Doctor of Philosophy in Religious Studies (PhD)
The PhD in Religious Studies at present provides training in early Judaism, Christian origins, and religions of the Late Antique Mediterranean.
Students develop range and breadth through coursework and comprehensive examinations in Years 1 and 2 of the program; after that, students will be encouraged and enabled to narrow their focus so that they become world experts in their chosen dissertation topic.
What makes the program unique?
The program takes advantage of the unique combination of disciplines in the Department, exposing students to a wide range of academic approaches to the ancient world. We are a small but engaged department and are able to provide students with programs tailored to individual interests. Students will have frequent interaction with faculty and the academic community.
Our research strengths in Religious Studies include Hebrew Bible studies, Jewish studies, and early Christian history and literature. Many of our faculty are interested in historiography, receptions of the ancient world, and digital approaches to the past.
Additionally, our faculty have expertise in a large range of ancient languages and we offer rigorous training in Ancient Greek, Latin, Biblical Hebrew, and Classical Arabic as well as introductory courses in Akkadian, Middle Egyptian, and Coptic.
Our students have access to work space in the Graduate Reading Room with exclusive access to a library of ancient texts and seminal scholarship relating to Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies and a computer lab for research and teaching equipped with eight powerful desktop PC computers with dual monitors and a variety of software packages (including ArcGIS, Adobe Creative Suite and Agisoft Photoscan) as well as a 3D printer.
TOEFL (ibT) Overall Score Requirement
IELTS Overall Score Requirement
Supervisor commitment required prior to application?
Deadline to submit online application. No changes can be made to the application after submission.Transcript Deadline
Deadline to upload scans of official transcripts through the applicant portal in support of a submitted application. Information for accessing the applicant portal will be provided after submitting an online application for admission.Referee Deadline
Deadline for the referees identified in the application for admission to submit references. See Letters of Reference for more information.
September 2020 Intake
Application Open Date05 September 2019
September 2021 Intake
Application Open Date05 September 2020
We aim to support all of our graduate students, with the vast majority receiving funding. Well qualified PhD applicants (with a completed MA) receive approximately $25,000 per year over four years (including scholarships, teaching assistantships and research assistantships; contingent upon academic performance). Students who are successful in major external competitions may receive over $40,000 per year. In addition, the Department provides support for student travel and research abroad.
All full-time students who begin a UBC-Vancouver PhD program in September 2018 or later will be provided with a funding package of at least $18,000 for each of the first four years of their PhD. The funding package may consist of any combination of internal or external awards, teaching-related work, research assistantships, and graduate academic assistantships. Please note that many graduate programs provide funding packages that are substantially greater than $18,000 per year. Please check with your prospective graduate program for specific details of the funding provided to its PhD students.
Applicants to UBC have access to a variety of funding options, including merit-based (i.e. based on your academic performance) and need-based (i.e. based on your financial situation) opportunities.
We encourage all applicants to review the awards listing to identify potential opportunities to fund your graduate education. The database lists merit-based scholarships and awards and allows for filtering by various criteria, such as domestic vs. international or degree level.
In addition to scholarships and awards, applicants may be eligible to apply for financial aid or other benefits in the form of loans, bursaries, tax credits, or similar.
Tuition / Program Costs
|Fees||Canadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / Diplomat||International|
|Installments per year||3||3|
|Tuition per installment||$1,698.56||$2,984.09|
|Tuition per year|
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
|Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible)||$3,200.00 (-)|
|Other Fees and Costs|
|Student Fees (yearly)||$944.51 (approx.)|
|Costs of living (yearly)||starting at $16,954.00 (check cost calculator)|
All fees for the year are subject to adjustment and UBC reserves the right to change any fees without notice at any time, including tuition and student fees. Tuition fees are reviewed annually by the UBC Board of Governors. In recent years, tuition increases have been 2% for continuing domestic students and between 2% and 5% for continuing international students. New students may see higher increases in tuition. Admitted students who defer their admission are subject to the potentially higher tuition fees for incoming students effective at the later program start date. In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.
This list shows faculty members with full supervisory privileges who are affiliated with this program. It is not a comprehensive list of all potential supervisors as faculty from other programs or faculty members without full supervisory privileges can request approvals to supervise graduate students in this program.
Bablitz, Leanne (Roman history, Roman law, Roman courtrooms, , Roman social history and law, Roman topography, Roman legal procedure)
Cooper, Elisabeth (Archaeology of greater Mesopotamia)
Cousland, Robert (classical Greek mythology, Jewish-Hellenistic litereature, Greek mythology and religion, religion and comporary music, film and literature)
De Angelis, Franco (Ancient Greek world history, environment, urbanism, developmnet of societies, colonization, economics, ancient literature)
Fisher, Kevin (Archeological Data Analysis, Archeological Excavation Methods and Techniques, Dynamics of Social Transformations, Urban Spaces and Urbanity, Social Life / Societal Life, Near Eastern archaeology, Mediterranean archaeology, built environments, architecture, urbanism, digital archaeology, social interaction, power)
Gardner, Gregg (Judaism, Rabbinic Literature, Rabbinic Judaism, Mishnah, Talmud, Jewish Studies, Jewish Law, Jewish Ethics, Charity, Jewish Ethics, Archaeology of Israel, Archaeology and Hebrew Bible, Archaeology of Jerusalemn )
Griffin, Michael (Greek philosophy, Ancient philosophy, Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, Proclus, Neoplatonism, Ancient logic )
Keddie, George Anthony (Religion, Ethnicity, and Economy in the Roman East; Apocalypticism in Judaism and Christianity; Jewish and Christian Material Culture and Epigraphy; Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha; Archaeology of Roman Palestine; Urban Contexts of Christian Origins; Classical Ethiopic (Ge'ez) Language and Literature; Theory and Method for Religious Studies and Social History)
Marshall, Christopher Warren (Literary or Artistic Works Analysis, Performance and Theatrical Productions)
McCarty, Matthew (archaeology and art of the Roman Empire and Iron Age Europe/North Africa; ancient religion and ritual practice; interplays between texts, practices, and objects; imperialism, colonialism, and identity in the ancient world; interdisciplinary, cross-cultural, comparative (especially comparison with Qin/Han China), and theoretical approaches; historiography of archaeology)
McElduff, Siobhan (Literary or Artistic Work Analysis, Philosophy, History and Comparative Studies, Popular Cultures Produced and Broadcasted by Media, Translation History (pre-modern), Translation and gesture, Cheap literature and classical reception, Book history (18th, 19th centuries), Ballads)
Milstein, Sara (Religious Contexts, Literary or Artistic Works Analysis, History of Major Eras, Great Civilisations or Geographical Corpuses, Hebrew Bible and Near Eastern Studies, literary history of the Bible, Near Eastern scribal culture, Mesopotamian literature, biblical and cuneiform law)
Schneider, Thomas (Egyptian history and phonoly)
Yoon, Florence (heralds and the representation of the absent; anonymity and naming, particularly in Greek Tragedy; props and silent characters in Greek drama)
Recent Doctoral Citations
- Dr. Clement Tsz Ming Tong
"Dr. Tong studied the earliest Chinese translations of the Christian Bible by Protestant missionaries, and demonstrated that factors such as patronage, rivalry, and networking often played a more important role than literary and linguistic considerations. His research provides new and challenging insights into the beginning of Chinese Protestantism." (November 2016)
- Dr. Justin Matthew Glessner
"Dr. Glessner examined competing views of conventional masculinity in early Christian literature focused on the character of Joseph of Nazareth. His findings expose the political mechanics behind Joseph's colourful characterizations and open interpretive possibilities for rethinking normative views of manliness in early Christianity and beyond." (November 2014)
- Dr. Tracy R Ames
"Dr. Ames studied the Talmud Yerushalmi, demonstrating that it was carefully constructed and deliberately edited. Contrary to traditional claims that the Talmud Yerushalmi was improperly and hastily compiled, Dr. Ames concluded that biblical and rabbinic traditions were subjected to an interventionist editorial process, with novel creative input." (May 2013)