Ph.D. Program – Interdisciplinary Studies in Theology and Religion

As of 2016, the non-canonical academic degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) can be earned through the “Interdisciplinary Studies in Theology and Religion” program offered by the Catholic-Theological Faculty of JGU Mainz. This course of study is designed for all who have completed a degree other than a full-time (“Vollstudium”) theological degree. Central to this doctorate is the interdisciplinary consolidation of a research question, which combines a non-theological subject with Catholic theology.

Religious tracks, which can be unearthed from any humanist, social or cultural world approach, act as a framework. This new course of study brings both together: academic reflection on religion and theological reflection on the world.

General information regarding the doctorate program in Mainz.

General Information

Religion is an anthropologic constant – it has been loved and criticized, oppressed and absolutized. Each humanist, social or cultural world approach comes in contact with religious language, religious concepts or religious expressions. Because it is explicitly devoted to the reflection on these phenomena, theology is inherently receptive to interdisciplinary inquiry. It supplements external-theological research with its theological and denominational perspective. With its mutually collaborative work of academic reflection on religion and the theological reflection on the world, the Ph.D. “Interdisciplinary Studies in Theology and Religion” is a program that unites fields.

The Ph.D. program develops new research fields concerning the diverse relationships that link religion and theology with history, language, society, politics and culture. Each interdisciplinary associated subject mutually benefits in research and scholarship, thus learning from one another.

Program profile

The goal of the doctorate is interdisciplinary expansion of a research question that was developed previously during higher education with the exception of a full-time theological degree. At the focus of the program is the interdisciplinary consolidation of a research question that combines a non-theological subject and Catholic Theology. In addition, there is professional and interdisciplinary qualification.

Construction and process

Professors from both of the relevant disciplines serve an advisory role. Collaborations with another German or foreign university as well as a non-university research institute are possible. The doctoral program additionally offers professional and interdisciplinary qualifications worth 20 academic credits in a specialized area of interest as well as expanded scholarly key qualifications worth 10 academic credits. Further features of the program include the host of offerings provided by the general graduate program, JGU’s center for quality assurance and development (“Zentrum für Qualitätssicherung und -entwicklung” = ZQ) and promotions tailored for young, up-in-coming scholars.


The requirements for enrollment in the Ph.D. program is a completed undergraduate course of study that was not a full-time theological degree. Theological parts of that study are therefore not essential. The specialized qualification within this Ph.D. program includes the selective examination of theology, which is relevant for the research project. This research project must have an interdisciplinary orientation. The Ph.D. course of study can also be started after graduation from universities of applied sciences after successful results from a two-semester aptitude test.


The Ph.D. “Interdisciplinary Studies in Theology and Religion” is a non-canonical, academic degree. It does not replace a theological full-time course of study. For graduates of full-time theological programs (Diploma and Magistra/Magister Theologiae), the theological doctorate (Dr. theol.) is recommended.