How to apply

Apply online via the UI Graduate and Professional Admissions website.

After you submit your application, you will receive email instructions on how to establish your HawkID and password in order to access your Admissions Profile on MyUI, our online portal for students. All supporting materials can and should be uploaded through your Admissions Profile. If your academic program requires letters of recommendation, you will be asked to provide the contact information of your recommenders on your profile. The recommender will then receive an email from the Office of Admissions instructing them on how to upload a recommendation letter and/or recommendation form.

Applicants for admission to the graduate program must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate College and the department offering the degree program (review the General Catalog for departmental requirements). See the Manual of Rules and Regulations of the Graduate College on the Graduate College website for additional information.

Important deadlines

Application deadline: Jan. 15 (for all programs)

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 Jan. 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

Requirements for admission

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

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
  • 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

Application fee waivers are available for students facing financial hardship. Domestic students can apply for an application fee waiver here. International students should write to the Director of Graduate Studies, Dr. Jenna Supp-Montgomerie.

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. Jenna Supp-Montgomerie, Director of Graduate Studies.

Applicants to the MA program ordinarily must have a grade-point average (GPA) of at least 3.00.

Regarding the TOEFL Exam, PhD applicants are normally expected to achieve a minimum score of 600 on the paper version or 100 on the internet-based version; MA 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 for 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.