Vanderbilt Divinity School

“To engage in theological inquiry, To help persons prepare for the practice of Christian ministry and public leadership, To encourage personal and spiritual formation, To prepare agents of social justice, and To educate future scholars and teachers, locally and globally.”
Description of PhD Program

The doctor of philosophy degree in religion is offered by the Department of Religion in the Graduate School. Students may be admitted to the Ph.D. program upon graduation from an accredited college with a baccalaureate degree or from an accredited seminary or graduate school with a post-baccalaureate degree. Students with an M.Div. or M.A. degree may be admitted directly to the Ph.D. program. Ordinarily, students with only the baccalaureate degree are admitted first to the M.A. program. Successful completion of the latter provides a foundation for doctoral studies but does not guarantee admission to the Ph.D. program. Applicants with the B.A. degree are advised to consider not only the M.A. program in the Graduate School, but also the two-year M.T.S. (Master of Theological Studies) program in the Vanderbilt Divinity School as preparation for Ph.D. work.

Degree programs are offered in:

Interdisciplinary studies, both within religion and in other areas of knowledge, are encouraged. The study of religion can be pursued at Vanderbilt both as a critical, humanistic discipline, employing a variety of methodological perspectives, and as a theological discipline, interpreting the biblical religions and their historical, theological, and ethical heritage.

Tuition & Housing Costs

Vanderbilt University is committed to supporting graduate student education. Because financial awards are determined by individual academic programs, their components vary widely. Contact your department for specific questions about financial awards.

Cost of Attendance

Fees are as follows for 2021 – 2022:

  • Graduate School Tuition (per credit hour): $2,150
  • Minimum Tuition for PhD Dissertation (per credit hour): $200
  • Student health insurance (12-month coverage): $3,515
  • Student services fee (fall/spring): $281
  • Student services fee (summer): $96
  • Student health fee (fall/spring): $348
  • Student health fee (summer): $102
  • Audit fee: $10
  • One-time transcript fee for all students: $100
  • Graduate application fee: $95

At this time, we are unable to offer on-campus University housing for graduate or professional students. To support the housing needs of new and continuing graduate and professional students, the Office of Housing and Residential Experience provides a web-based Off Campus Housing Service. The Housing Service lists information on housing accommodations for students who plan to live off campus. The website includes advertisements by landlords looking specifically for Vanderbilt-affiliated tenants, as well as by Vanderbilt students looking for roommates. Listings are searchable by cost, distance from campus, number of bedrooms, and other parameters. Students may also post “wanted” ads seeking roommate or housemate situations.

To access the service, just use the Vanderbilt Off Campus Housing  Service.

Financial Aid-Fellowships

PhD Student Support: Assistantships or Fellowships

Competitive financial support through teaching or research assistantships or service-free fellowships enables Vanderbilt to attract outstanding PhD students. These awards typically contain some combination of the following:

  • Tuition support (all or partial)
  • Medical insurance (all or partial)
  • Stipend for living expenses (amount depends on departmental guidelines)
Latina/o Faculty

Fernando Segovia
Oberlin Graduate Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity

Yara González-Justiniano
Assistant Professor of Religion, Psychology, and Culture

Arelis Benítez
Lecturer of Church and Ministries

Centers and Programs

Latinx Stories: 

The Center for Latin American, Caribbean, and Latinx Studies: The Center for Latin American, Caribbean, and Latinx Studies fosters research and public engagement that center on populations that cross and re-cross borders constructed by geography, linguistics, class, race, and gender. As an interdisciplinary field of study, CLACX provides students the tools that allow them to succeed in a global marketplace: the ability to think comparatively and critically, in several languages, and to engage with the largest demographic populations in the Western Hemisphere

Library Resources-Special Collections
The Jean and Alexander Heard Library provides access to an ample range of resources on Latin America within its general collection.
Other Resources

Vanderbilt has a range of student organizations that are involved in Latinx and Latin American affairs. Many host trips or conduct other forms of service for NGO’s located in Central and South America. CLACX partners often with student organizations, supporting their events, providing informational orientations before trips to Latin America, and connecting student organization leaders. Details on past student organization events and travel can be found in CLACX Newsletters.


HTI Scholars

Arelis Benitez
Lecturer of Church and Ministries

Klem-Marí Cajigas Chimelis

Juan Escarfuller

Leticia Guardiola-Sáenz
Assistant Professor Christian Scriptures
School of Theology and Ministry
Seattle University

Gilberto Medina
Gilberto Medina Ministries

Luis Menéndez Antuña
Assistant Professor of New Testament
Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary

Rubén Muñoz-Larrondo
Associate Professor of Biblical Studies
Andrews University

Michael L. Sekuras

Lis Valle

Jonathan Warren
Catechist and Theologian in Residence
Resurrection South Austin
Minister to graduate students and faculty
University of Texas with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship

Francisco J. Garcia, Jr.

Alexandra Rosado-Román

Contact Information

The HTI person to contact for information on PhD studies is:

Name: James P. Byrd
Title: Chair, Graduate Department of Religion
Phone: (615) 343-3976

Person in Charge of Enrollment:

Name: Emilie M. Townes
Title: Dean, Vanderbilt Divinity School
Phone: (615) 343-3960