Duke University & Duke Divinity School

“To cultivate a vibrant community through theological education on Scripture, engagement with the living Christian tradition, and attention to and reflection on contemporary contexts in order to form leaders for faithful Christian ministries.”
Description of PhD/ThD Program

Duke University supports two research-oriented doctoral programs. Through the Divinity School, it also sponsors a professional doctorate (D.Min.) for practicing clergy and other religious service providers. The research doctoral programs are:

  1. The Ph.D. program or Graduate Program in Religion (GPR),  is a collaborative program involving the Department of Religious Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences and Duke Divinity School. Strengths of the program include its small, highly selective student cohort and distinguished faculty, as well as ample resources for research, mentoring, and professional development. It is ranked nationally at the very top of Ph.D. programs in religion and theology and is recognized throughout the world for its leading scholars.
  2. The Doctor of Theology Program (Th.D.), housed within the Divinity School. It extends doctoral training at Duke to areas of study outside the scope of the GPR, including homiletics and Christian formation. The Th.D. also allows concentration in any of the other theological disciplines, particularly as they attend to the faith and practices of Christian communities.Like the Ph.D., the Th.D. at Duke is a rigorous research degree.

 Description of Ph.D. Program

The GPR is part of Duke’s Graduate School and represents a diverse and dynamic community of faculty members and graduate students, who are engaged in robust scholarly exchange with each other and with colleagues in the broader university, as well as at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and other area schools.

Its ten areas of concentration are American Religion, Asian Religions, Christian Theological Studies, Early Christianity, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, History of Judaism, Islamic Studies, New Testament, Religion and Modernity, and World Christianity.

Description of Th.D. Program

Duke Divinity School’s Doctor of Theology (Th.D.) provides students with academically rigorous training informed by an understanding of theology as critical reflection on Christian practice and belief in light of scripture.

Students work within theological disciplines such as Bible, church history, theology, ethics, homiletics, and Christian formation, and also at the intersection of these disciplines with fields such as political science, peacemaking and reconciliation, medicine, and the arts. The program is intentionally interdisciplinary, and students have access to the resources of both the wider University and partner institutions (including UNC-Chapel Hill, NC Central University, and NC State University). The most immediate difference between the two is that the Ph.D. is awarded through and supported by the Graduate School of the University, while the Th.D. is awarded through and supported by the Divinity School.

Tuition & Housing Costs

2021-2022 Tuition Costs for Ph.D. Students

Fall 2021 Spring 2022 Summer 2022 12 Months
Tuition, Years 1-3 $28,950 $28,950 $4,000 $61,900
Health Fee $429 $429 $302 $1,160
Transcript Fee $120     $120
Activity Fee $18 $19   $37
Grad Student Services Fee $10 $10   $20
Recreation Fee $162 $163   $325
Health Insurance $3,605     $3,605
Total – Tuition/Fees** $33,294 $29,571 $4,302 $67,167
Housing $4,688 $5,860 $3,516 $14,064

The rate for the 2021-2022 academic year is $14,064.00 per student. This includes all utilities including water, electric, and high-speed internet. All apartments come with basic furnishings, including a dining room table and chairs, a stove, sink and refrigerator, a couch, a lamp, and end tables. Each bedroom has a full-size bed, a chest of drawers, and a desk. There are laundry facilities on the property

2017-2018 Tuition Costs for Th.D. Students*

  Fall 2021      Spring 2022         Total
Tuition $21.250.00 $21,250.00


*Room and board not included for Th.D. students.

Tuition Assistance

The Graduate School provides a competitive package that provides Ph.D. students with financial support for at least a majority of the time they are registered and working toward their degree. This support includes four main components: a stipend, tuition coverage, fees coverage, and coverage of health insurance premiums. Generally speaking, The Graduate School guarantees Ph.D. students five years of stipend, tuition, and fees support, plus six years of full coverage for health insurance premiums

For Ph.D. Students:
Duke’s Graduate School pays tuition and most student fees for Ph.D. students in years 1-5. The cost of mandatory health insurance is covered in years 1-6. Students are encouraged to apply for external funding during and beyond their years of support.

For Th.D. Students:
The Divinity School pays tuition and most student fees for Th.D. students in years 1-5. The cost of mandatory health insurance is not covered. Students are encouraged to apply for external funding during and beyond their years of support, which will be added on top of funding received from Duke Divinity School.

Financial Aid Fellowships

For Ph.D. Students:

Beginning with the 2022-23 academic year, all Ph.D. students in their guaranteed funding years will receive 12-month stipends, which is $31,160 for the current academic year. Ph.D. students at Duke are guaranteed summer research fellowships for the summers after their first and second academic years of study. In addition to summer tuition and fees, the fellowship awards a summer stipend of $8,250.

Ph.D. students will be financially supported through a combination of departmental and extra-departmental funds for the majority of the time they are registered and working toward their degree. A number of supported Teaching or Research Assistantships are available, funded through a department’s instructional budget, or a faculty member’s research funds. Training program appointments are also available for US citizens and permanent residents participating in federally funded training programs.


For Th.D Students:

Students admitted to the Th.D. program are awarded scholarships that covers tuition and fees for full time enrollment at Duke Divinity School. Th.D. students also receive additional financial support through fellowships.


Fellowships and Funding

Currently, our program is set up to pay fellowships on a 9-month basis for the first 5 years. Summer funding is guaranteed in summers 1 and 2 of the program. Students who no longer have guaranteed summer funding are encouraged to apply for competitive funding both internally and externally.  All students must have proof of health care, and the program is prepared to cover the cost of up to 6 years of health insurance if needed.  

Competitive Fellowships include:

Short Term Loans

There are short-term loans available through the Duke Credit Union Graduate Student Assistance Program and the Helen & Gordon McKinney Emergency Loan Fund.  Read more here.

Funding Resources


DAAD (German Exchange Service) Short-Term Research Grant

Grants are awarded for 1-6 months to highly qualified candidates who have completed a master’s degree, or in exceptional cases a bachelor’s degree, by the time they begin their grant-supported research, or those who have already completed a Ph.D. (postdocs).

Child Care Subsidy

Child care subsidies are available to graduate students who meet certain criteria.  Read more here.

Harold O.J. Brown Award for Student

Named after the late Harold Brown, a theologian who worked at the intersection of theology, science, and culture, the Brown Award is a paper competition for doctoral students engaged in interdisciplinary work in theological studies. With the generous support of the Templeton Religion Trust, the Henry Center welcomes submission exploring the problems and prospects of affirming the Christian doctrine of creation in light of modern scientific research. The Brown Award is conferred on the basis of its display of literary craftsmanship, intellectual humility, competence in the handling of evidence, and the significance of its contribution to the current scholarly and ecclesial conversations. All students enrolled in an accredited PhD or ThD program are welcome to apply. The award recipient will receive a cash prize and guaranteed publication in the Trinity Journal. $2500 first prize, additional cash prizes for first and second runner-up.  More information or to apply, click here.

Gurney Harriss Kearns Fellowship

This endowed fund provides competitive funding for summer and/or academic year research. See this link for more details.

Duke Graduate School Fellowships

The Duke Graduate School offers a number of fellowships for continuing Ph.D. students, including fellowships that provide full support for the academic year, summer research fellowships for the summer, teaching fellowships, and dissertation research travel awards. Visit here to see more. 

Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships

Designed to encourage original and significant study of religious and ethical values in fields across the humanities and social sciences, the 2020 Newcombe Fellowships are available to Ph.D. and Th.D. candidates who expect to complete their dissertation between April and August 2021. Download the program flyer here. Questions may be directed to hogans@woodrow.org.

Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellowships in Women’s Studies

Encourage research about women and gender that crosses disciplinary, regional, or cultural boundaries. Recent Fellows have explored such topics as reproduction in the context of chronic disease, algorithmic detection of child abuse images, and changing feminist visions at the UN from 1975 to 1995. Questions may be directed to hogans@woodrow.org.

Bass Digital Education Fellowship

Learning Innovation, in partnership with the Duke Graduate School, has just launched a new year-long fellowship program to provide PhD students professional development and instructional training opportunities in the growing area of digital education.

Center for the Study of Philanthropy and Voluntarism

For the 2019/20 academic year, the Center seeks to award new fellowships for dissertation support providing full or half-time support for one year of work. The purpose of the award is to allow a student or students to have released time from other obligations in order to complete a dissertation on a topic related to the Center’s academic areas of concern. Questions about the fellowship should be directed to Professor Charlie Clotfelter at charles.clotfelter@duke.edu. For more information, visit here.

Nationally competitive Scholarships

See the list (which includes graduate opportunities) on the Office of Undergraduate Scholars and Fellows’ website.

Hispanic/Latina/o Faculty

Edgardo Colón-Emeric
Dean of Duke Divinity School; Irene and William McCuthchen Associate Professor of Reconciliation and Theology; Director of the Center for Reconciliation

Peter Joseph Casarella
Professor of Theology, Director of the Th.D. Program 

Hispanic Centers and Programs

The Hispanic House of Studies is committed to assisting the North Carolina and Western North Carolina Annual Conferences and Duke Divinity School to support and strengthen ministries to and with Hispanics and Latinos in North Carolina.

Library Resources-Special Collections
The electronic databases of Duke University Libraries provide access to a number of resources including the Hispanic American Periodicals Index (HAPI), an annual survey of public opinion in 18 Latin-American countries (Latinobarometer).
Other Resources

Manos Unidas (United Hands) was formed in 2008 to support Hispanic/Latino students and welcomes all students interested in Hispanic/Latino ministries. The group hosts potluck gatherings throughout the school year. Contact the Hispanic House of Studies at (919) 660-3599 for current student leadership.

Hispanic House of Studies The HHS was created as a resource center for students, pastors, and congregations in order to support their efforts to do ministry with the Hispanic/Latinx community in the U.S. In addition, the HHS participates in the formation of future Hispanic/Latinx and non-Hispanic/Latinx church leaders who are committed to the community and dedicated to be self-aware leaders who can thrive in a diverse context. 

HTI Scholars

Matthew Arakaky (Ph.D. Program)

Michael Remedios Grigoni (Ph.D. program)    

Alberto Alexander La Rosa Rojas (Th.D. program)  

Tito Madrazo (Th.D. program)

Adam Adrian Perez (Th.D. Program)

Daniel Ramírez (Ph.D. program)
Associate Professor of American Religions
Claremont Graduate University

Miguel José Romero (Th.D. program)
Assistant Professor, Religious and Theological Studies
Salve Regina University

Alma Tinoco Ruiz

Contact Information

The HTI contacts for information on ThD and PhD studies at Duke are:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Name:    Carol G. Rush
Title:       Program Coordinator and Assistant to the Director of the Graduate Studies

Email:   carol.rush@duke.edu
Phone:    +1 919 660 3512

Doctor of Theology (ThD)

Name:     Peter Casarella 
Title:        Director of Th.D. Program 
Email:   peter.casarella@duke.edu