Why study Sociology of Religion at Baylor?
The Department of Sociology at Baylor University is recognized for its distinction in training sociologists of religion.
Our curriculum combines seminars of substantive interests and independent research. Two required seminars introduce students to theory in the sociology of religion. We train all students in advanced quantitative data management and analytic techniques, and a required methods course on doing research with sociology of religion data. In addition, students may choose among six elective seminars on such topics as religiosity, family and religion, religious organizations, religious deviance, and race/gender and religion. It is our belief that students learn best by hands-on experience. Consequently, our financial packages are designed to maximize the amount of time students have to pursue their independent research topics.
What resources are available?
Too many programs bring in graduate students to service large introduction to sociology courses. This limits the amount of time they have to work on their own research. At Baylor we do things differently. We admit a small cohort of student for each fall. We offer full graduate assistantships and tuition remission to all whom we accept into the program. With continued satisfactory progress toward the terminal Ph.D. degree, funding is renewed for up to five years. Students have their own workspace and desktop computer and access to wide variety of data analysis software (STATA , SAS, SPSS, GIS, Geoda, HLM, R, Nivio).
Our graduate seminars are comprised of mixed cohorts of students with very similar research interests. Our students are active research partners, collaborating regularly with faculty and other graduate students. Students have had original research published in high quality peer-reviewed journals, including Social Forces, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, The Sociological Quarterly, Sociology of Religion, Review of Religious Research, and Social Science Quarterly. Additionally, our department is the home to the nationally-recognized Baylor Religion Survey. Every three years we partner with the Gallup Organization to measure the religious beliefs and values of the American population. In the past we have examined the relationships of religion in its varied forms to trust and civic engagement, politics, the paranormal, image of God, consumption patterns, race, gender, family, health, and work to name a few.
The department has a distinguished visiting scholar program. Renowned scholars such as Dr. Peter Berger (now deceased) have spent time at Baylor working with graduate students. Dr. James Hunter has been our current distinguished visiting scholar for the past three years and continues in this role.
All graduate students in the sociology of religion are expected, and financially supported, to attend and present research papers at the annual meetings of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. Students also routinely present research papers at the American Sociological Association annual meetings. Students can expect support from the department for two meetings per year.
As a private institution, we take our teaching mission very seriously. We expect our students to leave with the same appreciation of undergraduate teaching. Students receive careful mentoring for teaching, including a required Seminar in Teaching and a semester of supervised teaching This training equips students to design, implement, and evaluate effective college courses.
What can I expect?
At Baylor we offer a collegial environment where success is celebrated. We offer committed faculty members who have a good history of writing and publishing with graduate students. We offer access to unique data. We offer opportunities to network with leading scholars in the field. We offer training for excellent teaching. Most importantly, we offer the time to engage in research. At Baylor we transform students to scholars in the sociology of religion.