Graduate Program Admissions Requirements

The determination of applicants’ admissibility into the Graduate Program in Religion is made by the Graduate Studies Committee, who are concerned to review the following items (please note that there are additional special requirements for admission to the Ph.D. Program, which are outlined below in Section IV):

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a strong academic record (a minimum 3.00 grade point average (GPA) on a 4-point scale). For three possible exceptions to the university’s 3.00 requirement see Graduate School Policies and Procedures;
  • If one has taken graduate studies, a graduate GPA of not less than 3.25;
  • Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate studies;
  • Graduate Record Examination(GRE) scores of a total of verbal and quantitative of at least 1000;
  • Students whose native language is other than English must submit a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of at least 575 PBT (Paper-Based Total) or 232 CBT (Computer-Based Total) or 90 IBT (Internet-Based Total);
  • Three substantive letters of academic recommendation from current or recent former instructors. The student may substitute a letter from a non-academic for one of the academic letters, provided that the recommender is qualified and able to assess the applicant’s academic potential. It is admissible to submit more than three letters of recommendation, but three is the minimum. These should be sent directly by the recommender to the department;
  • A statement of purpose indicating the applicant’s reason for pursuing an advanced degree in the study of religion and explaining how the Graduate Program in Religion at Temple is an appropriate venue for the applicant’s studies; this statement should also identify relevant expertise among members of the Religion faculty;
  • An undergraduate or graduate background in religion (religious studies) or a related field. Students who do not have preparation in this area should explain why they should be accepted into a graduate Religion program without such preparation. Such students may be asked to take additional methodology or content courses to make up for any deficiencies in their preparation. The concern is not solely the accumulation of specific courses but the assurance that the student is prepared to study in the field of religious studies at a graduate level;

Prospective applicants must meet all requirements and supply complete documents before being considered for admission to the University; in addition, the following fees apply:

  • Application fee of $60;
  • Acceptance fee of $200.

Please note that application materials, including Official Transcripts, Letters of Recommendation, CV/Resume, and Writing Sample, can be sent to:

Department of Religion, Graduate Coordinator
Jemina Quarles
614 Anderson Hall
1114 W. Polett Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19122
215- 204-3663

Applications are not considered complete and ready for consideration until all items, including Official Transcripts, are received.

Prospective students are strongly encouraged, if possible, to visit Temple University for interviews with faculty, students, and the Director of Graduate Studies before the January preceding the fall semester of their anticipated enrollment in the program.

The Graduate Studies Committee meets each year after 15 January to consider admission applications for the following fall semester. Financial aid, which is limited, is only available for those presenting complete applications by 15 January. However, the committee may also consider applications for admission without aid at other times. In general, 15 May is the final cut-off date for acceptance of such applications for the following fall.

The Graduate Studies Committee of the Department of Religion only recommends applicants for admission to the Dean’s Office of the College of Liberal Arts. That office, in conjunction with the Graduate School of Temple University, makes the final decision on all applications for admission to graduate programs and issues the letters communicating said decisions.

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Non-matriculated Students

Persons who are not enrolled in any Temple degree program may nonetheless be eligible to register for classes as non-matriculated students. The limit to non-matriculated course credits transferred toward a subsequent graduate degree at Temple is 9 s.h. All registrations of non-matriculated students must be approved in advance by the Director of Graduate Studies and the instructor of record for the course(s) in question.

International Students

The same requirements for all applications listed above also apply to international students with the following exceptions:

  • International students should submit complete evidence of their higher educational experience, including certified translations and interpretations of transcripts where necessary. The Graduate School also requires originals of the documents themselves, not photocopies, even if the latter are certified.
  • The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required of all students who are not native English speakers. A TOEFL score of 575 PBT = 232 CBT = 90 IBT or above is required for admission. Applicants should plan to achieve this score before they leave their home countries.
  • We require the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) of all students, including foreign students. No exceptions or waivers are possible.

Applicants may acquire information about requirements concerning visas, financial certification, and other matters from:
Temple University Office of International Services
201 Mitten Hall

Scholarships and Awards

Within the university, there are several sources of financial support for qualified graduate students. The University Financial Aid Office administers work-study employment and various loan programs based on financial need. The Graduate School administers University Fellowships (UFs) and Future Faculty Fellowships (FFFs), which are both assigned annually based on the recommendations of a university-wide committee. These are respective four-year awards that require two years of service as Teaching Assistants in the department during the third and fourth years of the award. The departmental Scholarship Awards Committee also awards to selected students such teaching and research assistantships as are assigned to it annually by the College. Decisions concerning these awards are based on students’ academic promise and performance. Though not construed as aid per se, graduate students sometimes teach courses as adjuncts for a fixed amount of monetary recompense. All appointments of adjunct faculty are made by the Department Chairperson.

Fellowships and assistantships require work, defined by the current contract with the Temple University Graduate Students’ Association (TUGSA) as 20 hours of work per week. Most awardees are expected to assist professors in large courses, some as teaching assistants covering discussion or recitation sections that meet once a week or as readers, while other teaching assistants teach one course per semester as sole instructor, in addition to other duties making up the 20 hours of work, which usually takes the form of research assistance to a faculty member.

The basic purpose of university and departmental awards is to allow superior students to pursue a graduate program full-time. Certain implications follow:

  • Exceptional potential and demonstrated performance are the predominant criteria for scholarship awards. It is to be expected that the greater benefits will go to the more capable students. There is a general but not a perfect correlation between academic performance and the value of awards.
  • The factor of financial need enters only as a limiting element; if an award is not financially necessary, it is expected that a student will not apply.
  • Because the intent of the awards with stipends is to free the student for undivided attention to endeavours directly related to her or his graduate studies, persons who choose substantial employment elsewhere should withdraw from competition or release awards already won. Acceptance of an assistantship assumes priority of commitment to one’s graduate program and to teaching responsibilities over other obligations outside the department.
  • If teaching assistants are selected to teach courses as the primary or sole instructor, the major qualification in such a case, within the guidelines of academic excellence, is teaching ability. Students who have served as teaching assistants who wish to apply for renewal of the position should ask their faculty advisors to observe their teaching and submit an evaluation of her or his performance.
  • Apart from University Fellowships and Future Faculty Fellowships, some student awardees currently receive scholarship benefits for one year intervals. All students stand in competition for awards in each subsequent year. Failure to fulfill the specified duties of an assistantship, failure to complete adequate course work, or failure to perform well as a graduate student may result in discontinuation of support.
  • No more than four years of full benefits (Fellowships and Teaching and Research Assistantships) are contemplated in any student’s case. Partial subsequent benefits (dissertation completion grants, etc.), however, may go to certain qualified applicants, and adjunct teaching positions may be continued from semester to semester with no time limit.
  • Professors assisted by teaching assistants are required to prepare for them and for the department’s Scholarship Awards Committee a written evaluation of the teaching assistant’s performance no later than the end of the semester of the student’s teaching assignment.
  • Awards made by the Scholarship Awards Committee are subject to available funds and the vicissitudes of annual competition. Generally, new students are only eligible for University Fellowships and Future Faculty Fellowships assigned by a university-wide committee of professors and not for other forms of financial aid from the department.