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Program Requirements and Information
In their transition year or first year of the program, all students will be required to enroll in PHD-700 “Research Methodology and Scholarly Development I” and PHD-701 “Research Methodology and Scholarly Development II.” Offered on alternate academic years, this year long course will be held weekly and will provide students with the tools for doctoral level research and opportunities for collegial interaction. The following topics will be included: a) Introduction to Research Skills; b) Using a Library Effectively; c) Logical Thinking; d) Quantitative and Qualitative Data; e) Writing Articles, Book Proposals, and Reviews; f) Developing a Career in Scholarship; and g) Theories of Religious Studies.
Each student will produce an annual report of 2-3 pages on their progress for scrutiny by the IPC. This annual report will initially be submitted to their lead advisor who will add a covering report. This report must be received by the IPC for review at its May meeting.
United Kingdom Residency Requirement
To insure that all students receive direct exposure to the United Kingdom model and receive input on their research from faculty at the University of Exeter, students will be required to attend the University of Exeter for a period of three months. Ideally, this period should run concurrently with a regular University of Exeter semester. The student’s second advisor from the University of Exeter will serve as their lead advisor during the period in residence.
Although there is no specific language requirement for the program it is expected that all students will already have or will acquire any and all languages appropriate, as determined during the admissions process or later decided by the students’ Hartford Seminary and University of Exeter advisors, for the research required for their specific dissertation. If the specific language needed for the Ph.D. dissertation is not offered at Hartford Seminary it will be the responsibility of the student to acquire the language on their own and at their own cost. Students may be required to complete an examination demonstrating sufficient proficiency in the language(s) to undertake the research before the upgrade examination may be scheduled. Language courses taken for credit do not count for credit in the program.
Most students will be required to participate in a transition year before formally starting their work in the Ph.D. program. This transition year will be comprised of the following components:
PHD-699: Ph.D. Research Skills Preparation, a course that consists of the following:
A day-long retreat at the beginning of the program where students will form personal bonds with other students and their faculty advisors. At this retreat, students and advisors will begin to map out their work for their first academic year.
The resulting plan will include:
- Initial determination of the student's academic area of focus. Basically a mission statement for their time in the Ph.D. program.
- A schedule of taught coursework and independent studies to be taken at Hartford Seminary over the course of the academic year that will prepare the student for the tutorial focus of the Ph.D. program. (See #2 below for more information.)
An introduction to Ph.D. level scholarship, including a discussion of good academic writing and review of library resources.
A mid-year retreat where students will come prepared to discuss and assess three dissertations in their area of research interest.
An end of year retreat where students will reconnect, formally present their dissertation topics and bibliography for discussion with peers and advisors, and be further informed on how the next stage of the program will proceed. A revised thesis proposal will be required.
Coursework: Through a combination of taught courses and independent studies each student will take 6 three credit courses under the tutelage of core faculty members at Hartford Seminary. PHD-699 will count as one of these courses. Students must maintain a B+ average or better in all courses to remain in good academic standing.
Monthly meetings with the academic advisor to further define the student's dissertation proposal and begin to develop a preliminary bibliography which will form the foundation for their first year of study.
Participation in the Seminary community which may include free attendance at all educational outreach events, special lectures arranged by centers, and unlimited auditing of courses not formally part of the student's program where appropriate. Additionally, students will be invited to social events, activities and chapel services.