissertation proposal and preparing for the exam on this topic.

After the completion of the qualifying exams and successfully defending the exams in the Qualifying Exam Oral Defense, the student has one month to submit the final dissertation proposal (approximately 25 pages in length).

All students are required to take four written exams:

  1. General Exam: theories and methods in the study of religion, comparative religion.
  2. Ethics Exam: major philosophical and theological texts in the study of ethics in the West, from the classical to the contemporary period.
  3. Interdisciplinary Exam: major figures and texts from the fields of sociology, political science, economics, etc. that have had an impact on the field of religion, ethics, and society.
  4. Specialized Exam: major figures, texts, and issues that are central to one’s dissertation research.

Upon consent of the examiner in question and the dissertation advisor, students may elect to substitute one new paper of a minimum of 20 double-spaced pages in lieu of a written exam.  This paper may not have been written previously for coursework, conference presentation, or publication. In such a case, the student should demonstrate breadth of knowledge therein, and not attempt to advance a novel thesis as in the case of an ordinary paper (i.e., the paper should be equivalent to a 20+ page summative exercise).