Research Experience and Leadership in Religious Practices
Concentration in Religious Practices and Practical Theology
Graduate Division of Religion

The Concentration requires and supports two experiential components that must be completed before the student presents a dissertation proposal and is admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D.

I. Research Experience and Analysis

The Concentration in Religious Practices and Practical Theology requires experience and study of contemporary religious practices in living faith communities.  The form this takes will vary from student to student. However, in all cases, it must involve “on the ground” contact with communities or groups engaged in religious practices and must include an analytic report.  The student and the Coordinator, in consultation with the student’s program advisor, should develop a research experience, which can include, but is not limited to, the following possibilities:
  1. A research project studying religious practices in context (preferably an opportunity to test a possible dissertation topic or method, or to begin dissertation research).

  2. A research internship in a social service agency, religious institution, hospital, counseling center, school, or other setting, that provides an opportunity for the student both to engage first-hand in religious practices and to conduct critical analysis of these practices.

The research experience requirement is normally done in connection with seminars, independent study courses, or dissertation research; no additional academic credit shall be granted.  Limited funds are available to support approved research projects and internships.  A written report of approximately 1000 words providing a summary of the research experience and analysis must be submitted to the Coordinator of the Concentration upon conclusion of the experience.

The Coordinator will provide opportunities for students meeting this requirement to read pertinent literature, to acquire critical skills and interpretive frameworks, and to present data and learnings to colleagues. 

II. Leadership Experience in Religious Practices

Students in the Concentration normally are expected to acquire some experience of serving in a leadership role in religious practices, and many students will have such experience prior to coming to Emory. Those who do not have such experience before beginning their work as a concentrator will participate in a short-term internship that provides supervised experience in leading a religious practice. This experience can be gained in a synagogue, church, mosque, or other living faith community.  In exceptional circumstances, students may petition to engage in an internship of at least one semester’s duration in lieu of one semester of supervised teaching as required in the Teaching Assistant Training and Teaching Opportunities Program (TATTO).