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Religious Studies - PhD at Waterloo

Program information

Department/School Religious Studies 
Faculty Faculty of Arts
Admit term(s)

Fall (September - December)

Application and document submission deadline(s)

February 1 (for admission in September)

Delivery mode On-campus
Program type Doctoral, Joint, Research
Length of program 48 months (full-time)
Registration option(s) Full-time
Study option(s) Thesis
Research field(s) - Graduate research fields are used to better define a student’s research concentration Religious Diversity in North America

Watch the How to apply to Waterloo graduate studies video

Due to funding restrictions, the Faculty of Arts is currently limiting the number of international students we can admit. Please contact the department's Associate Chair, Graduate Studies prior to applying to discuss your interest in this program.

What does it take to get in?

Minimum admission requirements

  • Only graduates of accredited universities and colleges are eligible for admission.
  • Students apply to the joint program, designating one of the two universities as the preferred home institution. A student may be offered admission to the partner institution if the Joint Committee deems this choice more appropriate because of the student's interests or the availability of suitable supervisors. Applications are considered by the Joint Committee, and recommendations for admission or rejection are made by the Director to the Associate Provost, Graduate Studies at the proposed home university. Students are governed by the rules of the university in which they are registered, and their degree is granted by that same university; however, students may use faculty and library resources at both universities.
  • Students must normally have a Master's degree or its equivalent in Religious Studies or a closely allied field with an 80% overall standing. Completion of a Master’s thesis is strongly preferred.*
  • If the MA is in an allied field, the candidate must have a minimum of 10 one-term (half-credit) courses, or their equivalent, in the academic study of religion.
  • Students lacking the necessary qualifications may be required to complete additional qualifying work to establish academic eligibility to apply for the program. Students allowed to transfer from other doctoral programs must meet all of the degree requirements (or their equivalent, as determined by the Joint Committee); normally, credit for doctoral level work done elsewhere is not transferrable.
  • Students' Supervisory Committees normally consist of three members drawn from the University of Waterloo Department of Religious Studies and/or the Wilfrid Laurier University Department of Religion and Culture. One of the three committee members is the supervisor, who must be at the student's home institution. Such committees are appointed within the student's first year in the program after consultation with the student. Requests for changes in Supervisory Committee membership must be addressed to the Director and decided upon by the Joint Committee.*


Application material

  • Resume/Curriculum vitae
  • Supplementary information form (SIF)
    • The SIF contains questions specific to your program, typically about why you want to enrol and your experience in that field. Review the application documents web page for more information about this requirement
    • If a statement or letter is required by your program, review the writing your personal statement resources for helpful tips and tricks on completion
  • Transcript(s)
  • Writing sample
  • References
  • Proof of English language proficiency, if applicable
    • TOEFL 100 (writing 26, speaking 26), IELTS 7.5 (writing 7.0, speaking 7.0)

How much will it cost?

What can you expect at Waterloo?

This program page is effective September 2023; it will be updated annually.  Any changes to the program page following this date will be indicated with a notation. *Updated October 2023

We strive to provide you with the necessary information on each of our program pages.  Was there something you found helpful?  Was there anything missing?  Share your thoughts.

Program Contact

Priti Nayak at
519-888-4567, ext. 33497