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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Arts
July 29, 2016
Canadian Excellence

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions


Inquiries concerning the nature of the program should be addressed to its director:
Dr. Jason Neelis,

Q1: M y background is not in religious studies, but I took some courses that involved the study of religion. Can those courses be counted toward the minimum admission requirement?

A1: For the purpose of meeting the admission requirement of 10 courses in religious studies, applicants m ay petition, in writing, to count selected courses as religious studies equivalents. Generally, no more than 5 courses in other fields will be counted as religious studies equivalents. The petition should accompany the application for admission to the PhD. The questions to be addressed for each course are (1) how the course helped prepare you in the study of religious diversity in North America and (2) in w hat ways the course is relevant to your proposed dissertation area. The first question is the primary one, since this admission requirement concerns preparation in the study of religion. Since transcripts contain minimal information about actual course content, the case for counting a course can be strengthened by the inclusion of a course description, syllabus, and/or descriptions of papers or other kinds of research conducted in the course.



A2: Religious studies and theology are not the same thing. Like philosophy, anthropology, and other such fields, theology is an allied field. When we receive an application for admission from an applicant in such fields, we look at specific courses, deciding which, if any, we will count toward the minimum for admission: 10 courses in religious studies. Norm ally, we accept no more than 5 courses as equivalents from any allied field, including theology. If you cannot meet the minim um , you must take qualifying courses to be able to apply for admission into the PhD program . Taking such courses does not guarantee admission, but it m ay enable you to compete successfully with other applicants.


Q3: I want to propose writing a dissertation on a theological topic. Is that a possible

A3: Theological reflection is a fact of religion; therefore studying it is as important as studying any other facet of religion such as ritual, myth, sacred places, or ethics.