PhD - Religious Studies Degree Program
PREREQUISITE: A Master's degree (or equivalent) with a minimum of 60 credits in interspirituality, theology, anthropology, sociology, history, religion, human development or related disciplines.
60 Credits (min.) of study at the New Earth Theological University (NETU) are required for this doctoral program.
The three (3) NETU components required for a doctorate are:
- articulation of a research focus-area orientation PRIOR to being admitted into the program;
- completion of a program of advanced course study;
- successful oral defense of a thesis on original and unique research.
The New Earth Theological University Doctoral degree certifies creditable completion of an approved program of advanced study in addition to a research dissertation of high quality based on in-depth original research as a unique contribution to advancement of the articulated scholarly field. *
NETU's PhD in Religious Studies degree program is a highly flexible, interdisciplinary program that takes full advantage of faculty strengths within NETU as well as ancillary fields of the humanities and related social sciences.
In the spirit of an inherently interdisciplinary character of interspiritual and modern theological religious studies, this program prepares scholars in the history, theory and method of interspiritual, religious studies and complementary approaches such as textual study, philosophy, history, anthropology, sociology and art.
NETU's exceptional faculty’s broad training and diverse interests provide a rich foundation for future scholarship and teaching in a field that demands trained specialists also actively engaged in full-spectrum methodological, theoretical global conversations of interest to the whole discipline.
* IMPORTANT: All applicants for the Doctor of Philosophy - Religious Studies Program must articulate a research focus-area orientation with a thesis statement PRIOR to being admitted into the program. Applicants without articulation of a proposed thesis statement - on the application form - will NOT be accepted into the PhD Program.
Upon entering this PhD in Religious Studies Program, all students are assigned an Academic Advisor.
Doctoral students must successfully complete two NETU prerequisite courses, Introduction to Interspiritual Studies; and Foundations for Academic Research (unless already successfully completed during undergraduate or graduate study) with other possible prerequisite courses as specified in the current program curriculum (see below).*
The doctoral academic advisor assists the student in reflecting both on the overall program of study and on specific courses for the program. The advisor is normally an academic in their primary area of study.
Students must complete all required coursework and pass their appropriate competency exams.
Under direction of their doctoral advisor, students prepare a Dissertation Project Proposal. Proposals must be submitted by the end of the first academic year (two full semesters) after passing competency prerequisite course exams.
Upon approval of the dissertation proposal by their doctoral advisor, the student is admitted to candidacy for the PhD - Religious Studies.
Research continues and the dissertation is then prepared, submitted, and defended in an oral examination. This should ordinarily take place within three to five academic terms after competency examinations are passed. If the dissertation is not submitted and accepted within five (5) academic terms after the preliminary examinations, the student may be dropped from candidacy. Candidates may petition the dean in-writing for an extension, with recommendation from their program advisor.
The defense of the dissertation involves an in-depth oral exam after the written thesis has been accepted. Students must submit a finished copy of the dissertation in the approved NETU format to the advisor for dissemination to the advisory committee - AT LEAST three (3) weeks - in advance of the defense. Students are encouraged to seek academic advice from their principal advisor and the school dean throughout the course of their doctoral studies.
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY ~ PhD in Religious Studies
60 credits minimum required with successful dissertation defense at NETU to be awarded a doctoral degree in NETU's PhD - Religious Studies Program
PhD Program requirements:
- articulation of a research focus-area orientation PRIOR to admission into a PhD program
- 60 minimum credits at NETU
- Three (3) minimum NETU semesters (enrolled in and completed, once accepted into this PhD Program)
- Each semester in the PhD Program includes a course (with successful completion) of a Research Project / Dissertation Advisory with assigned advisor = 9 Credits
- 2 Prerequisite Regular Courses (with successful completion) = 16 credits (each regular course = 8 Credits) **
- Successful dissertation oral defense
Summation - Program Credits
- 1 Research Project/Dissertation Advisory with advisor per semester = 9 Credits
- if 4 semesters = 36 Credits
- if 5 semesters = 45 Credits
- 2 Prerequisite Regular Courses ** = 16 Credits
- 1 Elective Course = 8 Credits (or as needed) 2 Elective Courses = 16 Credits
A) 3 semester advisories = 27 credits + 2 prerequisites = 16 credits + 3 electives = 24 credits for 67 Credits (total 8 courses)
B) 4 semester advisories = 36 credits + 2 prerequisites = 16 credits + 1 elective = 8 credits for 60 Credits (total 7 courses)
C) 5 semester advisories = 45 credits + 2 prerequisites = 16 credits for 61 Credits (total 7 courses)
(Those few examples show how a student might proceed through the PhD Program at their own pace.)
PhD Program students may expect an average of three-five semesters or two-three years depending on approved transferred credits, semester enrollment and student's ability to fast-tract coursework, research and dissertation paper.
* Prerequisite Courses
As of June 1, 2018, all new NETU students are required to take (and successfully complete) two prerequisite courses:
- Entering the Gate: Foundations for Academic Research
- Introduction to Interspiritual Studies
PhD Program Areas of Study and Competency
- Religious Studies
- Focus-area Studies - Interspirituality, Modern Theology, Human Development, Sacred Literature, etc.
- Focus-area Research Project
NOTE: The dissertation is expected to be a minimum of 150 pages, usually stemming from 3-5 years of intensive studies related to the research project.
The term “dissertation” comes from the Latin word ‘dissertare’, meaning a full or complete examination and discussion arguing for proof of its conclusions, which (from about the mid-17th century) came to mean a 'formal written treatise' from study submitted to complete a Doctoral degree.
At NETU, a Doctoral dissertation creatively presents the methods, results and findings of a new and innovative research project, with supporting evidence of its conclusions, which is designed to advance a solution to an existing problem or proposal (see above) with significant interspiritual and humanitarian potential.