The primary criteria for admission are the same as those for University graduate admission. In addition, the applicant must have a Bachelor's degree in Religious Studies, or its equivalent, and have achieved a 3.0 GPA in the last 60 semester units attempted. Three letters of recommendation two of which should be from the instructors in the undergraduate major.
1. Minimum total units: 30 units of upper division or graduate study, at least 24 of which must be in Religious Studies. The remaining six may be in Religious Studies or another field of study related to Religious Studies and/or the candidate's educational interests. Each student's program must include a minimum of 24 units of graduate courses (which can include six units of Biblical Aramaic or Biblical Hebrew), at least twelve of which must be in the 600 series (not including R/ST 697 and 698). All students must satisfactorily complete R/ST 601.
2. A thesis or comprehensive examination.
3. Proficiency in a modern research language (German or French) demonstrated by passing either the ETS examination with a score of 400 or better or two years of course work with an average grade of "B" or better. Proficiency in an appropriate ancient research language (Sanskrit, Biblical Aramaic, Hebrew, Chinese, etc.) replaces this requirement for students concentrating in Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Religions or in Buddhist Studies. Exceptions to this requirement are rare, but may be made at the discretion of the Graduate Studies Committee.
4. Advancement to Candidacy is a statement of how the student plans to complete all courses and requirements for the degree, including establishing a date and a committee for the thesis or comprehensive examination. It is best done as early as possible. Students taking a comprehensive examination must be advanced to candidacy no later than the semester preceding the examination. Students writing a thesis are advanced to candidacy at the time they begin their thesis work.