University of Chicago Divinity School

“The belief that a great research university ought to have as one central occupation the scholarly study of religion, to prepare scholars for careers in teaching and research, and ministers for service to the church.”
Description of PhD Program

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program is a rigorous, interdisciplinary course of study that prepares students for careers in research, teaching, and publicly-engaged leadership. Doctoral students conduct original and advanced research in pursuit of expert knowledge about the human phenomenon of religion as currently organized in one of eleven Areas of Study (Anthropology and Sociology of Religion; Bible; History of Christianity; History of Judaism; History of Religions; Islamic Studies; Philosophy of Religions; Religions in America; Religion, Literature, and Visual Culture; Religious Ethics; and Theology), or through a multidisciplinary course of study designed by the student in consultation with faculty. Through the program and its distinctive interdisciplinary rigor, students develop a sophisticated grasp of methods and theories in a chosen Area, gain a broad understanding of religion as a phenomenon that exceeds any single approach or disciplinary orientation, and join others in the creation of new knowledge.

As a community of scholars, the Ph.D. program works in a collaborative nature both within Areas of study and between them as well as with colleagues across and beyond the University. This collaborative work continues in the classroom that offers an invaluable, non-tutorial model of education. In this way, Ph.D. students along with faculty carry on the work of scholarship in ways that forge colleagueship between students and among students and faculty.

Tuition & Housing Costs
Tuition for PhD students in the first 4 years: (2017-18) $51,999

Tuition for PhD students from year 5 on: $20,508

Housing costs vary; living expenses estimated at $6000 per quarter.

Tuition Assistance

Students admitted to the PhD program in 2016 and beyond receive a fellowship package that includes full tuition coverage, health insurance coverage for the student through the University Health Insurance Plan (U-SHIP), and a $32,000 living stipend. The doctoral student fellowship is renewed annually for the maximum registration period. 

Financial Aid-Fellowships

STUDENTS WHO MATRICULATED INTO THE DOCTORAL PROGRAM IN SUMMER 2016 OR LATER ARE FUNDED THROUGH THE NEW MODEL: The doctoral student fellowship package under The New Model includes a full tuition scholarship, annual living stipend, set for $32,000 in the 2021-2022 academic year, and individual USHIP premium coverage. Students are financially responsible for the Graduate Student Services Fee, formally known as the Student Life Fee and the Lifetime Transcript Fee. This fellowship package extends for the duration of the program, with maximum registration of nine (9) years for students who matriculated during or after summer 2016 and before summer 2021, or seven (7) years for students that matriculated in Summer 2021 or later.

Each year there are also a number of opportunities available for dissertation writing awards for students who have been admitted to PhD candidacy, such as the Martin Marty Center Jr. Dissertation fellowships; Provost’s, Harper and Mellon dissertation fellowships (University-funded); and other, external fellowship opportunities, including Fulbright and Newcomb.

Students are encouraged to apply for financial assistance from sources outside the Divinity School. For more information, students should consult UChicagoGRAD’s Fellowship Database,

Foreign students are encouraged to explore appropriate funding opportunities such as Fulbright-Hays, DAAD, SSHRC (Canada Council), Harkness, and World Council of Churches grants.

Hispanic/Latina/o Faculty
David Martínez
Associate Professor, Department of Classics and the Divinity School; also in the College
Hispanic Centers and Programs
OMSA – Office of Multicultural Student Affairs supports the academic success of students of color at the University of Chicago and works to build an inclusive campus community. OMSA’s programs focus on enriching students’ experiences and encouraging cross-cultural dialogue on campus. OMSA serves and advocates for all African American, Asian American, Latino, and Native American students who attend the College, Graduate Divisions, and Professional Schools.

Center for Latin American Studies. Established in 1968, the University of Chicago Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS) brings together faculty and students across the University in interdisciplinary and interdivisional research, teaching, scholarly events, and public engagement related to this vital region of the world.

Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture. The Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture was established in 1994 under the direction of Professor Michael Dawson. From its inception, faculty, students, and staff who have been involved with the Center have been committed to establishing a new type of research institute devoted to the study of race and ethnicity, one that seeks to expand the study of race beyond the black/white paradigm while exploring social and identity cleavages within racialized communities. Scholars affiliated with the Center have also endeavored to make race and ethnicity central topics of intellectual investigation at the University of Chicago by fostering interdisciplinary research, teaching, and public debate among students and faculty. Fundamentally, the Center is committed to producing engaged scholarship that rejects the false dichotomy between rigorous intellectual work and community activism. We seek, instead, to contribute intellectually challenging and innovative scholarship that can help people transform their thinking and their lives. Towards those goals, the Center has provided funding and other types of support for a number of projects initiated by faculty affiliated with the Center, graduate students, and visiting fellows.

Library Resources-Special Collections
The University of Chicago Library provides access to Latin American Research links such as PRISMA, HLAS, Fuente Académica.
Neighboring Institutions or Programs
The Chicagoland area is home to many denominational seminaries, and several outstanding public and private research universities.


Other Resources
Office of International Affairs
Graduate & Professional Student Gateway page
Affinity groups, Lectures through OMSA
CMC – Chicago Multicultural Connection
HTI Scholars

Christina Llanes

Santiago O. Piñon Jr.
Assistant Professor of Religion
Texas Christian University

Vinicius Pintas Marinho

Héctor M. Varela-Rios

Raúl Zegarra

Izak Santana

Matthew Vega


Contact Information

The HTI person to contact for information on PhD studies at University of Chicago Divinity School is:

Name:                       Dr. David Nirenberg
Title:                          Dean, Divinity School
Phone:                      (773) 702-8221

The Director of Doctoral Studies:

Name:                      Kevin Hector
Title:                         Professor of Theology and of the Philosophy of Religions; also in the College; Director of Doctoral Studies
Phone:                     (773) 702-8235

The Person in Charge of Enrollment:

Name:                      Anita Lumpkin
Title:                         Dean of Students and Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion
Phone:                     (773) 702-8249