Guidelines for Application to the Graduate Program in Religion
The online application for admission to the graduate program is found on the Baylor Graduate School’s website. The number of admissions each year is limited by the availability of faculty to provide individualized supervision of each student’s program of study and financial resources of the university.
The Religion Department’s Graduate Admissions Committee chaired by the department’s Director of Graduate Studies carefully reviews all applications. Among many factors considered by the committee are scope and quality of foundational work, grade-point averages, GRE scores, foreign language competency, career goals, and letters of reference. Reference letters should come from professors who have a thorough knowledge of the applicant’s academic accomplishments. Applications must have all materials submitted by December 15, 2020. The committee begins selecting applicants for interviews soon after that date. Applications cannot be considered until all requested materials and scores are on file. Applicants who have not taken the GRE should anticipate a period of at least four weeks from the date of the examination until receipt of scores by the University. Please note that GRE scores are valid only for five years.
The first step in the admissions process is to submit an application. This involves completing and submitting all required materials to the Graduate School by the application deadline. For questions regarding admissions, please contact the Academic and Student Support Associate for the Graduate Studies Program. If you are unsure of which concentration you should apply for (particularly deciding between Historical Studies and Theological Studies), please contact the Graduate Studies Office Academic and Student Support Associate or the Graduate Program Director, Dr. Jim Nogalski.
Applicants for the 2021-2022 academic year must submit an application and all additional required materials by December 15, 2020. It is imperative that all application materials are submitted by the application deadline. Applicants are encouraged to read "Tips for Applying" here before beginning the application process.
Please note that applicants who meet the following prerequisites are not guaranteed admission. Prerequisites include but are not limited to the following list.
Admission to the Ph.D. program in Religion requires an M.A. or its equivalent (30 semester hours of accredited graduate work in Religion at the degree level of M.A., B.D., M.Div., etc.). Please note, a B.D. is in reference to European systems where B.D. represents a post-university degree.
Applicants in Old Testament or New Testament studies must have completed a minimum of twelve (12) semester hours of one biblical language (Greek or Hebrew) and six (6) semester hours in the other, with a grade of B or above in the last semester of each language. Applicants who intend to concentrate in the Old Testament area will benefit from having completed a minimum of twelve (12) semester hours of Hebrew and six (6) semester hours of Greek. Those whose area of concentration will be New Testament will benefit from having completed twelve (12) semester hours of Greek and six (6) semester hours of Hebrew. For information on modern foreign language requirements, click here.
The following checklist includes items required for a complete application:
- Graduate School Admissions Application. The application can be completed and submitted online. Click here to complete an admissions application.
- Official GRE Score. An official GRE score is one that is submitted to the Graduate School by the testing institution. Testing institutions can submit GRE scores to the Graduate School at the applicant's request (Baylor's GRE code is 6032). GRE scores submitted by the applicant are not official and therefore do not satisfy the requirement. Please note, scores are required for ALL sections of the GRE (analytical writing, verbal, and quantitative sections). Please contact the Graduate Studies Office Academic and Student Support Associate or the Graduate Program Director, Dr. Jim Nogalski if you have any questions regarding the GRE requirement.
- TOEFL. The TOEFL is required for all international applicants unless they have completed a bachelor's (or higher) degree from an accredited U.S. institution. This requirement does not apply to non-international applicants. For additional information, consult the current Graduate Catalog or contact the Graduate School.
- Transcript(s). For application purposes the Graduate School will accept unofficial transcripts. A transcript must be submitted for each academic institution attended by the applicant. If an applicant receives an offer of admission from Baylor University, admission is contingent upon receipt of official transcripts from each academic institution attended by the applicant.
- Recommendation Letters. Three letters of recommendation are required from professors who have had you in their class.
- Autobiographical Essay. The autobiographical essay (600-1000 words) may be submitted online as part of the online application process. The essay is a personal statement that must clearly and specifically provide the following information:
- A statement concerning your area of specialization to which you are applying (Old Testament, New Testament, Historical Studies, or Theological Studies)
- A description of your academic pilgrimage and how it has prepared you for pursuing graduate studies in religion at Baylor University
- A delineation of your career goals
- A clear description of your research agenda and how you envision fulfilling that at Baylor. While we do not expect students to have a fully defined dissertation topic, knowing the questions and topics that interest you, as well as a description of the work you have done on the topic, allows us to make more informed decisions.
- Recent Research Paper. The research paper (suggested length of 12-15 pages) may be submitted online as part of the online application process. Submit a paper on a topic related to the area to which you are applying (i.e., do not submit an Old Testament paper if you are applying to Historical Studies). Submit a paper that gives us a good indication of who you are as a scholar at this point in your development.
- The application can be completed and submitted online (see link at top right of page). Please send physical copies of any materials that cannot be submitted online to the following address:
Graduate School Admissions Office
One Bear Place #97264
Waco, TX 76798-7264