Graduate Admission, Financial Aid, and Additional Funding


All applicants to the M.A. and Ph.D. program must have a bachelor's degree and a minimum overall grade-point average of 3.40 for PhD and 3.00 for M.A.

Please do not send any materials directly to the department.  Everything must be uploaded at the Graduate College Admissions site.

The following are required materials:

  • Completed application form
  • Verbal, quantitative, and analytical scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) (up to 5 years old are acceptable)
  • If you are from a country where English is not the first language, please submit a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score
  • Three letters of recommendation submitted by persons familiar with your academic performance (written on the referee's letterhead when possible)
  • Transcript(s) of all undergraduate and graduate work (Official transcripts required following acceptance of admission)
  • A brief Personal Essay that explains your objectives for graduate study in light of existing faculty expertise in the Department of Religious Studies and other relevant departments
  • A writing sample demonstrating the ability to engage in critical thinking
  • Application (or Waiver of Consideration) for Graduate Assistantships

An application checklist and tips are available for your reference.  If you have questions about the program or about the application procedure, please contact Dr. Diana Cates, Director of Graduate Studies.

Applicants to the M.A. program ordinarily must have a verbal reasoning score of at least 153 and a quantitative reasoning score of at least 147 on the revised Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test (verbal reasoning score of at least 500 and quantitative reasoning score of at least 580 on the old GRE General Test) and a g.p.a. of at least 3.00.

Applicants to the Ph.D. program ordinarily must have a verbal reasoning score of at least 158 and a quantitative reasoning score of at least 147 on the revised GRE General Test (verbal reasoning score of at least 580 and quantitative reasoning score of at least 580 on the old GRE General Test) and a g.p.a. of at least 3.40.

Regarding the TOEFL Exam, Ph.D. applicants are normally expected to achieve a minimum score of 600 on the paper version or 100 on the internet-based version; M.A. applicants are expected to score at least 560 on the paper-based version or 83 on the internet-based version.

Students admitted without substantial academic preparation in the academic study of Religion may be required to make up deficiencies by taking up to 12 semester hours of designated course work at The University of Iowa. Credit for such courses does not count toward the graduate degree.


Deadline for receipt of all application materials for fall semester is January 15. Applications (or waivers of consideration) for departmental financial assistance are due with completed application materials. Admission decisions are usually made by April 1. Applications received after January 15 will be considered for financial assistance only in second or third round decisions if funds are available. Applications received after April 1 will not be considered for the upcoming fall semester.
It is the applicant's responsibility to check with the Department of Religious Studies to ensure all application materials have been received.  Please direct questions to

For specific inquiries about graduate study, please contact the Director of Graduate Studies: Professor Diana Cates.

To apply online, go to the Graduate Admissions website 


All Ph.D. students accepted into the program receive funding. Ordinarily, no departmental funding is available for M.A. students.  There are three primary forms of financial aid offered:

1. Assistantships
The Department of Religious Studies offers teaching assistantships.  Assistants receiving quarter-time and half-time appointments are classified as in-state residents for fee purposes, resulting in a savings of more than $3,000 each semester for full-time enrollment. Students who make appropriate progress in their academic programs are ordinarily supported for four years.

The awards are made annually on a competitive basis, with stipends ranging between $16,000 and $18,000 for half-time assistantships.

Enrolled graduate students at The University of Iowa who also are holding a university appointment of at least 25 percent time are eligible to receive a contribution from the university toward the cost of their health insurance coverage.

2. Aid for which you can be nominated
The University of Iowa supports several other fellowships for which departments can nominate incoming students. Students hoping to be considered for these highly competitive fellowships should be sure to have their applications in by the middle of January. For information about these fellowships click here.

3. Other scholarship opportunities
The University of Iowa has several other types of aid that you may be eligible to apply for.  To learn more click here.


Finding money to perform research might be important to your graduate career.  Students should turn first to the Division of Sponsored Programs for help in obtaining funding.  For additional resources on funding for professional conferences specifically, click here.

DISSERTATION RESEARCH AND WRITING: Fellowships that do not require a focus on a particular geographical region.

1. Graduate and Professional Students Government (GPSG) research grant: this grant provides funding for graduate and professional students to conduct qualitative or quantitative research with the aim of increasing their knowledge of or contributing to current scholarship in their particular field(s) of study.

2. Stanley Graduate Awards for International Research: this is the University of Iowa’s premier award given annually to UI graduate students for the pursuit of international research/fieldwork and career interests (can only be received once).

3. Graduate College Summer Fellowships: this fellowship is intended to facilitate completion of the doctoral degree in a timely manner for students who will have completed their comprehensive examinations by the spring.

4. T. Anne Cleary International Dissertation Research Fellowships: the purpose of this award is to provide funds for UI doctoral candidates to conduct dissertation research outside of North America, and is available to all disciplinary areas. Award amount ranges from $1500 to $5000.

5. Marcus Bach Graduate Fellowships: this fellowship aims to support the completion of an MFA project or doctoral dissertation. The fellowship’s goal is to foster intercultural communication and/or the understanding of diverse philosophies and religious perspectives, and projects in this area are the most appropriate proposals. Bach Fellowships may be awarded for two semesters ($17,000 stipend plus $1,000 tuition scholarship) or for one semester ($8,500 plus $500 tuition scholarship, which may be combined with a quarter-time research or teaching assistantship). (While this fellowship does not provide health care, students are able to purchase it at the reduced TA rate.)

6. Ballard and Seashore Dissertation Year Fellowships: intended to help students in the social sciences and humanities complete their dissertations. Must be nominated by department. The fellowship provides $18,000 for the academic year, plus a summer stipend of $4,000. The fellowship also provides two credit hours of tuition per semester and a health/dental insurance allowance.

7. Fulbright Grants: the Fulbright US Student Program is designed to give masters and doctoral candidates, recent baccalaureate recipients, and young professionals and artists opportunities for personal development and international experience. Stipend varies depending on country visited. Very competitive and early application process.

8. Mellon Fellowships for Dissertation Research in Original Sources: to help junior scholars in the humanities and related social-science fields gain skill and creativity in developing knowledge from original sources, enable dissertation writers to do research wherever relevant sources may be, rather than just where financial support is available, encourage more extensive and innovative uses of original sources in libraries, archives, museums, historical societies, and related repositories in the U.S. and abroad, and provide insight from the viewpoint of doctoral candidates into how scholarly resources can be developed for access most helpfully in the future.

9. International Dissertation Research Fellowship (IDRF): provides Ph.D. candidates with support for international research. Fellowship award amounts will vary depending on the research plan. The 2011 per-fellowship average award amount is $18,750.

10. American Historical Association (AHA): provides various research grants and fellowships for research and writing.

11. Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships: designed to encourage original and significant study of ethical or religious values in all fields of the humanities and social sciences, and particularly to help Ph.D. candidates in these fields complete their dissertation work in a timely manner. $25,000 for 12 months of full-time dissertation writing.

12. Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships: provides two years of funding, $35,000 per year (one year of supported research and writing to complete the dissertation, and a second year for new scholars to advance their research).

13. American Association of University Women: one of the world's largest sources of funding for graduate women, AAUW provides more than $3 million in funding for more than 200 fellowships and grants to outstanding women and nonprofit organizations.

DISSERTATION RESEARCH AND WRITING: Fellowships that require a focus on a particular geographical region.

1. Fulbright-Hays DDRA Fellowship: provides opportunities to doctoral candidates to engage in full-time dissertation research abroad in modern foreign languages and area studies. Applications will only be considered for research projects that focus on one or more of the following geographic areas: Africa, East Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands, South Asia, the Near East, East Central Europe and Eurasia, and the Western Hemisphere (excluding the United States and its territories). Please note that applications that propose projects focused on Western Europe are not eligible. Competitive priority will be awarded to research projects that focus on any of the seventy-eight (78) languages deemed critical on the US Department of Education’s list of Less Commonly Taught Languages.

2. Boren Graduate Fellowships: provide up to $30,000 to U.S. graduate students to add an important international and language component to their graduate education through specialization in area study, language study, or increased language proficiency. Boren Fellowships support study and research in areas of the world that are critical to U.S. interests, including Africa, Asia, Central & Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin American, and the Middle East. The countries of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are excluded.

3. DAAD Scholarship Study and Research Grants (Germany): offers a variety of funding opportunities for undergraduate, graduate, and professional scholars to study and research throughout Germany. Very competitive and early application process.

4. Foreign Language and Area Studies fellowship (also known as FLAS): an award for students concentrating in a modern foreign language and a program that includes international or area studies. FLAS fellowships may be used for dissertation research in certain circumstances.

5. Chateaubriand Fellowship (France): The Chateaubriand Fellowship is a grant offered by the Embassy of France in the United States. Every year, it allows doctorate students enrolled in American universities and post-doctorates to conduct research in France for up to 12 months. Chateaubriand recipients receive a stipend, a round trip ticket to France, and health insurance.

6. Institut Français d’Amérique (France): four $1500 awards for maintenance (not travel) during research in France for a period of at least one month. French studies in the areas of: art, economics, history, history of science, linguistics, literature and social sciences.

7. Institute for European History (Germany): provides a doctoral fellowship for graduate students which move to Mainz, Germany. Please speak with Dr. Mentzer if you are interested in this fellowship.

8. Herzog-Ernst-Library (Germany): provides a research fellowship of 1100 Euros for doctoral fellows (for a period of one to nine months; in exceptional cases the period can be extended to twelve months). Post-doctoral fellows receive a monthly stipend of 1600 Euros for a period of one to six months.

9. McNeil Center for Early American Studies (North America): provides nine-month stipends of $20,000. All fellows are expected to be in residence in Philadelphia during the academic year and to participate regularly in the Center's program of seminars and other activities.

10. European Scholarship Portal: European Association for International Education (EAIE) online scholarship database, an integrated, centralized European platform providing information on all scholarships offered for studying in Europe. Students can find and compare relevant programs based on their nationality, background, where and what they want to study, and many more search criteria.

If outdated information, mistakes, broken links, or other errors are identified, please email - thank you!