Track IV: Religion & Science
Track IV Coordinator: Robert Neville
Affiliated Track Faculty
This interdisciplinary program pursues religious and theological studies in relation to the physical, biological, and psychological sciences. Students will develop skills in relevant scientific methods, and gain knowledge in the history and philosophy of science. In consultation with the advisor, the student will develop a program that, among other types of research, involves (i) studying issues at the intersection of religion and science; or (ii) making religion the object of study by means of the physical, biological, and psychological sciences.
Track Specific Admission Prerequisite:
Students in the Religion and Science track should already an MA and have strong background in (1) religious studies, theological studies, or philosophy of religion, and (2) natural sciences, the psychological sciences, or philosophy and history of science. Further background in natural science, humanities, or social sciences is strongly encouraged, and required where relevant to a student’s proposed program of research.
Please note that this prerequisite is in addition to those outlined in the Admissions section of our website.
Track Specific Course Requirements:
Students in the Religion and Science track are required to take Core Texts and Motifs of World Religions (RN 723-724) or suitable alternatives in order to demonstrate broad religious literacy. Students in the Religion and Science track are required to take a science literacy requirement (e.g. Science Literacy and Scientific Boundary Questions, STH TT871) and are encouraged to take the following, depending on their backgrounds and in consultation with the Advisor, as preparation for comprehensive examinations: (i) a philosophy of science course (e.g., CAS PH643 Philosophy of Mind, CAS PH665 Philosophy of Cognitive Science, CAS PH670 Philosophy of Physics, CAS PH677 Philosophy of the Social Sciences); (ii) a history of science course (e.g., GRS HI868 Science and American Culture, GRS HI869 Science and Christianity in Europe and North America Since 1500); and (iii) a philosophy or history of religion or theology course (e.g., GRS RN750 Philosophy of Religion, STH TT923 Philosophical Cosmology, STH TT909 Modern Western Theology I, STH TT930 Modern Western Theology II).
Track Specific Language & Research Competence Requirements:
Students in the Religion and Science track will be required to substitute, for the second modern foreign language, an exam in a science skill (such as cognitive and neural modeling, ecological modeling, mathematics, computer programming, or statistics for empirical research) depending on the direction of research. Students in the Religion and Science track will also complete a 200-hour practicum in a relevant physical, biological, or psychological science setting to gain experience as (i) contributors to research, aiming at a publication, and (ii) interpreters and evaluators of research procedures in light of knowledge gained about philosophy and history of science.
Track Specific Basic Structure of Qualifying Examinations:
Students will normally take four comprehensive examinations. The first will cover Philosophy of Religion, treating major themes in the philosophical and theological study of religion. The second will cover Philosophy and History of Science, treating debates in philosophy of science and the history of science, with particular attention to the history of interactions between sciences and religions. The third will cover Religion and Science, treating the core literature of the religion and science field. The fourth exam, a multidisciplinary specialty exam, will be customized, to treat the literature surrounding the student’s multidisciplinary research specialty.