Graduate degrees in the academic study and teaching of religion are generally divided into professional degrees and academic degrees.
Academic degrees start with a Master’s degree, usually a Master of Arts degree, and then a Ph.D. in a specific field. Kalamazoo College has sent students on to some of the top graduate schools in the country, including Harvard University, Princeton University, the University of Chicago, the University of California at Santa Barbara, and similar institutions. Students should consult with faculty regarding the best options for each student.
Professional degrees prepare graduates for the ministry and applied careers in social work or counseling. Students wishing to be ordained should consult with faculty on campus as well as pastors or ministers in their own home congregations for the requirements unique to their denomination. Students often apply for a Master’s in Divinity program (M.Div. degree) to pursue ordination. Advanced degrees in Ministry and Theology are also possibilities at many institutions. We have students who have gone on for the M.Div. degree at Harvard University Divinity School, Episcopal Divinity School, Princeton University, Iliff School of Theology, Lutheran School of Theology, and similar seminaries.
Students wishing to go on for graduate work should begin thinking about their applications in the spring of their junior years, and should plan to take the Graduate Record Exam before classes begin in the fall of their senior year. Deadlines for graduate school applications usually range from early December to February. Please give faculty plenty of notice for your letters of recommendation.
Graduate Studies Informational Links
4+1 Graduate Program at Western Michigan University
“The Undergraduate Religious Studies Major as Preparation for a PhD in the Humanities and Social Sciences” (The Critical Religion Association)