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Top Graduate Schools with Religion Programs

Learn what top-rated graduate schools with religion programs offer to their students. Find out about some of the best schools in the country, and see what graduate programs they offer.

How to Choose a Top Graduate Religion Program

A top graduate program in religion will have significant library resources and internal institutions that enhance scholarly development. As a student of religious thought or a prospective college teacher, you'll want mentoring from a strong community of active scholars. Consider that most programs require students to complete a research or teaching assistantship, while some programs require completion of both.

Three Top Graduate Religion Schools

Duke University in Durham, NC

In U.S. News & World Report's 2019 ranking of national universities, Duke ranked eighth. Graduate students will select an area of concentration, like European Christianity, Islamic studies, or Asian religions. You'll have access to Duke's Divinity School Library as well as affiliated study centers, like the university's Center for Jewish Studies or the Islamic Center. Duke has a cooperative agreement with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University in Raleigh; additional religion courses may be available through these schools. The Department of Religion also offers a full schedule of symposia and guest lecturers. Graduate degrees in religion offered by Duke include:

  • Master of Arts (M.A.) in Religius Studies
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Religion

Emory University in Atlanta, GA

Emory University was ranked 21st in national universities by the U.S News & World Report for 2019. Graduate students will specialize in an area of study, like major world religions, theological studies, the Hebrew Bible or American religious thought. Emory's Woodruff Library features collections on world religions, while the Pitts Theology Library collects materials on Christian thought. Specialized religion librarians assist students with research. The Graduate Division of Religion is linked to several Emory programs and centers. These include the Center for the Study of Religion, the Initiative in Religion, Conflict and Peacebuilding, the Tam Institute for Jewish Studies, the Center for Ethics, and Emory's Candler School of Theology. You might pursue one of the following graduate degrees:

  • Ph.D. in Religion
  • Juris Doctor (J.D.)/Ph.D. in Religion

Rice University in Houston, TX

Rice University was tied for #16 in top national universities in the U.S. News & World Report for 2019. Most Ph.D. program students at Rice receive graduate fellowships and graduate tuition waivers. You'll select from several areas of degree concentration, including modern Christian thought, African and African-American religions, Jewish thought and philosophy, and the psychology of religion. The Religious Studies department supports several guest lecture series. It houses the Religious Studies Review, a consortium of religion societies interested in enhancing religious scholarship. The department also publishes two quarterly journals. Degrees available at this level will include:

  • Ph.D. in Religion

More Schools Offering Graduate Programs in Religion

College/University Institution Type LocationEstimated Graduate In-State Tuition*
Georgia State University 4-year, Public Atlanta, GA$9,000
New York University 4-year, Private not-for-profit New York, NY$45,000
Temple University 4-year, Public Philadelphia, PA$17,000
University of California - Berkeley 4-year, Public Berkeley, CA$14,000
University of Colorado - Boulder4-year, Public Boulder, CO$13,000
University of Iowa 4-year, Public Iowa City, Iowa$11,000
University of Missouri - Columbia 4-year, Public Columbia, MO$10,000
University of North Carolina at Charlotte 4-year, Public Charlotte, NC$7,000
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University4-year, Public Blacksburg, VA$15,000
University of South Carolina - Columbia 4-year, Public Columbia, SC$14,000

*Source: NCES, U.S. Department of Education