Program Requirements

For the full requirements, see the SGS Calendar or download the Graduate Handbook.

  • The advisory committee is formed in August or September, prior to enrollment.
  • With the student, the committee prepares the Program Memorandum.
  • The committee meets yearly and submits an annual form to the grad office.


The Program Memorandum states the following:

  • Projected thesis subject
  • Area of specialization and at least one cognate area
  • Languages required for the thesis research
  • Courses to be taken


Required Courses

  • RLG 1000Y: Method and Theory in the Study of Religion
  • 1 Gateway course
  • 2 courses in Religion
  • At least 3 other half-year courses


    Professionalization Seminar

    • 12 workshops on diverse topics
    • Should be completed throughout the program
    • Early-stage workshops on pedagogy and grant writing
    • Upper-year workshops on the academic job market


    Exams in the following languages must be completed before the General Exams can be taken:

    • At least 1 modern research language other than English
    • At least 1 further language relevant to the student's specialization

    The department offers language courses in Pāli, Sanskrit, and Tibetan. Students can take other language courses as needed across the University. 

    Thesis Pre-Proposal

    • The student must submit a 2-page statement near the end of coursework.
    • The pre-proposal includes a brief statement of the prospective thesis topic.
    • The pre-proposal also names a supervisor and two professors for the Thesis Supervisory Committee.


    General Examinations

    • 3-hour written exam on the student's specialization
    • 2-hour written exam on a cognate area
    • 2-hour oral exam
    • The oral is based on the Thesis Pre-Proposal.
    • All three exams must be completed by the winter term in the 3rd year of the program.
      • The proposal is due within three months of the General Exams.
      • The proposal should be 10-15 pages, plus bibliography, including:
        • A working title
        • A concise statement of the thesis topic and relation to scholarship in the field
        • A discussion of the principal sources and methods of inquiry
        • The reasons for believing that the thesis will constitute a significant contribution to the field
        • An outline of expected chapters
        • A brief bibliography
      • Upper-year students must give a 2-hour presentation to the department.
      • The presentation should include the student's research, response from a faculty member, and Q&A.
      • The colloquium must be completed before the thesis defense
      • The dissertation is directed by the supervisor, with committee review once per year.
      • The student is responsible for convening the yearly meeting.
      • The defense is a 2-hour oral exam, including the following examiners: the student's supervisor, thesis committee members, a faculty member from the University of Toronto, and an external examiner.