Admissions Process

Each year, 115-160 students apply to the Graduate Program in Religion (GPR) at Duke. There is no quota of students accepted in particular subfields of religion. However, the overall number of students admitted is 4 or fewer because of the intensive character of Ph.D. instruction at Duke (small seminars and individual tutorial and dissertation guidance) and the limited amount of financial support available. Because of the stringency of admissions requirements, students seeking admission to doctoral studies should apply to several schools. Admissions statistics can be found on The Graduate School website.

Application Procedure

For those applying, your first steps should be to review our website and determine which area of study best fits your research interests. It is useful to consult faculty members in the expected area of specialization or the field convener. Students must apply in one, and only one, of the program's ten areas of study.

You should also consult the Graduate Bulletin to review specific details of the application procedure.

The application form, financial information, and additional information can be found at the Duke University Graduate School website. The Admissions Team at the Graduate School is helpful for information on transcripts, application fees and questions concerning how to navigate the application process.

Questions regarding the program may be directed to the GPR Program Office.  Please email the DGSA.

Selection Criteria

The principal factors considered by the admissions committee of the graduate faculty in religion in decisions regarding admission are:

  • previous academic records as reflected in transcripts
  • recommendations from competent academic persons
  • The Graduate Program in Religion will not require GRE or other graduate entrance exam scores in its admission decisions for this season but does allow you to upload scores if you feel they enhance your application. If you choose to submit test scores, you may enter them on the Test Scores page. If you choose to enter self-reported test scores, official test scores will become a required component of your application.
  • minimum grade point average of 3.2  (typical average is 3.6)
  • the 1-2 page, single-spaced statement of intellectual and academic interest that is part of the application
  • a sample of scholarly work of 15-20 double-spaced pages to be attached in the "additional information" section of the application.
  • fit with faculty resources   

Applicants will be notified of their status early in the spring semester through the application portal and by email.


As part of the admissions process, top-ranked candidates will normally be invited to Duke for on-campus visits. (Travel and hospitality expenses will be paid by Duke.) This will allow both candidates and faculty members to assess whether there is a good match between students and their prospective program. Admission is normally for the fall semester but in extraordinary cases may be deferred until the spring term.