Ph.D. in Inter-religious Studies

The Doctor of Philosophy in Inter-religious Studies is an advanced research-based, highly individualized course of study in a specialized area of religions beyond Master of Arts (or Master of Divinity) in Intercultural Studies (including Missions Studies and World Christianity).

The focus of the programme is to prepare candidates mostly in the African setting for teaching, leadership, and administration in public and private Christian organizations pertaining to critical issues of religions.

This is in view of the growing tension internationally between religious communities in Africa and even beyond, such as Christian-Muslim conflicts around the world. (The programme gives a priority to those applicants who hold an MTh degree in Intercultural Studies with emphasis on any religion (such as Islam), but it also allows even candidates with a Master of Art or Master of Divinity degree in Intercultural Studies or World Christianity to apply for this doctoral programme.)

Goal of the programme

The Ph.D. in Inter-religious Studies is driven by a growing need to prepare, at the highest level, Christian practitioners, teachers, and researchers for public and private institutions of higher learning and research with regard to world religions and inter-religious relations. After successfully completing the training through the programme, they will also be able in turn to help regional or local religious practitioners and institutional teachers of religions with theories and practices from current knowledge and research in world religions and inter-religious affairs. It is also expected that they will provide guidelines for critical issues and conflicts between different faith-based communities. Thus, they would be able to make a difference through the interface of their professional knowledge and skills with a Christian world and life view.

Expected Learning Outcomes of the Programme

Those completing the Ph.D. in Interreligious Studies at AIU are expected to demonstrate the following qualities:

  1. High-level scholarship on world religions and inter-religious affairs from a mature and balanced Christian perspective
  2. Ability to increase knowledge of world religions (including Christianity and Africa Traditional Religions) with a phenomenological standpoint and ethnographic skills
  3. Ability to provide information and guidance for Christian practitioners and teachers pertaining to world religions and inter-religious issues
  4. Skills to promote peaceful relations with people of other faiths through religious dialogue and other types of collaboration
  5. Christian maturity and ability to develop various effective ways to share the Christian faith among people of other religions
  6. Ability to nurture other Christian leaders and scholars through academic mentorship and spiritual discipleship pertaining to the issues mentioned above

Admission requirements

Students admitted to the Doctor of Philosophy in Inter-religious Studies must meet the following requirements in addition to other University requirements.

  1. Applicants must have completed relevant M.A. or M.Div. in Intercultural Studies, Missions Studies, or Religious Studies (including Anthropology of Religion) from a recognized university.
  2. The applicant’s cumulative grade point average for prior graduate-level academic work must be 3.3 or higher on a 4-point scale.
  3. The MA or M.Div. studies of all applicants to the PhD Programme in Inter-religious Studies must normally have included at least the following: (i) 12 quarter credits (or the equivalent) in biblical studies, of which at least 3 quarter credits are in Old Testament studies and 3 quarter credits are in New Testament studies; (ii) 9 quarter credits (or the equivalent) in theology; (iii) 9 quarter credits (or the equivalent) in church history, including at least one course in African church history; (iv) 9 quarter credits (or the equivalent) in missiology or missions studies; (v) 9 quarter credits (or the equivalent) in religious studies relevant to the area for his/her doctoral studies pursued (such as Islamic studies).
  4. The applicant must submit a copy of his/her M.A./M.Div. thesis. The topic of the thesis must be related to the field for which application is being made. If the applicant’s M.A. programme did not require a thesis, the applicant may submit a sample of published academic writing or a recent academic research paper if he/she has not published any academic work.
  5. The applicant must submit a proposal for dissertation research, stating (i) research problems, (ii) research questions, (iii) where appropriate, a thesis statement or hypothesis, (iv) proposed research methods to be used, and (v) key bibliographical titles. The proposal must not exceed one A4 page, single-spaced (excluding the bibliography).
  6. The applicant’s Master’s thesis and dissertation proposal must demonstrate the ability to do a doctoral level research in terms of research methodology and topic.
  7. Applicants to the Ph.D. Programme with the Islamic studies concentration must present evidence of having been involved in intercultural ministries among Muslims for at least three years.

Prerequisite courses

Applicants with deficiencies at the Master’s level are required to remove these through Master’s level coursework, which will not count towards the Ph.D. The Center may waive some of these requirements in exceptional circumstances. In some cases, students with only a few prerequisite credits lacking may be permitted to take the required M.A. level courses during their first year after admission to the programme.

Language requirements

  1. Applicants must demonstrate proficiency in written and spoken English. Applicants whose previous university studies have not been conducted in English must submit a TOEFL score of at least 600 (paper version) or the equivalent: a TOEFL CBT (computer version) score of at least 200; a TOEFL IBT (internet version) score of at least 100; an IELTS score of at least 8; or a Cambridge Exam ranking of at least CPE.
  2. Applicants applying for the Islamic studies concentration must pass a Classical Arabic exam, which is administered by the Center.

In that AIU is a Christian institution, applicants must demonstrate Christian maturity and high moral integrity. Since pursuing a doctoral degree is arduous and demanding, applicants should also demonstrate that they are capable, competent, hardworking and determined and that they enjoy the support of their family and/or constituencies of interest.

Guidelines for processing applications

  1. The applicant sends the application form and the required accompanying documents to the AIU Admissions Office.
  2. Once there is sufficient documentation, the Admissions Office sends the application dossier to the Graduate Studies Board for processing and onward transmission to the Center for the Study of Religions.
  3. The Director of the Center presents the application for a recommendation at the Center’s level, and whichever decision is captured in the minutes of the Center. The relevant minute and recommendations are then forwarded by the Director of the Center with the application dossier to the Dean of Graduate Studies, who then seeks the approval of the Graduate Studies Board.
  4. In cases where the Center wishes to waive an admissions requirement, the matter must be referred to the Graduate Studies Board, whose decision on admission is final.

Mode of delivery

Provision is made for a cohort-based modular format in the first year of the programme, which is the seminar cycle.

Students are required to attend two seminars per term, each of which requires them to have at least 22.5 contact hours with the seminar facilitator (lecturer or professor) (which is equivalent to the minimum requirement of 3 credit hours in the term system).

Thereafter the Ph.D. student will be qualified to take both the qualifying exams and the oral exam for the dissertation proposal. After passing both the exams successfully, the doctoral student enters into the status of candidacy.

During the years of candidacy, the candidate begins his/her research and dissertation writing and is also required to attend a colloquium for each term, wherein all the doctoral candidates will present their research progress to one another for peer critique.

The Director of the Center along with available supervisors will also attend to check on their progress.

In each term the primary supervisor schedules supervisory meetings with his/her supervisee (doctoral candidate), and the primary supervisor will report all the outcomes of the supervisory meetings in writing, signed by both parties, to the Director and copy to the Graduate School (consult section 5.7.8 below on submission and evaluation of candidate’s progress reports).

Fees structure

  • Total tuition 126,000
  • Admin Charges 16,525
  • Total tuition fee per semester 142,525
  • Total per Year 427,575

How to apply

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