Ph.D. Graduate Program in Religion

The Graduate Program in Religion at Duke University is a collaboration between Duke's College of Arts and Sciences and Duke Divinity School. The Ph.D. in the Graduate Program in Religion includes two Jewish studies focused fields of study: History of Judaism and Hebrew Bible/Old Testament.

History of Judaism

This Ph.D. program prepares students for academic careers in teaching and research. The program offers three tracks:

  • Late Biblical/Post-Biblical Judaism
  • Rabbinic-Medieval Judaism
  • Contemporary Judaism

Among the fields specifying these tracks are: Archaeology of Roman Palestine; Second Commonwealth Studies; Rabbinic/Talmudic literature; Hellenistic Judaism; and Medieval Jewish History, Philosophy, Mysticism, American Judaism and Zionism. 

Hebrew Bible/Old Testament

The Ph.D. program in Hebrew Bible/Old Testament is intended to prepare you to do research in this field, to teach in an academic setting, and to engage in other professional work for which strong competence in biblical studies would be important. Areas of strength in the Duke program include Pentateuch, prophecy, wisdom literature, Hebrew narrative, biblical archaeology, gender in ancient Israel, text criticism and Septuagint, the apocalyptic literature, Qumran, and history of interpretation. Although diverse in its interests, the faculty has broad expertise in literary, social science, text-critical, and theological methodologies.

Prospective students must have

  • a strong background in Hebrew, with at least 2 years of course work being desirable
  • completed an introductory course in Hebrew Bible/Old Testament as well as several subsequent thematic, methodological, and/or exegetical courses in Hebrew scripture.

It is strongly recommended that incoming students will have done some work in Greek and in German.


The Ph.D. program begins with 2 years of coursework (3 years for doctoral students entering directly from undergraduate studies). When they are ready, students will take 4 preliminary exams. Specific requirements vary by field of study and can be found at the Graduate Program in Religion. The Ph.D. program typically takes 5 years to complete, though some fields with significant language requirements may take longer.

You may apply to the program through the Graduate School to the Department of Religious Studies.