Because the degree program is individualized and levels of preparation are not the same, the time to graduation varies. Students who have a master's degree (either M.Div., Th.M., or M.A. or the equivalent) may reasonably expect to complete the program in five years; two to three years in coursework, followed by preliminary examinations, then one or more years devoted to dissertation research and writing. Students entering directly from an undergraduate program should not expect to complete the Ph.D. program in fewer than six years.
Graduate students who are funded through the program must perform service to the university in order to receive the full stipend. For the first year of Ph.D. study, this service generally takes the form of acting as a Research Assistant to a member of the Graduate Program in Religion faculty. RA work is not to exceed 5 hours per week, 28 weeks per year. For the second through fourth years of the program, students serve as teaching assistants in the Religion Department or as preceptors in the Divinity School, one course per semester. This work is not to exceed 10 hours per week over 28 weeks. (In some circumstances, it is possible for students to TA or precept additional courses or sections for additional pay.) In the fifth year of the program, students are encouraged to teach their own course in the Religious Studies Department or elsewhere in the university. This teaching replaces one semester of TA or preceptor work. Fifth-year students who do not teach their own course must TA or precept for three courses over two semesters.
All students must register each fall and spring semester and pay a registration fee each semester until all degree requirements are completed. In addition to the registration fee, doctoral students must also register for a total of 6 semesters of full-time tuition. For Ph.D. students, approved transfer of an earned graduate degree may reduce the number of semesters of full-time tuition required for the degree to 4 or 5 semesters.
David Morgan is currently the director of graduate studies for the M.A. program. For information on the M.A. in Religious Studies please see the Department of Religious Studies website here.
For a list of academic degrees that can be earned in Duke Divinity School, such as the M.T.S., click here