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Religious Studies (PhD)

Religious Studies (PhD)

waterloo  waterloo

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Our PhD in Religious Studies, with a specialization in Religious Diversity in North America, is offered jointly with the University of Waterloo. We are excited to tell you about our innovation program, which has three facets.

North American Focus

The program concentrates on the diverse nature of, and interactions among, the religious traditions and movements of Canada, the United States, and the Caribbean. The emphasis is largely, although not exclusively, contemporary. In order to understand the religious complexity of the North American continent, essential textual and historical background is provided.

Multidisciplinary Theories and Methods

The program is multidisciplinary in two ways: in its admission of students from a variety of related disciplines, and in the faculty, courses and research that students encounter.

Faculty have expertise not only in religious studies but also in related disciplines such as anthropology, history, philosophy, psychology and sociology. In addition, the program utilizes adjunct faculty from related departments at both universities. The program, designed for students with either religious studies or other, closely related backgrounds, employ both fieldwork and textually oriented methods.

Public Intelligibility

The PhD is designed to meet the needs of individuals who have various professional or vocational objectives. In addition to training those who intend to be scholars in religious studies or related disciplines, the program is designed to attract administrators, artists and media professionals, counsellors, journalists, religious officials, social workers and teachers. Therefore, the program stresses the need for public intelligibility in communicating religious studies scholarship.

In addition to emphasizing writing skills, the program cultivated and evaluates speaking as well as other public performance skills. The program fosters in students both a focus and a flexibility that will serve them well in a job market that requires adaptability, creativity and the ability to be articulate in public situations.


More information can be found on the International Applicants page.

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Contact Us:

Doug Cowan, Graduate Program Coordinator



  • Winners of major external awards (OGS, QEII and Tri-Council) may be eligible for top-up funding which includes the Dean’s Graduate Scholarship (total value exceeds $10,000).
  • Eligible domestic students admitted to study on a full-time basis receive a minimum of $22,000 a year. This support may be made up of teaching assistantships, internal/external scholarships, and/or faculty-funded studentships or research assistantships.
  • A list of all funding opportunities available to Laurier graduate students, including information about OGS, QEII and Tri-Council, is available on our graduate funding webpage.

Research Focus

Our faculty have a number of research interests including:

  • global Christianity
  • Islam in North American and global contexts
  • African diasporic religions
  • South Asian religions
  • Caribbean religions
  • Aboriginal religions
  • Buddhism and Hinduism in North America
  • religion among immigrant and refugee communities
  • multiculturalism and transnationalism
  • psychology, sociology, and anthropology of religion
  • religion and popular culture
  • food and religion


  • A Master of Arts in religious studies or related field with a minimum A- standing.
  • Applications are reviewed by the graduate program committee, which considers all prior university grades, a statement of research interests and letters of reference.
  • Contact a prospective adviser prior to submitting your application.
  • Review any additional requirements/considerations applicable as an international applicant.


Graduates of our program have pursued successful careers in higher education, teaching, government and the private sector. Examples of jobs held by our graduates include:

  • university professor
  • postdoctoral research fellow
  • position at an NGO
  • librarian
  • public activist
  • consultant

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