FF FDRLpJ Study of Religions
Name in Czech: Religionistika
doctoral full-time
Included in the programme: FF D-RL_ Study of Religions

Final state doctoral examination and defence of the doctoral thesis

Doctoral state examination

According to the recommended plan of studies, the doctoral state examination (DSE) takes place in the 5th, or, at the latest, the 7th semester (extended by the time of interrupted studies). The prerequisite of DSE is the finalization of an article for submission (the course RLDrA09).

Doctoral candidates submit the application for DSE at the beginning of the semester in which they have registered for the DSE course. The application should be submitted to the Office for Studies on the official form (https://www.phil.muni.cz/do/phil/Pracoviste/SO/formulare/phd_prihlaska_ke_zkousce.rtf). Candidates inform their supervisor and the programme director.

The state exam is oral and has two parts:

1) Presentation and defence of a position statement for the DSE
No less than 10 working days before the DSE, candidates must submit a position statement to the office of the department which covers the main argument of the intended oral presentation. The statement should be submitted as a text file of 3-5 standard pages (5,400-9,000 characters incl. spaces and references). It should have a title, the candidate's name, and bibliographic references (we recommend the "parenthesis", Harvard style rather than footnotes for this statement). The statement and its presentation should put forward an original argument on a broader topical problem in the study of religions related to the dissertation research (e.g., the theoretical implications of the candidate's article submitted to a journal for review). The statement must be based on a clear argument that a non-specialist audience of study of religions scholars can follow. I.e., it should not focus on special details but rather present a more general argument which can be discussed critically at the examination.
At the examination, the candidates present the statement in ca. 10 minutes. They may use presentation software.
The committee evaluates the originality, quality, and persuasiveness of both the written statement and its presentation as well of the candidate’s participation in the discussion. The weight of this part in the overall grade for the exam is 50%.

2) Statement on concepts and topics in the contemporary study of religions.
No less than 10 working days before the DSE, candidates must also submit a list of readings by email to the office of the department. The list should be divided into two parts: (a) theory and method in the study of religions, and (b) their chosen specialty. Each part should contain a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 10 items (in the case of important contributions, these can be articles in journals or proceedings), including short summaries by the candidate. On the basis of this list of readings, the committee will choose a topic that the candidate will cover in an oral presentation and in a subsequent discussion. The weight of this part in the overall grade for the exam is 50%.

Defence of the doctoral thesis

The defense takes place after candidates fulfil the study requirements. The application should be submitted to the Office for Studies on the official form (https://www.phil.muni.cz/do/phil/Pracoviste/SO/formulare/phd_prihlaska_ke_zkousce.rtf). The candidate uploads the final version of the dissertation, including any attachments, in the Thesis Archive. Before closing the archive, they consult their supervisor. They then inform their supervisor and the programme director about the submission of their application. Alongside the application, candidates submit a separate extended dissertation summary in digital form.

Requirements of the study

Study requirements are covered by courses, and their structure and timeline are described in the recommended plan of studies. Dissertation research takes place throughout the studies and makes up at least 60% of the workload. Specific requirements, which mostly constitute partial steps in the dissertation research, include the publication of at least one book review, one high-quality article directly connected with the dissertation, a grant application (mock or actually submitted), one paper at a local conference, and one paper at an international conference, as well as participation in teaching in order to gain basic pedagogic experience. The teaching work covered by the curriculum will not exceed 60 hours in total. Optionally, doctoral candidates can gain further competencies by participating in the popularization of the field and, if interested and upon approval by the supervisor and the programme director, they can teach - under their advisor's supervision - one optional undergraduate course whose topic is connected with the dissertation research. In addition, doctoral candidates are expected to undertake a research stay outside the Czech Republic for at least 30, but preferably 90 or more days, and use it for dissertation research and networking. If they need one semester for direct research work uninterrupted by seminars, publishing, and other outcomes, they can use, once in their studies, an optional course which covers extended dissertation research.

Proposal of dissertation topics and topics of defended dissertations

Suggested topics:
- A Computational Modelling of the Social Networks of the Dissident Apostolic Movement in Italy, 1260–1310
- Changes in Buryat Buddhism from perestroika (1985) to nowadays: politics and religion in Russia
- Effects of Post-1945 Socio-demographic Changes on Contemporary Czech Religiosity
- Hostile environment vs war and raiding: Different evolutionary paths to costly rituals
- The role of churches in Brno in homemaking and social integration of local foreigners
- The Role of Religion in the Development of Moravian Institutes for the Deaf in the 19th century: The Definition of Normality and Hearing Disorders at the Intersections of the History of Religion and Science
- The Roman Cult of Mithras and the Officials of the Roman Portorium: A Prosopographic, Sociological, and Network Analysis of the Operation of the Roman Cult of the God of Mithras in the Danube Provinces
- The Spread of Earliest Christianity in Asia Minor: Possibilities and Limits of Network Models Based on Proxies
- Tracing the dynamic relationship between religious ritual and anxiety: A longitudinal case study among regular churchgoers

Examples of defended theses:
- "And from that time God works in my life a lot...": Conversion as autobiografical and commitment signal (https://is.muni.cz/th/ianwb/)
- Impact of Factors Involved in the Early Spread of the Isiac Cults Across the Aegean Sea: A Quantitative Evaluation (https://is.muni.cz/th/uu7ug/)
- Is Cultural Evolution Evolution? Some Methodological Problems of Application of Evolutionary Theory on Culture, with Special Reference to Religion (https://is.muni.cz/th/csur6/)
- Keeping God's secrets: On the Psychology of Secrecy in Religion (https://is.muni.cz/th/slqf8/)
- The Cognitive Science of Religion: Connecting the Humanities and the Sciences in the Study of Ritual Practice, Prosociality, and Anxiety (https://is.muni.cz/th/f6hop/)
- Tracing The Origins Of Eucharistic Magic: On the Role of Cognitive Attraction in the Cultural Transmission of Collective Rituals (https://is.muni.cz/th/yqobt/)
- Shared Biographies of Arranged Marriages in the Unification Church (https://is.muni.cz/th/uosp3/)

Recommended progress through the study plan

Compulsory courses

Code Name Guarantor Type of Completion Extent and Intensity Credits Term Profile Cat.
FF:RLDrA01Doctoral Seminar I: Dissertation Research Project D. Zbíralk 0/2/025 1-
FF:RLDrA02Doctoral Seminar II: Article Project D. Zbíralk 0/2/010 2-
FF:RLDrA03Presentation Skills in English D. Zbíralk 0/0/05 2-
FF:RLDrA04Writing a Grant Application D. Zbíralk 0/2/010 2-
FF:RLDrA05Published Review D. Zbíralz 0/0/05 3-
FF:RLDrA06Writing Skills in English D. Zbíralk 0/0/010 3-
FF:RLDrA07Local Conference Participation D. Zbíralz 0/0/010 3-
FF:RLDrA08Teaching the Study of Religion D. Zbíralz 0/0/05 3-
FF:RLDrA09Draft Article D. Zbíralk 0/0/030 4-
FF:RLDrA10Doctoral Seminar III: Theory and Method D. Zbíralk 0/2/010 5-
FF:RLDrA11International Conference Participation D. Zbíralz 0/0/020 5-
FF:RLDrA12Doctoral Seminar IV: Advanced Dissertation Draft D. Zbíralk 0/2/020 6-
FF:RLDrA13International Research Stay D. Zbíralk 0/0/010 6-
FF:RLDrA14Doctoral Seminar V: Internal Review and Dissertation Submission D. Zbíralk 0/0/020 7-
FF:RLDrA15Published Article D. Zbíralz 0/0/010 7-
FF:RLDrA16Doctoral Seminar VI: Postdoctoral Perspectives D. Zbíralk 0/0/030 8-
FF:RLDrObDissertation Defense D. Zbíralzk 0/0/0- 8-
FF:RLDrZkDoctoral State Exam D. ZbíralSDzk 0/0/0- 5-
230 credits

Elective courses

Code Name Guarantor Type of Completion Extent and Intensity Credits Term Profile Cat.
FF:RLDrC01Bachelor Course Preparation D. Zbíralz 0/0/010 --
FF:RLDrC02Extended Dissertation Research D. Zbíralk 0/0/020 --
30 credits