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Department of Religion
College of Arts and Sciences

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Current Students

Student Publications
Preliminary Examinations
Topic Proposal and Prospectus Procedures
Individualized Courses (REL 5V00)
Travel Awards
Graduate Theological Fellowship

Student Publications


To initiate is to cause or facilitate the beginning of something. To initiate is also to induct into membership by special rites or practices. At some point in each student's course of study, the student must begin to join the larger academic conversations in his or her respective field of study. Each year, under the title Initiations, we formally gather the contributions made by the Department of Religion's academic initiates - our graduate students - to the larger academic conversations that have taken the familiar form of publications or conference presentations. It is our way of celebrating their achievements and encouraging their continued development as scholars.

Reporting Publications

The Graduate School tracks publications of all graduate students at Baylor University. Graduate students should therefore report publications for the 2015-2016 academic year according to the following schedule: Summer 2015, June 1-August 24; Fall 2015, August 25-December 31; Spring 2016, January 1-May 31.

Click here to access the publications report form.

Preliminary Examinations

The preliminary exams represent the next-to-last point of reference in the doctoral student's progress toward the Ph.D. degree. The student who successfully completes the prelims will have only the dissertation remaining for the accomplishment of the Ph.D. These exams, then, are the final opportunity of the faculty as a whole to evaluate the student's progress. Students must register for preliminary examinations during the full semester prior to the semester in which they actually take the exams. Register for Preliminary Examinations

Graduate Students preparing for Preliminary Examinations may apply during the semester prior to taking prelims for a Library Study Carrel. For example, students taking prelims in Spring 2016 may apply in the Fall 2015 semester for a carrel. Please click here for information regarding the process.

Religion Department Guidelines for Topic Proposal, Prospectus and Dissertation/Thesis

Once a student has passed preliminary examinations the next important steps are gaining approval of their dissertation topic proposal and prospectus. Important information including the process for approval of the topic proposal and prospectus will be found here.

Dissertation/Thesis Information

You might wonder, "What do I do next?" as you research, write, and complete your dissertation. There are a number of things for which you should be mindful. The following information will be helpful.

Graduate School Guidelines for Preparing the Dissertation/Thesis

The responsibility for the content of your dissertation/thesis rests solely with you and your advisory committee. Also, with guidance from your advisory committee, you are responsible for presenting the document in proper writing style and format. The Graduate School defines in this document the style and format that applies to all dissertations and theses across the university. The purpose of this set of Guidelines is to assist you in doing the job effectively and efficiently. The Guidelines are revised each semester, so be sure you are working with the current version; the most recent edition is available on the Baylor Graduate School website. If you are unable to download a copy, you may obtain one from the Graduate School at the beginning of each semester.

Graduate School Electronic Dissertation and Thesis

Dissertations and Theses are archived digitally in various collections on campus and are made available internationally via UMI Dissertation Services. The quality of these works reflects the standards of Baylor University, the Graduate School, our department, and the professors who work with you on this project. Most importantly, the quality of your dissertation or thesis directly reflects your professionalism. "Starting Point," information along with a "Submission Checklist," forms needed for the process, information about converting to a PDF and combining multiple PDFs will be found here.

Bound Dissertation Copies

As a requirement for graduation, you must provide the Religion Department with two bound copies of your dissertation. A copy will be given to your mentor and one will be archived in the department. At the time you submit your approved and penultimate copy electronically to BearDocs, you should place an order for two bound copies. Once you have submitted proof of the order and shipping to the Religion Department (by way of a receipt or confirmation email), to Coco DiMauro in the Graduate Studies office, the necessary paperwork for you to graduate, will be released. Several options for binding are listed below. These are only options; you may make arrangements for binding however you wish. Baylor University, the Graduate School, nor the Religion Department, officially endorse either of these companies.

Thesis On Demand :online ordering for around $35-$65, depending on number of pages, color pages, etc., plus shipping cost

Houchen Bindery :online ordering; currently $55 + tax and shipping

Regardless of where you choose to have your dissertation copies bound, they should be printed on 8 1/2 x 11 white paper (typically 60#), single-side printing, dark green binding, and gold lettering. The title, author's last name, degree, and year, should appear on the spine. The title and author's full name should be printed on the front cover.

Individualized Courses (REL 5V00)

Rarely, it may become necessary to arrange a special research project in order to complete graduate requirements. Permission is required in these instances. Please see the following description of the process for obtaining approval for REL 5V00 Special Studies in Religion, here.

Graduate School Semester Calendars

Graduate School semester calendars are an excellent source for information about events and deadlines from the first day of classes through commencement each semester. Download or print a copy so you don't miss anything!


Graduate students who have met all of the requirements of their degree and wish to declare their intent to graduate must fill out and submit the online intent form which must be submitted very early in the semester of graduation as to allow students and administration to identify and correct any discrepancies in the student's records. Be sure to check the graduate school calendar (above) for each semester's deadlines.

Travel Awards

Graduate School Travel Awards Opportunities for Funding

The Graduate School offers awards for travel for doctoral research and for travel to professional meetings and conferences.

The Glenn O. and Martell B. Hilburn Endowed Graduate Research Scholarship Fund

The Glenn O. and Martell B. Hilburn Endowed Graduate Research Scholarship Fund was established in honor of Dr. Glenn Hilburn, chair of the Religion Department, 1983-1998. The intent of this fund is to support research by graduate students. Selections for awards are made by the Religion Department Graduate Administrative Committee on September 1 and March 1. Applicants for a scholarship award from the Hilburn Fund must have completed one full-time equivalent year of graduate studies in the Department of Religion at Baylor University. The fund is typically used to underwrite the costs of dissertation research. Normally students will have passed preliminary examinations, and will have a letter of support for their project provided by her/his advisor. Click here to access a guide to the process entitled How to Secure Funds.

Religion Department Contribution

The Religion Department awards funding for travel to graduate students who are making presentations at regional, national or international conferences, ($100, $250, or $300, respectively) based upon the availability of departmental funds. Please note that a national conference may be considered regional based upon its proximity to Baylor University. Graduate students who wish to avail themselves of this opportunity for funding will need to complete a Travel Authorization Form (TAF) which must be submitted prior to travel and approved by Dr. Bellinger, Religion Department Chair. Students must also provide documentation of their upcoming participation at the conference (program listing student's name, copy of an email confirming the invitation to present, etc.) at the same time the TAF is submitted. The TAF may be accessed here.

To enable efficient handling of your request for departmental funds, and to ensure adequate time for you to receive the check prior to the meeting date, submit the TAF and documentation confirming conference presentation, to Joyce Swoveland, Religion Department Office Manager four weeks prior to the meeting dates.Do not email the documentation to Mrs. Swoveland. An original signature is required on the TAF.

Prior to travel students must obtain a Texas Hotel Occupancy Tax Exemption Certificate for hotel stays within Texas. The certificate may be accessed here. The certificate must be presented by the student to the appropriate hotel personnel. Baylor University does not reimburse for hotel taxes incurred within the state of Texas.

For additional information regarding Baylor University travel guidelines and policies click here.

Student Accounting Procedure Following Travel

In response to the changes initiated by the Graduate School regarding travel awards, the Religion Department has implemented the following policy for accounting of travel awards.

Regardless of whether or not a student received Religion Department travel funding only, Graduate School travel funding only, OR FUNDING FROM BOTH, students must submit ALL receipts to Mrs. Joyce Swoveland. Please note the following procedures:

  1. Immediately upon return from travel schedule an appointment with Joyce Swoveland.; 254-710-3758. Please allow approximately 15 minutes for the appointment.
  2. Appointments with Mrs. Swoveland MUST TAKE PLACE WITHIN 15 days of return from travel. Failure to do so will necessitate reimbursement by the student to the Religion Department and/or Graduate School for the full amount of the travel award.
  3. Receipts must be original and indicate method of payment.
  4. Itemized receipts are required for single meals over $45.
  5. Receipts should be equal to or slightly more than the total amount of the award(s)..
  6. Mrs. Swoveland will complete an expense report during your appointment. You must sign the expense report.

Steps 1-6 above are for accounting purposes following travel only.The process for applying for travel funds from the Religion Department has not changed. Please see the Graduate School website here for information about the process for applying for travel funds from the Graduate school.

Graduate Theological Fellowship

One of the most valuable resources graduate students encounter at Baylor University is the academic community that surrounds them. Helping to foster this collegiality is the job of the GTF--the Graduate Theological Fellowship.

Beyond fostering camaraderie among Religion Graduate Students, the goals of the GTF are to improve communication between graduate students and Religion faculty, forge closer ties between Religion graduate and undergraduate students, strengthen the link between the Religion Department and the Graduate School, and meet the needs of prospective, first-year, and international students more effectively.

The GTF leadership reflects the diversity of the Religion Graduate Student population by including members in various stages of the program, major areas of study, and denominational affiliations. This year's GTF president is Amanda Brobst-Renaud. Steering Committee Members are Lacy Crocker and Joshua Smith. The leadership team serves as the liaison between Religion Graduate Students and Graduate Faculty to improve communication and provide an accessible means for expressing student concerns.


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