Study of Religions
Cutting-edge research into religion in an international and interdisciplinary environment.
The objective of the doctoral degree study programme in the study of religions at Masaryk University, Faculty of Arts, is the systematic preparation for academic work in the study of religions or related fields. The programme involves original and creative work under the guidance of a supervisor. Students go through all stages of the research process, from designing a research project proposal through collecting and analysing data to publishing the results and writing a dissertation.
The curriculum is organized on the basis of a credit system, offering the possibility for individual choices concerning the study timeline and thematic modifications, including opportunities for fieldwork and study stays abroad. The core of the curriculum consists of four doctoral seminars in which students finalize their dissertation project, read and discuss complex theoretical texts, improve their academic writing, decide about their publication project, get acquainted with the peer-review process and other practical and ethical aspects of academic publishing, and write their dissertations. During their studies, students submit at least one academic book review related to their dissertation project, one grant application, and one article concerned with the central topic of the dissertation. They develop their presentation skills and participate in at least one local and one international conference. In other courses they deepen their competence in theory and methodology and participate in further theoretical, methodological, subject-oriented, or language courses according to their specialty and dissertation project. Under the guidance of their supervisor, they participate in teaching undergraduate students, thereby gaining valuable teaching experience.
The doctoral programme in the study of religions is open to graduates with a Master’s degree in the study of religions or a related discipline, particularly sociology, anthropology, history, or psychology, who intend to develop their academic skills and pursue a career in academia.
The profile research areas of the supervisors at the Department for the Study of Religions at Masaryk University, Faculty of Arts include the prosocial effects of ritual, the use of network analysis in research into the spread of religious innovations, non-religion, and atheism, religions of the Roman Empire, early Judaism, and early Christianity, nonconformist movements in medieval Christianity, medieval Christian missions to Asia and Christianity in India, Islamic reformism, visual culture of Buddhism, Czechoslovak Oriental Studies in the 20th century, ancient Chinese texts, Japanese Buddhism, discourse analysis of online media, field research in contemporary religiosity, and the dynamics of sacralisation and disenchantment in the modern world.
The doctoral programme in the study of religions at Masaryk University, Faculty of Arts, benefits from the facilities of the oldest department for the study of religions in the Czech Republic, which is well-established and internationally recognized. Among comparable doctoral programmes, it stands out for its focus on strong interdisciplinary research (the use of network analysis and geographic information systems, cognitive science, experimental psychology, and historical anthropology), its emphasis on transferable skills, the involvement of students in team projects, and an extensive network of international contacts in the profile research areas which enhances the chances that the graduates will obtain positions in academia and/or submit successful post-doctoral projects.
A successful graduate is able to
- understand complex theoretical texts in humanities and the social sciences
- connect the general/theoretical and empirical/practical aspects of research in the humanities and social sciences
- use selected methods of data collection and data analysis in the humanities and social sciences on an advanced level
- design and conduct complex, systematic, original, methodologically sound, and theoretically relevant research in the study of religions
- clarify the foundations of independent research
- put the results of independent research in the context of the international state of research on the topic
- understand the practical and ethical aspects of research and academic publishing
- write a high-quality and relevant academic text meeting international standards
- communicate the acquired knowledge and experience in teaching, lectures, and publications
- apply teaching experience and organizational skills in practice
Graduates are qualified for positions in teaching and research in the study of religions and related fields; in preparing grant applications in the public and private sector; in non-governmental organizations focusing on minorities and intercultural translation; in state administration where the position requires knowledge of different cultures, religions, and ethnic groups and decision-making based on facts; in education; in the media; and in translation of literature in the humanities and social sciences.
In academia, the graduates can offer an outstanding and state-of-the-art orientation in the contemporary study of religions including major recent international developments in theory and methods; interdisciplinary thinking; skills in theoretically founded and empirically precise research; and experience in research as well as in teaching, publishing, and preparing grant applications and projects.
Employers outside academia will benefit from the graduates’ analytical skills, their ability to work on demanding and long-term projects, independent and critical thinking, and skills in the preparation of well-founded materials for decision-making.
The doctoral study programme is open to graduates in the Study of Religions or related fields. The admission procedure takes place twice a year (usually in January and June) and has two rounds. In the first round applicants submit their doctoral research project on the official form (available for download at http://www.phil.muni.cz/relig/dokumenty.php). Based on their quality and their compliance with the profile and focus of the department, the suitable projects advance to the second round. The second round consists of a presentation of the project before the admission committee, followed by discussion and defence of the project. The time dedicated to the presentation is 15-20 minutes. A presentation in PowerPoint or another program is encouraged. http://www.phil.muni.cz/wff/home/prijimaci/doktorske/doctoral-studies/view?set_language=en