Admission Steps

Joint Doctoral Program in the Study of Religion - PHD

Admission Requirements

Terms and Deadlines

For the 2023-2024 academic year

Fall 2023 quarter (beginning in September)

  • Priority deadline: January 9, 2023

  • Final submission deadline: June 1, 2023

Priority deadline: Applications will be considered after the Priority deadline provided space is available.

Final submission deadline: Applicants cannot submit applications after the final submission deadline.

Degree and GPA Requirements

Degrees and GPA Requirements

Bachelors degree: All graduate applicants must hold an earned baccalaureate from a regionally accredited college or university or the recognized equivalent from an international institution.

Masters degree: This program requires a masters degree as well as the baccalaureate.

Grade point average: The minimum undergraduate GPA for admission consideration for graduate study at the University of Denver is a cumulative 2.5 on a 4.0 scale or a 2.5 on a 4.0 scale for the last 60 semester credits or 90 quarter credits (approximately two years of work) for the baccalaureate degree. An earned master’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited institution supersedes the minimum standards for the baccalaureate. For applicants with graduate coursework but who have not earned a master’s degree or higher, the GPA from the graduate work may be used to meet the requirement. The minimum GPA is a cumulative 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for all graduate coursework undertaken.

Program GPA requirement: The minimum undergraduate GPA for admission consideration for this program is a cumulative 2.5 on a 4.0 scale. A completed master's degree relevant to the student's proposed concentration(s) from a HLC accredited American university or a comparably accredited insitution outside the United States is required. A GPA from all graduate work of no less than 3.0 is required for admission into the program.



Students with an interest in studying the Bible or ancient texts are required to have at least one year of Koine Greek and one year of Biblical Hebrew within the last five years, or the equivalent. If you are uncertain if this requirement is relevant to you, please contact for details.

Additional Standards for Non-Native English Speakers

Additional Standards for Non-Native English Speakers

Official scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), International English Language Testing System (IELTS), C1 Advanced or Duolingo English Test are required of all graduate applicants, regardless of citizenship status, whose native language is not English or who have been educated in countries where English is not the native language. Your TOEFL/IELTS/C1 Advanced/Duolingo English Test scores are valid for two years from the test date.

The minimum TOEFL/IELTS/C1 Advanced/Duolingo English Test score requirements for this degree program are:

  • Minimum TOEFL Score (Internet-based test): 80

  • Minimum IELTS Score: 6.5

  • Minimum C1 Advanced Score: 176

  • Minimum Duolingo English Test Score: 115

English Conditional Acceptance Offered: No, this program does not offer English Conditional Admission.

Additional Standards for International Applicants

Additional Standards for International Applicants

Per Student & Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) regulation, international applicants must meet all standards for admission before an I-20 or DS-2019 is issued, [per U.S. Federal Register: 8 CFR § 214.3(k)] or is academically eligible for admission and is admitted [per 22 C.F.R. §62]. Read the Additional Standards For International Applicants policy for more details.

Application Materials



We require a scanned copy of your transcripts from every college or university you have attended. Scanned copies must be clearly legible and sized to print on standard 8½-by-11-inch paper. Transcripts that do not show degrees awarded must also be accompanied by a scanned copy of the diploma or degree certificate. If your academic transcripts were issued in a language other than English, both the original documents and certified English translations are required.

Transcripts and proof of degree documents for postsecondary degrees earned from institutions outside of the United States will be released to a third-party international credential evaluator to assess U.S. education system equivalencies. Beginning July 2023, a non-refundable fee for this service will be required before the application is processed.

Upon admission to the University of Denver, official transcripts will be required from each institution attended.

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of Recommendation

Three (3) letters of recommendation are required.  We require three recommendation letters from qualified persons who are able to evaluate your academic strengths (coursework you have done, papers you have written, languages you have studied, etc.). Graduate faculty who are familiar with your academic work are especially appropriate recommenders, as are undergraduate faculty. Our application system will ask you to provide the names and email addresses of your recommenders. We will email a request for a letter of recommendation to your recommender within one business day of you entering their information. Please be sure you provide accurate email addresses for your recommenders. We suggest you let your recommender know before submitting your application that you are requesting a recommendation from them. This will allow your recommender time to write their recommendation and submit it by the application deadline (if applicable). Our email will give them instructions for submitting their recommendation.

Required Essays and Statements

Essays and Statements

Personal Statement Instructions

We require a statement of purpose (typically 3-5 pages) that explains your academic and professional goals and explains your preparation for pursuing a PhD in your area of the study of religion. Please be sure to name specific faculty at both the University of Denver and Iliff with whom you wish to work. You will upload your personal statement and attach it to your online application before submission. (75 words)

Writing Sample

Writing Sample Instructions

A research paper that represents the applicant’s best effort in an academic field of study directly related to the proposed field of study is required. Length is typically 10-20 pages, not to exceed 25 pages. Multi-authored papers are not acceptable.

Start the Application

Online Application

Start Your Application

Your submitted materials will be reviewed once all materials and application fees have been received.

Apply Now

Our program can only consider your application for admission if our Office of Graduate Education has received all your online materials and supplemental materials by our application deadline.

Application Fee: $65.00 Application Fee

International Degree Evaluation Fee: $50 Evaluation Fee for degrees (bachelor's or higher) earned from institutions outside the United States.

Financial Aid Information

Financial Aid Information

Applicants should complete their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by February 15. Visit the Office of Financial Aid for additional information.