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Person, Community, and Religious Life

Course of Study Description

The Person, Community, and Religious Life (PCRL) Course of Study provides opportunities to explore basic questions of religious practice that occur at the intersection of religious and social science studies of persons, communities, and cultural systems.  This broad scope of inquiry encourages work in such areas as human development, education, sociology, psychology and sociology of religion, homiletics, pastoral counseling, practical theology, spirituality, congregational studies, and other areas of research.  Students draw on faculty scholarship in the above fields, and are encouraged to do interdisciplinary work in the other areas of the GDR and across the university.

PCRL students may take advantage of Emory's many rich and varied educational and research resources, including the Carter Center, the Georgia Association for Pastoral Care (a counseling center), the Center for Ethics, the Emory Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Religion, and the Emory Center for Myth and Ritual in American Life.

Because of the breadth of the PCRL Course of Study and the rich variety of course offerings available, students work with faculty to craft their studies around their own intellectual and vocational goals.

Preliminary Examinations

Please consult with the chair of the Course of Study for more information.

Special Requirements

Please consult with the chair of the Course of Study for more information.

Selected Courses

Please consult with the chair of the Course of Study for more information.

Recent Dissertations

Recent dissertation and placement information:


Helen Marie Blier, "Like Mining for Precious Stones: The Wisdom and Work of Exemplary Teachers." Placement: Boston College

Frederick Pettigrew Edie, "Dancing Toward the Holy: Forming Christian Character through the Catechumenate."  Placement: Duke University

Maisha Itia Handy, "'How I Got Over': Shame, Recovery, and Womanist Practices of Resistance in the Black Church."  Placement: The Interdenominational Theological Center

Kristin Helweg Hanson, "Resilient Thesis, Wordless Synthesis: Women's Perceptions of Inupiaq Expression and Transformation of Protestant Faith and Practice."  Placement: University of Alaska

David Whitfield Robinson, "The Id and Thou: A Study of Conscience in the Psychology of C. G. Jung." Placement: Leo Clarke Music


Barbara Jo McClure, "Toward Pastoral Counseling in a Post-Individualistic Mode: Assessing the Current Model and Making Proposals for Change."  Placement: Vanderbilt University

Timothy Lee Van Meter, "Teaching and Learning without Walls: A Strategy for Ecological Religious Education."  Placement: Methodist Theological School of Ohio


Lynn Claire Bridgers, "Recovering Religious Varieties: Conversion, Temperament, and Trauma." Placement: College of Santa Fe

Kimberleigh Jane Buchanan, "The Matrix of Shame and Learning to Preach."  Placement: Pilgrimage United Church of Christ

Robin Ann Ficklin-Alred, "Powerful Pedagogy: An Inquiry into the Practical Theology and Pedagogy of Three United Methodist Bishops in the Episcopal Initiative on Children and Poverty." 

Katherine Marie Turpin, "Consumer Capitalism and Adolescent Vocational Imagination: An Explanation of the Pedagogical Dynamics of Ongoing Conversion."  Placement: Iliff School of Theology


Jane Knight, "Imagination and the Divine: An Ethnographic Exploration."  Placement: Emory University

Gordon S. Mikoski, "Baptizing and Teaching in the Triune Name: Conceptual Groundwork for a Trinitarian Practical Theology of Christian Formation."  Placement: Princeton Theological Seminary

Jennifer A. Watts, "Toward Wiser Blood: A Conversation between Thomas Aquinas and the Relational/Intersubjective Psychoanalytic Paradigm."  Placement: Psychotherapist


David Bell, "Religious Identity: Constructing a Measure for Research and Practice." Placement: Georgia State University

Thomas Flores, "Encountering the Other through Interfaith Dialogue: A Constructive Look at a Praxis of Religious Identity and the Proximation of Peace."  Placement: Emory University

Renee Harrison, "Dancing Ourselves Free: Black Women, Violence, and the Art of Re-Creation." Placement: Payne Theological Seminary


Jennifer Ayres, "'With an Urgency Born of this Hope': A Constructive Practical Theology of Reformed Christian Social Witness Practice."  Placement: McCormick Theological Seminary


Jae Yeon Chung, "Our Stories, Our Lives: Korean Women, Self-Esteem and Practical Theology."

Carla Gober, "To See or Not to See: Prophetic Imagination at the Heart of Autobiographical Memory and Its Relation to the Attachment, Trauma and Meaning."  Placement: Loma Linda University Placement: Loma Linda University

Stephanie Sears-Louder, "Towards a Womanist Psychology of Religion: A Constructive Response to the Call for the Decolonization of African Diasporic Spirits."

Kaia Stern, "Eight Voices on Prison: Transforming the Spirit of Punishment."  Placement: Director, Pathways Home Project, Charles Hamilton Holmes Institute at Harvard University. Placement: Harvard University


Veronice Miles, "Toward a Pedagogy of Hope: A Klomanist Christian Education and Homiletics Approach to Catalyzing Hope in the Lives of Young Black Women in America" Placement: Wake Forest University

Lance Pape, "A Ricoeurian Revision of Postliberal Homiletics" Placement: Texas Christian University - Brite Divinity School

Almeda Michelle Wright, "Integrated-Integrating Pedagogy: A Practical Theological Analysis of Fragmented Spirituality Among African American Adolescents" Placement: Pfieffer University


Claire Bischoff, “Image is Everything…” Placement: Lexington Theological Seminary

Anne Hardison Moody, "WHEN RELIGION MATTERS: A Practical Theological Engagement of Liberian Women's Narratives and Practices of Healing Post-Conflict" Placement: Project Manager North Carolina State

Heejung Kwon, "Toward a Theological Anthropology of Resistance: Korean American Women‘s Ambivalent Subjectivity, "Third Space" and Religious Education"


Haemin Lee, “International Development and Public Religion: Changing Dynamics of Christian Mission in South Korea” Placement: International Evangelism at Presbyterian Church Headquarters

Hellena Moon,“Transforming the Paradigm of Wo/men’s Human Rights through Intercultural Pastoral Care: Narratives of Vulnerability & Contradictions in Korean Wo/men’s lives in the Colonial and Postcolonial Period,”

Jeremy Posadas, "The Body of Christ Worships in the Era of Biopower: Towards a Liturgical Somatics" Placement: Austin College


Carolyn Browning Helsel, “The Hermeneutics of Recognition: A Ricoeurian Interpretive Framework for Whites Preaching About Racism.” 

Jay-Paul Michael Hinds, Placement: Howard Divinity School

Jacob Myers

Shaping scholars Reshaping institutions