Requirements for the Master’s Degree
Course Requirements: The MA in Religious Studies requires 27 credits beyond the BA. MA credits are distributed as follows: the core course on REL 2710 - PERSPECTIVES ON RELIGION ; one course on theories or methods related to the student’s primary methodological focus (3 credits); four courses in the student’s area of concentration (12 credits); two courses outside the student’s area of concentration (6 credits); three credits devoted to the preparation of the comprehensive examination and research and writing of the Master’s thesis.
Language Training: There are no formal, departmental language examinations for the MA. When applicable, an intermediate level of reading competency in a modern and/or classical second language judged necessary for research and standard in a student’s area of concentration is required for admission into the program. Additional language study, as appropriate, may be required as part of the student’s professional training.
Comprehensive Examination: Students take a comprehensive examination within the first eighteen months (three terms) of entering the program. The examination is typically taken in conjunction with “Perspectives on Religion” and is comprised of a three-member examining committee chaired by the student’s advisor. The written examination covers theories and methods in the study of religion and issues relating to the student’s area of concentration and is followed by a one-hour oral defense.
Thesis: The thesis is an original, article-length research essay in the student’s area of concentration. It may be developed from a seminar paper or as an independent research project under the direction of the student’s advisor. The thesis is defended in a one-hour oral examination before a three-member examining committee.