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 Graduate Department of Religion, a division within the Graduate School of Vanderbilt University, offers work toward the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in religion. All students enroll in one of nine primary areas: Ethics and Society; Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel; Historical Studies; Critical Studies in Asian, Islamic and Jewish Traditions; Homiletics and Liturgics; Jewish Studies (M.A.); New Testament and Early Christianity; Religion, Psychology, and Culture; Theological Studies. Selected Ph.D. students in all of these areas participate in The Program in Theology and Practice. This unique program seeks to form a generation of professors who are outstanding teachers of people preparing for ministry and groundbreaking scholars in practical theology. The program brings graduate students together with scholars from many disciplines and ministers of many kinds for critical, theological reflection on the lived religion of people and institutions.
Tuition & Housing Costs
The tuition rate for graduate students at Vanderbilt is $1,910.00 per semester hour, but the GDR covers this cost for all Ph.D. students. Vanderbilt does not offer on-campus housing to graduate students. The average monthly rate for apartment rental in Nashville is $1,426.00 per month.
Financial Aid-Fellowships

The GDR offers a generous scholarship program to Ph.D. candidates. Every student receives financial aid that includes 100% of tuition costs, a stipend of $20,000, and health insurance for up to 5 years, based upon adequate progress. In addition, the Program in Theology and Practice awards a select number of fellowships each year to students beginning Ph.D. studies in the GDR (Fellowships in Theology and Practice). Fellows may earn their Ph.D. in any of the eight areas in which the Graduate Department of Religion offers the degree. The fellowships immerse students in interdisciplinary study and in regular conversation with experienced practitioners, and offer relationships with mentors, opportunities for vocational reflection, and close ties with a strong cohort of fellow students, and support opportunities to practice teaching for ministry at the Vanderbilt Divinity School and in area theological schools. The fellowships provide full tuition and a yearly stipend of $20,000 for up to six years of study.

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
Expertise in Early Christian Origins, Theological Studies, and Cultural Studies
Centers and Programs

Latinx stories 

The VU-EDGE PhD Pre-VU Recruitment event provides an opportunity for a select group of highly talented underrepresented students to learn more about the PhD programs at Vanderbilt and the process of developing from a graduate student into an independent researcher. This is an annual event. 

The University’s Center for Latin-American Studies also provides numerous opportunities for faculty and graduate students each term.

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
At Vanderbilt, Hispanic students are automatically entitled to participate in the Vanderbilt Association of Hispanic Students. Graduates relate to the Vanderbilt Hispanic Alumni Networks.
HTI Scholars
Arelis Benitez

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 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

Contact Information

The HTI person to contact for information on PhD studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School is:

Name:     James P. Byrd
Title:        Associate Dean for Graduate Education/Chair, Graduate Department of Religion
Phone:    615-343-3976

PhD Director or Academic Dean:

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

Person in Charge of Enrollment:

Name: Emilie Townes
Title: Dean
Phone: (615) 343-3960