University of Pittsburgh
three small photographs depicting various religious icons

Department of Religious Studies


Application Procedure & Forms

“ApplyYourself” Online Application Form

The University of Pittsburgh does not accept paper applications. Your application must be submitted electronically through the ApplyYourself network.

Personal Statement
Minarets of Al-Azhar Mosque, Cairo

Prior to writing the personal statement, please review our sections on graduate fields and faculty research areas. In the Additional Information section of the online application form, discuss at length your intellectual and professional preparation, interests, and goals in pursuing graduate training in the academic study of religion; proposed area(s) of concentration; research interests and methodological orientation(s); and reasons for applying to Pitt. Applicants applying to the MA program should indicate their interest in being considered for the terminal MA program or the MA/PhD program, which anticipates the PhD as the final degree sought. A current CV or any additional information you would like us to know about you may also be uploaded in this section. Files should be uploaded in PDF or Word format.


Official transcripts of undergraduate and prior graduate coursework should be submitted directly to the Department of Religious Studies by all colleges and universities attended.

GRE Scores

All applicants submit official verbal, quantitative and writing scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). Test scores should be submitted directly to the Department of Religious Studies from the Educational Testing Service. Pitt's institution code is 2927 and the department code is 2904.

Letters of Recommendation

The application should include three letters of recommendation from referees familiar with your academic potential and achievements. Referees are encouraged to submit letters electronically or may elect to mail them directly to the Department of Religious Studies. Instructions on electronic submissions and downloadable recommendation forms are located on the online application form.

Writing Sample

The writing sample should be at least 15 pages in length, taken from previously completed work (i.e., thesis, portion of a thesis, or seminar paper), and ideally demonstrate conceptual, research and/or written skills in your subfield of interest. You are encouraged to electronically submit the writing sample as a PDF or Word document in the Additional Information section of the online application form or you may mail it directly to the department.

Application Fee

A nonrefundable US$50 application fee should accompany the application. The fee can be submitted either electronically as part of the online application or by a check or money order payable to the University of Pittsburgh mailed to the department at the time of application. Please check the appropriate box for the form of payment when submitting the online application.


In addition to the above, applicants applying from countries where the official language is not English have official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores submitted directly from the testing service to the Department of Religious Studies. Applicants who have completed or are about to complete a bachelor’s or master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution in the United States may be exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement and should contact the director of graduate studies.

The University of Pittsburgh has strict requirements for language proficiency scores. The minimum acceptable results are:

  • IELTS—7.0 (with at least 6.5 in each of its four sections)
  • TOEFL—90 (with at least a score of 22 in all four of its sections)
International Graduate Student Supplemental Form

Non-United States citizens also complete the International Graduate Supplemental Form and submit it to the department as part of their application.

Our Mailing Address

Materials not included in the online application form should be mailed to:

Graduate Admissions Committee
Department of Religious Studies
2604 Cathedral of Learning
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA 15260

Contact Us

Questions about the graduate program and your place in it should be addressed to Dr. Adam Shear, director of graduate studies, by e-mail, mail or at 412.624.2280.

Questions about how to apply online or the status or completeness of your application should be addressed to Ms. Maureen Henderson, graduate secretary, by e-mail, mail or at 412.624.5990.

Revised 02/12/12 | Copyright 2007 | Site by UMC WebTeam