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Doctoral studies in the field of Christianity at Stanford are embedded within a department of Religious Studies with strengths in three other major religious traditions and ties to other departments and units in the School of Humanities and Sciences.

Our students therefore have the opportunity to study Christianity in conversation with faculty and peers pursuing research on Buddhism, Islam, and Judaism, as well as other religious traditions and broader questions of spirituality, modern thought, and secularization, and to acquire and deploy the same humanistic approaches to their subject matter as found throughout this research university.

The field of Christian Studies encompasses Christianity in the ancient, early modern, and modern periods and offers, through colleagues in the Department of History, resources for the study of medieval Christianity as well. Christian Studies at Stanford especially welcomes applications from students who wish to study Christian thought and practice with a focus on the following areas: (1)  the Late Ancient Near East, including Christian-Jewish or Christian-Muslim relations; or (2) Europe, Britain, or North America from the early modern period to the late twentieth century. While students come to specialize in a particular period, area, or theme in Christian Studies, broad familiarity with the long sweep of Christian history is encouraged so as to prepare students for successful careers as teachers as well as scholars. We encourage potential applicants to familiarize themselves with the scholarship of the Department faculty listed below.

The strengths of the departmental faculty working on the Christian tradition are complemented by those of faculty in the Departments of History, Philosophy, and Classics, and the Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages whose research bears upon the Christian religion and its cultural significance. French, German, Latin and/or Greek are the foreign languages most commonly required for advanced research, however other languages may be required depending on period and geographic region.


Kathryn Gin Lum

Assistant Professor
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Fionna Griffiths

Department of History

Michael Penn

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Barbara Pitkin

Senior Lecturer
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Jane Shaw

Professor, Dean for Religious Life

Thomas Sheehan

Professor of Religious Studies and, by courtesy, of German Studies and of Philosophy
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Brent Sockness

Associate Professor of Religious Studies and, by courtesy, of German Studies

Lee Yearley

Walter Y. Evans-Wentz Professor of Oriental Philosophy, Religions and Ethics