As a Christian research university, the study of religion is one of Baylor’s hallmarks. The Religion Department attracts students interested in the academic study of the Christian faith. Baylor’s Truett Seminary prepares future ministers with a disciplined biblical and theological foundation. But this is just the beginning. Ph.D. programs in History, Psychology, Sociology, and Higher Education also have strong research agendas involving the study of religion and religious faith.
Baylor's Ph.D. program in Religion prepares students for research and teaching in graduate theological education and in the college and university setting where religion is taught as one of the liberal arts. The program offers an opportunity to work with leading scholars in biblical studies, church history, theology and ethics, and world Christianity.
Religion and Higher Education
Baylor's Ph.D. in Higher Education Studies & Leadership educates students who desire to make an impact through a career in higher education. The program encourages engagement with significant philosophies and theologies of higher education. Students explore how the Christian faith and the Christian intellectual tradition can guide Christian higher education and how moral and ethical frameworks guide views of student development and administrative decision-making.
- Dr. Perry Glanzer examines topics related to moral education, faith-based higher education, and the relationship between religion and education. He has written numerous books concerning moral identity and education, Christian higher education, and Christian scholarship and teaching. He is currently the Editor-in-Chief of Christian Scholar's Review.
- Dr. Nathan Alleman's teaching and research foci frequently converge around his interests in marginal and marginalized populations and institutions, often from a sociological perspective. These include students (first generation, rural, low income, undocumented, religious outsiders, food insecure), faculty (non-tenure track, religious minority), and institutions (Christian higher education, community college).
Religion in History
Within the broader focus on religion and culture, Baylor's Ph.D. in History offers concentrations in American Revolution, Intellectual History, Gilded Age and Progressive Era, Twentieth-Century America, Women and Gender Studies, Medieval England, British Empire, the North Atlantic World, and Global history from Africa and the Middle East to Global Christianity. The distinguished faculty include the following.
- Dr. Andrea L. Turpin's research interests are in the historical connections between gender ideals, religious beliefs and practices, and educational theory and practice. Her current research project positions educated women and their organizational cultures as key players in the narrative of the Protestant fundamentalist-modernist controversy of the early twentieth century, which served as a precursor to the contemporary culture wars.
- Dr. Beth Allison Barr's research focuses on women and religion in medieval and early modern England, focusing especially on vernacular sermons and devotional literature. She is interested in how the advent of Protestantism affected women in Christianity as well as how and why medieval perceptions of women in religious literature both changed and stayed the same across the Reformation era. More recently, her research has expanded to include modern evangelicalism (especially Baptists), but her approach is always rooted in the medieval world.
- Dr. Elesha J. Coffman's research interest lie in the turning points of American church history. Dr. Coffman's most recently published book explored the spiritual life of the anthropologist Margaret Mead. She also serves as editor of Fides et Historia, the journal of the Conference on Faith and History.
- Dr. Ronald Angelo Johnson's research embraces a transnational approach to African American history in the early United States, with specializations in diplomacy, race, and religion. He is currently writing a book on racialized U.S. diplomacy with Haiti from the American Revolution through Reconstruction, examining the impact of Haitian immigration on early U.S. religion and culture.
Psychology of Religion
The social psychology track of Baylor's Ph.D. in Psychology follows a research-intensive apprenticeship model in which students develop skills in research methodology, statistics, social-personality psychology, and other content areas. Specific faculty research areas include interpersonal relations (e.g., prejudice, aggression, attraction, helping, deception, and social rejection), positive psychology (e.g., gratitude, forgiveness, humility, and quality of life), personality, and the psychology of religion.
- Dr. Wade C. Rowatt uses an apprenticeship model to teach undergraduates and graduate students about psychological science (especially social-personality psychology). Along with his student collaborators, Dr. Rowatt studies personality traits like humility, the relationship between dimensions of religiousness and prejudice, and deception.
- Dr. Sarah A. Schnitker studies virtue and character development in adolescents and emerging adults, with a focus on the role of spirituality and religion in virtue formation. She specializes in the study of patience, self-control, gratitude, generosity, and thrift. Schnitker has procured more than $7 million in funding as a principle investigator on multiple research grants, and she has published in a variety of scientific journals and edited volumes.
- Dr. Jo-Ann C. Tsang has three general programs of research: Gratitude, forgiveness, and the psychology of religion. Dr. Tsang examines the relationship between religious personality variables and implicit prejudice, and often includes religious variables in her studies of gratitude and forgiveness.
Sociology of Religion
Baylor's Ph.D. in Sociology is recognized for its distinction in training sociologists of religion. The curriculum offers seminars to introduce students to theory in the sociology of religion. Students may go on to choose among elective seminars on such topics as religiosity, family and religion, religious organizations, religious deviance, and race/gender and religion.
- Dr. Kevin Dougherty's research explores religious affiliation, religious participation, racial diversity in congregations, congregational growth and decline, and the impact of religion on other realms of social life such as community involvement, politics, and work. He also regularly writes and speaks about innovative teaching.
- Dr. Paul Froese is a Professor of Sociology at Baylor University and the Director of the Baylor Religion Surveys. He is the author of three books, his most recent is On Purpose: How We Create the Meaning of Life (Oxford University Press). His research interests include the sociology of meaning, religion, comparative historical sociology, political sociology, and ideology.
- Dr. Jerry Park's research interests include the sociological study of religion, race, identity, culture, and civic participation. Currently, his research focuses on attitudes toward racial and religious minorities and perceptions of discrimination from racial and religious minorities, including: perceived religious group threats, White perceptions of racial inequality, perceptions of Anti-Muslim discrimination, and perceived Asian American advantage.
- Dr. Jeremy Uecker's research focuses on religion, family, sexual behavior, stratification, mental health, and the transition to adulthood. Along with Paul Froese, he is working on a detailed study on the prayer among US adults based on the sixth wave of the Baylor Religion Survey. He is also conducting multiple studies on the role of religion in the lives of US adolescents.