Program Information

Drawing on the combined resources of the Department of Religion and Culture at Wilfrid Laurier University and the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Waterloo, the Laurier-Waterloo PhD in Religious Studies offers a concentration in the religious diversity of North America. The main goal of the joint PhD program is to educate students pursuing careers in post-secondary teaching and research.

The courses, examinations, and other requirements of the program provide students with knowledge necessary for doctoral-level research, writing, and teaching in the field of religious studies.The PhD dissertation requires original research that contributes significantly to knowledge in the humanities and social sciences.

The program is structured to provide future scholars with the specialized training required for competing successfully in the academic job market. Graduates of the program acquire experience in standard academic activities: conducting independent research, preparing scholarly publications, teaching courses in a field of specialization, and contributing to academic and non-academic communities.

North American Focus

The program concentrates on the diverse nature of, and interactions among, the religious traditions and movements of Canada, the United States, and the Caribbean. The emphasis is largely contemporary, and in order to understand the religious complexity of the North American continent, essential textual and historical background is provided.

Multidisciplinary Methods

Faculty have expertise in related disciplines such as anthropology, history, philosophy, psychology, and sociology in addition to religious studies. The program utilizes adjunct faculty from related departments at both universities and is designed for students with either religious studies or other closely related backgrounds, and employs both fieldwork and textually oriented methods.  

Public Intelligibility

The program is designed to meet the needs of individuals who have various professional or vocational objectives. The program stresses the need for public intelligibility in communicating religious scholarship and cultivates excellent communication skills. The program fosters focus and flexibility that will serve students well in a job market that requires adaptability, creativity, and the ability to be articulate in public situations.  

Program Details

  • Graduate research field: Religious Diversity in North America
  • Admit term: Fall
  • Delivery mode: On-campus
  • Length of program: 4 years
    • The program is designed to take 4 years for completion. Students must enroll in the program full-time, be available for classes and regular on-campus consultation for at least the first two calendar years, and complete a minimum of six terms beyond the Master of Arts (MA).
      • Normally, students must complete the course work and finish their proposal in the first year; comprehensive exams in the second year; and the dissertation project in the third and fourth years. 
  • Program type 
    • Doctoral
    • Joint
    • Research
  • Registration option: Full-time
  • Study option: Thesis

The deadline to apply for Fall 2023 is February 1, 2023.

Please contact the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies before applying to discuss your research interests, application process, and which potential supervisors are accepting new students. 

Due to budgetary constraints, the Department of Religious Studies is limited in our ability to accept students studying on a study permit.