About the PhD Program

Interdisciplinary scholars wishing to engage in rigorous study of ecology and religion together will find the PhD program in Ecology, Spirituality, and Religion uniquely suited to their goals.   Doctoral students study with faculty renowned for their cutting edge approaches to investigating the role of worldviews, philosophies, and religions in understanding and responding to global challenges.

PhD Curriculum

The PhD requires a minimum of 36 units of coursework, followed by two comprehensive exams, a dissertation proposal, and original research, culminating in a doctoral dissertation approved by a committee of three experts. The two comprehensive exams, proposal writing, and dissertation carry 0 units.  During these phases of study, the student enrolls for a flat fee each semester.  Doctoral students publicly present their research findings at least twice during the course of their doctoral studies at relevant conferences at CIIS and nationally.

Coursework for ESR doctoral students addresses religions and spiritualities; ecology and environmentalisms; cosmology; theory and method; the philosophy of religion; and transdisciplinary thinking. All doctoral students will take at least two courses in research theory and method, including Theory and Method in the Integrative Study of Religion and Ecology. Additional language or methodology courses may be required by the student's mentor.  Students admitted with an MA in a field other than philosophy, religion, or environmental humanities may need to take up to 18 supplemental units of philosophy and religion courses.  Doctoral students in Ecology, Spirituality, and Religion develop advanced research, writing, and inquiry skills to prepare them for roles in higher education and public sector leadership.

Admission to the Program

Doctoral students wishing to specialize in Ecology, Spirituality, and Religion should possess a master's degree in a discipline relevant to the program (e.g. religion, ecology, environmental studies, biology, anthropology, environmental history, geography, literature, philosophy) from an accredited graduate institution.  Applicants to the doctoral program should identify two core faculty members whose expertise closely matches the student's proposed course of study and research project.  Doctoral applicants should demonstrate research preparation suggestive of their motivation to completing a doctoral dissertation.

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