Admission Deadlines

General: Jan. 5
Space Available: May 1

Begin your application here.

Qualifications for Admission 

Thank you for considering applying to UC Davis.  As you prepare your graduate school application, keep in mind that our admission committee will be looking for two main things:

1. evidence that you have the potential to succeed in our graduate program 

2. evidence that our program is a good fit for you (there are faculty who are part of our program working in the area(s) you wish to study who could be good mentors for you).  Make sure the required items below speak to these two criteria.  Qualified Ph.D. applicants must hold a Bachelor's or Master's degree in a discipline relevant to the Study of Religion, such as Religious Studies, History, Philosophy, or Anthropology. Applicants should also have begun the study of at least one language relevant to the intended area of primary research (for example Arabic, French, German, Greek, Hebrew or Sanskrit). Further language study can be continued in parallel with the Ph.D. program. Applicants must also have a member of the Study of Religion Graduate Program Faculty willing to serve as his/her/they Major Professor (mentor/research adviser) in order to be admitted. To this end, applicants are encouraged to look closely at faculty research profiles to ensure that mentorship is available in their desired specialty.  Potential Major Professors for each applicant will be discussed by the admissions committee during the admissions process. Finally, applicants must submit all of the following material by the deadline (Jan. 15th) to be considered for admission the following fall.

Commitment to Diversity

What would the study of religion be without a diversity of ideas, cultures, and backgrounds? We welcome graduate student applicants who can bring perspectives and experiences that have not often received attention in higher education. Such training strengthens and enriches our research, scholarship, and teaching. A diverse graduate student population also enhances the academic experience for all students.

We are committed to a multicultural academic environment that supports the success of all graduate students. Diversity among students, faculty, and staff is an integral factor in graduate education at UC Davis, to achieve an equitable, hospitable, and inclusive educational environment. For more information on diversity at UC Davis, please visit

Visiting UC Davis

If you are planning a visit to UC Davis, please feel free to contact Maria to arrange an appointment:


Top applicants to the Ph.D. program will receive generous financial support packages. To be considered for financial support, please submit all application materials listed in the application checklist below, by the January 15th deadline. For more information, see


Graduate school tuition and fees are listed on the UC Davis Graduate studies website:

Application Checklist

Application Fee: $135 domestic, $155 international.

The Graduate Program in the Study of Religion at UC Davis offers a limited number of fee waivers for applicants who meet certain eligibility criteria. 


In order to receive a fee waiver from the Department, you must be a U.S. citizen, current permanent resident, an AB540 student or a DACA student. You must also demonstrate financial need.

You can demonstrate financial need in one of the following ways:

  1. You are currently receiving need-based financial aid from your undergraduate or graduate institution. This includes (but is not limited to) being eligible for a federal Pell grant or a Cal Grant A or B as an undergraduate.
  2. You have completed the FAFSA form and your Student Aid Report (SAR) has an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of $3,069 or below.
  3. Your personal situation makes it financially difficult to pay the graduate application fee. This could include heavy child or elder care responsibilities, current unemployment or a recent emergency that depleted your financial resources.
  4. Your family’s 2021 tax return lists an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) less than or equal to an amount from the table below:

Total Family Size and AGI                 

1              $23,828

2              $32,227

3              $40,626

4              $49,025

5              $57,424

 If you meet these requirements, please fill out the fee waiver application form.

Applications must be received by 5:00 pm Pacific time on January 5, 2024 in order to receive consideration. If we receive more applications than available fee waivers, the Department will prioritize financial need; if there are any remaining funds after applicants’ needs have been considered and waivers awarded, the Department will allocate them to eligible applicants through a random lottery.  

If you are awarded this fellowship, it will be applied to your application after you have officially submitted your application to the program. After submitting (but before paying the application fee), please email, letting her know you have submitted, so she may add the fellowship to your application. Do NOT pay the application fee yourself; we cannot refund you the application fee if you pay it yourself.
Important note: the UC Davis Graduate Studies office also offers a separate fee-waiver program, please click here for more information. While applicants may apply to both programs, they may receive only one waiver in total.

Statement of Purpose (4,000 character limit, including spaces)

Please highlight your academic preparation and motivation; interests, specializations and career goals; and fit for pursuing graduate study at UC Davis.

  • preparation and motivation may include your academic and research experiences that prepare you for this graduate program (for example: coursework, employment, exhibitions, fieldwork, foreign language proficiency, independent study, internships, laboratory activities, presentations, publications, studio projects, teaching, and travel or study abroad) and motivation or passion for graduate study.
  • interests, specializations, and career goals may include your research interests, disciplinary subfields, area/s of specialization, and professional objectives.
  • fit may include how your preparation, experiences, and interests match the specific resources and characteristics of your graduate program at UC Davis. Please identify specific faculty within your desired graduate program with whom you would like to work and how their interests match your own.

Personal History Statement (4,000 character limit, including spaces)

The purpose of this essay is to get know you as an individual and potential graduate student. Please describe how your personal background informs your decision to pursue a graduate degree. You may include any educational, familial, cultural, economic, or social experiences, challenges, community service, outreach activities, residency and citizenship, first-generation college status, or opportunities relevant to your academic journey; how your life experiences contribute to the social, intellectual, or cultural diversity within a campus community and your chosen field; or how you might serve educationally underrepresented and underserved segments of society with your graduate education.
This essay should complement but not duplicate the content in the Statement of Purpose.

Writing Sample
The sample of your written work should be a research paper or critical analysis. It can be an essay previously submitted for a class. It will be submitted online during the application process. While there is no length requirement, most successful samples are at least 10 pages long.

Please make sure that all information in your online application is correct and that all statements & writing samples are revised/uploaded before submitting. No changes can be made to your application once it is submitted.

Additional Required Materials for ALL Applicants 

Three letters of recommendation (from professors)
During the online application process, you will be required to provide your recommenders' contact information, including email addresses. Your professors will be contacted to submit their recommendations electronically once you have provided this information.  No letters sent by mail/email will be accepted. Letters must be submitted online in the Apply Yourself system.

Transcripts:  We require academic records from each college-level institution you have attended.  You will be instructed to upload scanned copies of your transcripts after you have submitted your online application.  For more details visit   Upon admission, an official transcript must be shown to graduate studies as a condition of admission, but may be retained by the student. Falsified records will be immediate cause for revoking any offer of admission and funding.
International Applicants: Certified English translations of your transcripts must be uploaded along with the original-language transcript.

Additional Required Materials for International Applicants 

Please review the requirements listed on the Graduate Studies website:

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Did you receive my materials? Once we have processed your application materials, we will email you a courtesy notice to let you know if any items have not been received.  This will typically take about 1 week.  You can also check online (in the application system) to see if your letters of recommendation have been received.
  • When I preview the application, it seems like I didn't fill in some of the information, but I wasn't asked.  What should I do?  Our graduate program opted out of asking some questions because we felt they were redundant. You will not be able to fill in the following sections: GRE Scores; Prior Experience; Prerequisite Course History; Future Interests or Goals; Resume/CV (upload).
  • Is funding available for International students?  Yes. Funding is available for international students, but it is quite limited. 
  • Is funding available for undocumented or DACAmented students?Some scholarships and loans may be available to undocumented students thanks to the California Dream Act. In order to work as a Teaching Assistant or Graduate Student Researcher, students must be authorized to work (by DACA or other means). To learn more, please visit the Undocumented Student Center website.
  • How do I apply for the M.A.? We do not accept applications for terminal M.A. degrees.  While Ph.D. students may earn an M.A. en route to the Ph.D., we do not accept students directly to the M.A. program.
  • How do I apply for Spring admission? Applications for admission are accepted for fall quarter only.
  • I made a mistake in my online application.  Can I send you a corrected version? Unfortunately we are not able to alter your application once you have submitted it. Please take care to proofread your documents before the final submission.

For questions about the admissions process or more information about the Study of Religion Ph.D. program, please contact