Graduate Studies

Mormon Studies at UVA is situated in the Graduate Program in Religious Studies, which grants both doctoral and masters degrees. Students of Mormonism work closely with the Bushman Professor and in collaboration with other American Religious History faculty to master the academic study of Mormonism and prepare to teach it as part of a liberal arts curriculum.

Mormon Studies is an optional subspecialty or program focus for those obtaining a graduate degree in Religious Studies. In other words, as is the case with the study of all religious traditions at the University, no graduate degree is offered in Mormon Studies specifically, but rather in the general field of Religious Studies with a research and teaching specialty in Mormonism.

Read more about our M.A. and Ph.D. programs.

View a list of commonly taken courses



Bradley Kime

Ph.D. anticipated 2020
(Jefferson Fellow)
M.A., History, Utah State University
B.A., History, Brigham Young University (magna cum laude, Valedictorian, Honors)

Research interests:
Religion and law, secularism, Mormonism, atheism

“Infidel Deathbeds: Irreligious Dying and Sincere Disbelief in Nineteenth-Century America,” Church History 86, no. 2 (June 2017): 427-457

2016 American Society of Church History, “Religious Outsiders and the Catholic Critique of Protestantism in America”

2015 American Academy of Religion, “Religious Outsiders and the Catholic Critique of Protestantism in America

Mae Speight

Ph.D., anticipated 2020
M.A., University of Virginia
B.A., Bowdoin College

Research interests:
Twentieth-Century American Religious History, Mormonism, Feminist and Gender Theory

Papers and Presentations:
2016 University of Virginia, “Same-Sex Attraction, Sedgwick and the Saints,” Virginia Colloquium on American Religion

2016 University of Virginia, “Testimonies of Same-Sex Attraction: the Emerging Mormon Discourse of Sexual Identity”, Virginia Graduate Conference of Theology, Ethics and Culture.

“Same-Sex Attraction, Sedgwick, and the Saints: The Emerging Mormon Discourse on Sexual Identity.” Winner of the 2016 Mormon History Association Student Paper Award for the University of Virginia.

2015 Florida State, “The Civil War in the History of American Spirituality: From Emerson to James, from ‘Oversouls’ to ‘Overbeliefs,’” Department of Religion Graduate Student Symposium.

2015 University of Virginia, “When the Indians Were Israelites: Theology and Race in the Early Republic,” Graduate English Student Association Conference.

Melanie Monteclaro Pace

Ph.D. anticipated 2021
M.S.W., University of North Carolina, Charlotte
B.A., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (Religious Studies & Psychology)

Research interests:
20th-century American religion, evangelicalism, and Mormonism. Gender, sexuality, and religion. Sexual violence and trauma.

Brittany Acors

Ph.D. anticipated 2023
B.A., College of William & Mary (Biology & Religious Studies)

Research interests:
The intersection between science and religion, New Religious Movements in America, modern Protestantism, the ecumenical movement, religion and law, religion and politics, and religious history.

“Legally Faithful: Establishing a Constitutional Definition of ‘Religion’ for the United States,” University of Pennsylvania Undergraduate Law Journal 5, no. 1 (Fall 2017): 81-101

Stephen Betts

Ph.D. anticipated 2024
M.A., Linguistics, Brigham Young University
B.A., Ancient Near Eastern Studies, Brigham Young University

Research interests:
Scripture creation, scriptural canonization, scripturalization, Biblical reception, the Bible in America, Mormon scripture

“The Bible and Biblical Scholarship in 20th and 21st Century Mormonism,” co-authored with Philip L. Barlow, in The Bible in Mormonism: A Guidebook to the LDS Scriptural Tradition, Cory Crawford, Eric Eliason, and Taylor G. Petrey, eds. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2019 forthcoming)

2019 Society of Biblical Literature, “Explicative and Ostensive Reference in the Book of Mormon: Joseph Smith and the Age of Reason”

2018 Society of Biblical Literature, “‘The Gate and the Way’: Constructing Theology in Mormon Scripture Through New Testament Quotation”