PhD in Religious Studies

A higher calling. Discover an integrated approach to religious studies.

The Theology department offers a doctoral program aimed at giving students an integrated approach to theological studies, emphasizing, within theological specialties, the interaction of Judaism and Christianity in antiquity, and in historical, systematic and ethical approaches to theology. 

The PhD program seeks to develop scholars who can make significant contributions to theological research and writing, and college and high school teachers who can teach a broad range of courses. This broad theological background has enabled program graduates to enjoy enviable success in securing teaching positions in over 200 colleges and universities, in church work and ministry, and in a variety of other education-related institutions.

Students may choose to specialize in one of our department's four principal areas of research:

  • Judaism and Christianity in Antiquity
  • Historical Theology
  • Systematic Theology
  • Theological Ethics

Students also may choose one of our interdisciplinary specializations:

  • Theology and Society
  • Healthcare Mission and Ethics

The Healthcare Mission and Ethics concentration is designed to provide students interested in careers in Catholic healthcare with a deep grounding in the major theological disciplines along with academic training in practical issues related to the provision of healthcare and immersion in healthcare environments. 


Take the next step towards your future

Learn more about Marquette's religious studies PhD program. 



  • Request Information
  • Application Details
  • Aid & Fellowships

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Application Deadline

December 15.  Applicants will be notified by March 31. Doctoral students may only begin their program (Religious Studies) in fall.


Application Requirements

Read all application instructions prior to beginning an application.

  • A completed online application form and fee. (Applicants for the PhD should apply for the Religious Studies program on the application.)
  • Copies of transcripts from all previously attended higher education institutions other than Marquette University.1
  • A statement of purpose indicating the applicant's reasons for wanting to enter the program,areas of academic interest, vocational objectives, reasons for selecting Marquette's program, and/or how the applicant stands to contribute to the program's demographic diversity.

  • Applicants with language study experience should indicate formal graduate-level language course work reflected in their transcripts and/or private language study, along with estimations of present abilities reading, writing, and speaking the language or languages studied.

  • An academic writing sample approximately 20 pages in length.
  • Three letters of recommendation.
  • GRE scores (general test only).
  • International applicants from non-English-speaking countries must provide TOEFL scores or other acceptable proof of English proficiency.
  • International applicants from non-English-speaking countries who have completed a master's degree or anticipate completing a master's degree at an English-speaking higher education institution prior to enrolling in the PhD program may request a waiver of this requirement.

1Upon admission, final official transcripts from all previously attended colleges/universities, with certified English translations if original language is not English, must be submitted to the Graduate School within the first five weeks of the term of admission or a hold preventing registration for future terms will be placed on the student’s record. 

Financial Aid

The Department of Theology draws on the university's considerable financial aid resources to offer a variety of assistance opportunities to qualified students. These resources include teaching assistantships (TA), research assistantships (RA), minority student fellowships, graduate teaching fellowships, dissertation fellowships, M.A.C.D. scholarship, Smith family fellowships, Arthur J. Schmitt fellowships, John P. Raynor, S.J., fellowships, and Marquette University scholarships. For a comprehensive listing of merit-based aid (graduate assistantships/fellowships), visit the departmental financial aid webpage.

Private scholarships may also be available. U.S. citizens and permanent residents may be eligible to apply for student loans to help fund their educational expenses as well.


Trinity Fellows Program

Students interested in the theology master's program may want to consider applying for the Trinity Fellows program as well. Trinity Fellows is a graduate fellowship program dedicated to developing urban leaders with a commitment to social and economic justice. Trinity Fellows participate in a 21-month study/work program while earning a master's degree. Those who have completed a full-time service program (minimum 10 months), and/or have worked for two-plus years in the nonprofit sector are eligible to apply. Details and instructions to apply are found on the Trinity Fellows website.