Jul 14, 2024  
2024-2025 Graduate Catalog 
2024-2025 Graduate Catalog

Religious Studies, M.A.

College of Arts and Sciences  
Department: Religious Studies 

The M.A. degree in Religious Studies provides opportunities for students with backgrounds in the scholarly study of religion to expand their knowledge of the social, cultural, intellectual, and historical contexts of religion, to develop a greater in-depth knowledge of particular religious traditions, and to acquire proficiency with a variety of pertinent methodologies and theoretical perspectives. The degree serves the needs of students who pursue careers in health professions in education, journalism, law, business, politics, and social work. It will be of special value to those interested in pursuing a doctorate in religious studies.

Major Research Areas: Biblical Studies, Biblical Archaeology, Christianity, Judaism, Mysticism, Philosophy of Religion, Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Chinese Medicine, Religion in Culture and Society, African Religion, African-American Religion, Afro-Caribbean Religion.

Admission Information

Must meet University Admission and English Proficiency requirements as well as requirements for admission to the major, listed below.

  • Three (3) letters of recommendation, and
  • A writing sample
  • A personal statement (1-3 pages, double-space)
  • GRE required, but no minimum specified

Curriculum Requirements

Total Minimum hours - 30 hours

  • Core – 6 Credit Hours
  • Additional Required Courses - 12 Credit Hours
  • Electives – 6 hours minimum
  • Thesis – 6 hours
  • Non-Thesis – 6 hours additional electives

Students select a major professor and develop a plan for completing a minimum of 30 credit hours. The thesis track requires six (6) of these credits be devoted to a thesis project. The non-thesis track requires that all 30 credits come from graduate seminars. The plan of study is subject to approval of the Graduate Committee. A majority of these courses will be in religious studies, although the plan may include approved courses in other departments.

There is no uniform language requirement; however, language skills may be required for particular areas of study. All students are required to satisfactorily complete a written, comprehensive examination wherein they demonstrate competence in:

  1. pertinent theoretical issues and research methodologies;
  2. the analysis and interpretation of related texts, artifacts, and activities; and
  3. social and historical contexts of the religions studied.

The Department of Religious Studies “Graduate Student Handbook” should be consulted for additional information about basic requirements and specific procedures.

Core Requirements (6 Credit Hours)

Additional Required Courses (12 Credit Hours Minimum)

Six (6) hours of graduate courses in Abrahamic Religions (Christianity, Judaism, or Islam)  
Six (6) hours of graduate courses in non-Abrahamic Religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism, or Confucianism)

Electives (6 Credit Hours)

No more than six (6) hours may come from independent study/directed reading.
No more than six (6) hours may come from departments other than Religious Studies.

Comprehensive Exam


Thesis (6 Credit Hours)

Students will pass a comprehensive exam prior to defending the master’s thesis. They will research, write, and successfully defend the master’s thesis before a committee of three professors.


Non-Thesis students must complete an additional six (6) hours of electives.