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Graduate Program in Religion One of the Nation's Best

Feb. 4, 2013

It is probably not too much of a surprise, considering that Baylor is the world's largest Baptist university, but Baylor's graduate program in Religion is considered one of the nation's best. The graduate program in Religion at Baylor offers Master of Arts and Ph.D. degrees in three areas of specialization - Bible, history, and theology. Of the nearly fifty Religion and Religious Studies programs evaluated by National Research Council and by Academic Analytics, Baylor consistently ranked among the nation's best.

Tidwell

In 2010, the NRC published its most recent study of more than 5000 graduate programs in 62 fields of study at 212 institutions. The study showed that Baylor Religion ranked 14th overall and in the top ten in several categories. Research activity, often considered an indication of a program's strength, was a particularly bright spot for Baylor Religion. When compared to other programs, Baylor ranked seventh overall and third -best among faith-based programs. Other programs in the top ten included the University of Chicago, Princeton, and Duke.

Similar to NRC, Academic Analytics collects information about faculty activity in its comparison of graduate programs. However, where NRC has published two reports in fifteen years, Academic Analytics updates its data annually. Academic Analytics ranked Baylor Religion 15th overall and 11th among private schools. The study also recognized Baylor as the top Religion program at a small research institution.

Baylor also ranked highly in the amount of support the university provides for graduate students. According to NRC, 90% of Baylor doctoral students in Religion received full funding their first year and students graduated in an average of 6.5 years - the eighth fastest in the study. Overall, Baylor ranked 18th in Student Support and Outcomes.

Dr. James Nogalski, the graduate program director for Religion, recognized the support received from the institution. "We have benefitted immensely from strategic decisions in the last decade by the university," Nogalski said.

"Thanks to Baylor's commitment to stronger doctoral programs, we have the financial resources to hire respected faculty and recruit top students," Nogalski added. "These rankings are both a validation of what we have been doing and a challenge to continue to improve."

Dr. Larry Lyon, dean of Baylor's Graduate School, sees the high NRC and Academic Analytics ratings for Religion as part of a larger trend for Baylor. "The Religion department demonstrates the kind of growth we anticipate from all of our programs," Lyon said. "The future of doctoral study at Baylor has never been brighter."