Study of Religion Graduate Program Handbook

Navigating UC Davis

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Registering for courses

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California Residency

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Ordering Transcripts & Diplomas

Transcripts and diplomas can be obtained through the Office of the Registrar in 12 Mrak Hall.  To order a transcript, please visit Mrak Hall or order online at the following website: http://registrar.ucdavis.edu/records/transcripts/index.cfm.  For diploma information and mailing requests, please visit: http://registrar.ucdavis.edu/records/diploma.cfm.

Special Fees

During the first year of study, all students will be charged a one-time document fee.  The current fee is $150.  This fee will cover the cost of the following services throughout your graduate career at UC Davis:

•             Official Transcripts

•             Letters of degree certification

•             Education Verification

•             Mailing of your original diploma

International Students will be charged an International Administrative Fee during their first year.  The current fee is $159.  This is a one-time fee that helps cover the cost for Services for International Students & Scholars (SISS) http://siss.ucdavis.edu/ to provide orientation and advising services.  There may be a change to this fee as the SISS review their services.  Please stay in touch with them for more information.

Upon passing the qualifying exam, students are charged a Ph.D. Candidacy fee in order to advance to candidacy.  The  fee is $90. 

Other one-time fees you may encounter during your time here include the PELP application fee (if you apply for the Planned Educational Leave Program) and the Filing Fee application fee (if you apply for Filing fee during the final quarter of your Ph.D.).  More information can be found with the applications for these to statuses at http://gradstudies.ucdavis.edu/forms/.

Student Health and Counseling Services

The new Student Health & Wellness Center is located on La Rue Road between Hutchison Drive and Orchard Road, across the street from the Activities and Recreation Center (ARC) and next to the Colleges at La Rue.  Information on the Students Health and Wellness Center can be found at http://shcs.ucdavis.edu/.  This website also contains information on the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP), including coverage information and the procedure for waiving out of SHIP.

For more information…

For more information on navigating UC Davis, please see the Graduate Student Guide created by the Office of Graduate Studies: http://gradstudies.ucdavis.edu/students/handbook/GS201_GraduateStudentGuide.pdf.  If you are still having trouble figuring something out and don’t know where to look, please see the Graduate Program Coordinator, Maria Ruby in 210 Sproul Hall

 

Academic Guidance Procedures

Advising

The Graduate Adviser, who is nominated by the Chair of the program and appointed by the Graduate Dean, is a resource for information on academic requirements, policies and procedures. The Adviser approves elective coursework and is approved to sign required Office of Graduate Studies forms. The Major Professor is the faculty member who supervises the student’s research and dissertation, and this person serves as Chair of the Dissertation Committee. The Major Professor is selected at the time of admission to the program

Finding a major professor

Graduate students are paired with a Major Professor during the admission process.

Changing major professors

If a student wishes to change his/her major professor, a meeting should be arranged between the student, the Graduate Adviser, and the prospective new major professor in order to approve the student’s decision.

Arranging an independent study (REL 299 or XXX 299)

To arrange an independent study, students must get the approval of a faculty member and request a meeting with them to complete a variable unit course request form. The form outlines their topic of study and the grading criteria. These forms should be returned in the Graduate Program Staff by the 10th day of instruction. Independent studies can be taken in the Study of Religion (REL) or other programs, as appropriate, such as the Human Rights Designated Emphasis (HMR). To have any independent study count in lieu of a degree requirement, you must petition the graduate adviser. The independent study must be 4 units and require a final graduate-level seminar paper. See religiongradgroup.ucdavis.edu/resources page for the Student petition form.

Enrolling in TA Training Practicum Units (RST 396)

You are eligible to enroll in TA Training Practicum (course 396) each quarter you are employed as a Teaching Assistant. If you hold a 50% TA appointment, you may register for up to 4 units. If you hold a 25% TA appointment, you may register for up to 2 units. Prior to each quarter you are a TA, you will receive an email from the graduate program coordinator or graduate program assistant that includes the Course Registration Number (CRN) for 396. Each time you enroll, you should enroll in the department for which you are TAing and the section assigned to your Course Supervisor. (If you are at 50% TA for RST 1C with Prof. Coudert, sign up for 4 units of RST 396 with Prof. Coudert.)

Degree Requirements

Coursework

The M.A. degree requires a minimum of 36 units of coursework as well as foreign language competency and a (written) comprehensive exam. The Ph.D. requires a minimum of 60 units of coursework as well as a preliminary exam, a qualifying exam, and a dissertation with final defense. Please see the following pages for a degree checklist. The full text of the M.A. and Ph.D. degree requirements can be found on the graduate studies website at https://grad.ucdavis.edu/programs.   Please read the degree requirements carefully for specific course requirements. For any questions about them, please consult the Graduate Program Coordinator or the faculty Graduate Adviser.

Degree Checklists

Study of Religion M.A. Checklist [.pdf]

Study of Religion Ph.D. Checklist [.pdf]

Language Requirement

Foreign Language Exam Requirements

Ph.D. students in the GGSR are required to demonstrate a high level of competence in at least one primary language of research. The primary language(s) of scholarship will be determined by the student’s research interests, and in consultation with the student’s Major Professor and the Graduate Advisor. 

Traditional departments of Religious Studies have established French and German as the dominant languages of scholarship in the field. To demonstrate fluency students will be expected to take a reading exam. Competency in the languages of scholarship is in addition to the primary languages (see below) for research that are determined in consultation with the student’s Major Professor and the Graduate Advisor. 

Primary Language(s) of Research: Evaluation

Students are expected to acquire reading, writing and/or oral competency in their chosen language(s) of research. The primary language(s) of research will be determined in consultation with the student’s Major Professor, but it is expected that students will have acquired competency in at least one primary language of research prior to admission to the GGSR. 

Students may demonstrate their fluency by completing one graduate course in the language (4 units) or by taking a 3 hour written exam administered and graded by either the Major Professor or a faculty member of the GGSR with competency in the student’s research language. The Primary Research Language exam will involve translating into English an article relevant to the student’s area of study. The student will be required to translate no more than 10 pages within a three hour exam period. Students may consult dictionaries, but may not rely on any online resources or online translation websites. 

Students will also be required to write a short essay in the primary language (1 hour) to demonstrate written competency. Both parts of the written exam need not be scheduled on the same day. 

If the student’s research demands spoken fluency in the primary research language, the student may substitute the written competency exam for an oral exam (one hour). The decision to take the written essay or the oral exam will be made in consultation with the student’s Major Professor. 

All portions of the Primary Language Research Exam (translation, written and/or oral) are administered and graded by the student’s Major Professor or a member of the GGSR with competency in the language.

The exam room will be scheduled with the graduate program staff. The exam results will be maintained by the GGSR staff and will be included in the student’s file.

Languages of Scholarship: Foreign Language Reading Exam

The German/French foreign language reading exam will involve translating into English, an article relevant to the student’s area of study. The reading exam will be no more than 2 hours and will require the student to translate no more than 5 pages. The exam will be administered and graded by a faculty member of the GGSR with competency in French and/or German. Students may use a dictionary, but not an online translation website or any other resources. Students will have two hours to complete their typed summary. The exam room will be scheduled with the graduate program staff . The exam results will be maintained by the GGSR staff and will be included in the student’s file.

Foreign Language Substitutions

Students whose course of study in Religion requires the mastery of a significant body of literature in another language of contemporary scholarship may petition the GGSR Executive Committee to substitute that language for either French or German. A petition to substitute French or German will require a formal letter of support/justification from the student’s Major Professor. 

Students who wish to continue their studies beyond the expectations of the program will be encouraged to participate in an intercampus exchange program within the UC system, for example at UC Berkeley, or may take advantage of university-administered language programs elsewhere.”

Completion of Exams

All foreign language requirements must be completed prior to the student’s Qualifying Examination.
 

Exams

The Ph.D. requires both a written preliminary exam during the first year, an oral exam after the second year, qualifying exams after the third year, and a final defense upon complete of the dissertation. Please see the degree requirements for full details: https://grad.ucdavis.edu/programs.  Ph.D. students who wish to earn the M.A. en route to the Ph.D. will use their Ph.D. Qualifying Exam as their M.A. Comprehensive Exam. To request the M.A., turn in grad studies forms “Candidacy for the Master's Degree – Comprehensive Exam Plan II (GS314)” and “Graduate Program Exit Information (GS312)” to Maria along with your Ph.D. “Qualifying Examination Application (GS319)” at least one month before your Qualifying Exam. All forms are available at http://gradstudies.ucdavis.edu/forms/.

Preliminary Examination

Preliminary Exam Definition 
The Preliminary Exam takes place at the end of the PhD student’s second year of studies. It is composed of two parts: a roughly 25 page paper surveying the student’s field and areas of interest based on work the student has done in the 200 series, and an oral discussion with the Exam Committee. As its name suggests, the Preliminary Exam is an initial sketch of the student’s field of study and a warm-up exercise for PhD work. It differs from the Qualifying Exam, which allows a student to advance to candidacy and is both more rigorous and more official.  By contrast, the Preliminary Exam is a chance for students to practice creating a detailed survey of their area of interest and receive a first round of feedback on their proposed area of research so that they know what remains to be accomplished in the quarters leading up to their qualifying exam. 

Forming an Exam Committee (From “Degree Requirements”)
The student, in consultation with his/her major professor and graduate advisor, nominates three faculty members, to serve on the Examination Committee. One of the nominated faculty members will be the major professor, who does not serve as committee chair. 

The Preliminary Exam will take place over one hour and a half.  

A written portion of an exam (a roughly 25 page research paper based on work and reading done over the course of the past two years, in addition to a concisely annotated bibliography of key works of approximately 10 pages) will be sent by the student to all members of the committee no less than 72 hours before the exam time.
After a roughly ten-minute, closed-door meeting among committee members at the start of the exam, the student will join the faculty and give a twenty to thirty-minute presentation that outlines what we call the “Area of Specialization Profile,” namely: their research, its chief theoretical and methodological contributions, the relation of their work to relevant fields (key scholars, issues, debates, and institutions or journals), and principal research objectives in light of the student’s Regional and Thematic areas of specialization, as far as these have been developed to date.  
3) Following the student’s oral presentation, each faculty member will be given the opportunity to ask several questions and hear responses to each.  Group follow-up and collaborative conversation can ensue; note that while some of this can happen organically as we move around the table in the initial Q&A session, most of this should occur after all faculty have had a chance to ask their questions and hear the student’s responses.

The results of the written and oral exams will be included in the student’s file and retained by the department.

Committees

Comprehensive Exam Committee (M.A. Plan II)

The student, in consultation with his/her major professor and graduate advisor, nominates four faculty members, to serve on the Examination Committee. One of the nominated faculty members will be the major professor, who does not serve as committee chair. At least three of the faculty members nominated must be faculty participating in the GGSR; at least one of the faculty members will be from outside the GGSR. These nominations are submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies for formal appointment in accordance with Graduate Council policy (DDB 80. Graduate Council B.1.) Ph.D. students will have the same committee members for both the MA comprehensive exam and the PhD qualifying exam.

Qualifying Exam Committee (Ph.D.)

The student, in consultation with his/her Major Professor and Graduate Advisor, nominates four faculty members, to serve on the Qualifying Examination Committee. One of the nominated faculty members will be the major professor, who will not serve as committee chair. At least three of the faculty members nominated must be faculty participating in the GGSR; at least one of the faculty members will be from outside the GGSR. These nominations are submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies for formal appointment in accordance with Graduate Council policy (DDB 80. Graduate Council B.1).

Dissertation Committee (Ph.D.)

Upon successful advancement to doctoral candidacy, and in consultation with his/her Major Professor and Graduate Adviser, the student will nominate at least three faculty members to serve on the Dissertation Committee. One of these faculty members will act as chair of the committee and as the student’s primary dissertation adviser; typically this will be the student’s Major Professor. At least two of these committee members, including the committee chair, must be faculty participating in the GGSR; at least two of these committee members must have served on the student’s qualifying examinations committee. Additionally, if the student in admitted to a designated emphasis, he/she must insure that he/she has one committee member to represent each of his/her designated emphases. These nominations are submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies for formal appointment in accordance with Graduate Council policy (DDB 80. Graduate Council B.1).

Getting Involved

Each year, the Study of Religion graduate student body selects one grad student representative. This representative attends quarterly meetings with faculty and offers student input regarding policies, requirements, priorities, etc. The 2018-2019 representative is Joey Torres.

Professional Development, Job Search, & Graduation

Professional Development & the Job Search

Many students entering the Ph.D. program will be interested in careers in academia. One excellent source of information for jobs in academia is H-net: http://www.h-net.org/, Humanities & Social Sciences Net. This organization has various email lists organized by areas of interest. Both for professional development early in your career and your job search later on, you are encouraged to join h-net list-serves that overlap with your areas of interest. In addition to job postings, information about conferences and calls for papers are posted to these email lists. Other good sources of information are the American Academy of Religion (AAR) http://www.aarweb.org/ and the Chronicle of Higher Education http://chronicle.com. During their final year of the program, Study of Religion graduate students can work with the Graduate Program Coordinator to arrange a mock interview and/or job talk in preparation for the interview processes. Typically students wait until they have an invitation for at least one interview before scheduling the mock interview. They then work with the Graduate Program Coordinator to identify faculty in the field to serve as mock interviewers. Many students find it helpful to have faculty with whom they are less familiar on their committee to make it feel more like a “real” interview. Other students choose to pursue careers outside of academia such as Editor or Novelist. The Internship and Career Center (ICC) offers comprehensive career advising for graduate students within academia and beyond. The ICC also partners with the Office of Graduate Studies to offer various Professional Development workshops throughout the year. Please see their website for details: https://iccweb.ucdavis.edu/graduates/index.htm


Participating in graduate commencement

Graduate commencement is held annually at the end of Spring Quarter. Registration for commencement takes place during Winter Quarter. Please see http://gradstudies.ucdavis.edu/commencement/ for details and registration instructions.

Filing for graduation

You can find the information on filing your dissertation on the Office of Graduate Studies website: http://gradstudies.ucdavis.edu/students/filing.html

You will need to make an appointment with the Study of Religion’s designated Student Affairs Officer in the Office of Graduate Studies. At the appointment, you will hand in the items on the checklist (see the link above). Even though you will file your thesis/dissertation electronically, you will need to hand in the cover page with original signatures. The appointment will need to be after you have obtained all of the approvals from your committee, as it is the last step in the completion of your degree.

At the link above, you will also find information on acceptable margins, page numbering, fonts, etc. Make sure to pay attention to these formatting requirements as dissertations will not be accepted until they conform. Finally, when filing electronically, make sure not to submit your thesis/dissertation online until it is the final version approved by your entire committee. (There's no un-submit button.)

Your Student Affairs Officer will send you a letter that says you have completed the requirements for your degree (which you can use for job hunting), but your diploma will not be available for another 4 months. See http://registrar.ucdavis.edu/html/diplomas.html for details and mailing information.