Program Requirements

Degree requirements (minimum of 30 hours)

Core Requirements - 15 hours
Course CodeCourse TitleCredit Hours
REL 685* Theories of Religion 3 hrs
REL 711 Seminar in Religions of Asia 3 hrs
REL 731 Seminar: Biblical Studies 3 hrs
REL 751 Seminar in Religions of Europe and the Middle East 3 hrs
REL 771 Seminar: Religion and Culture 3 hrs

*Students who have completed REL 580 Theories of Religion must substitute REL 685 with an additional 600- or 700-level course (3 hours) approved by the Graduate Program Director.

2.    Electives - 15 hours.  Students writing a thesis for their research component must complete two additional seminars (6 hours), distributed across two of four options (REL 711, 731, 751, 771).  Students creating a research portfolio for their research component must complete three additional seminars (9 hours), distributed across three of four options (REL 711, 731, 751, 771).   

Additional electives:  All students must complete additional elective hours selected from 600- and 700-level courses to total 30 hours.  At least six of the elective hours must be in the Religious Studies Department.  For students writing a thesis, up to 6 of the elective hours may be in REL 799, Thesis - the first 3 hours typically taken after the student has completed 12 hours of course work and the second 3 hours taken the following semester to complete the thesis.

3.    Foreign Language Requirement.  The foreign language requirement may be met before entering the M.A. program or while completing the program through one of the following options: 

  1. completion of 12 hours of undergraduate course work in a foreign language with a grade of "C" or higher;
  2. completion of 6 hours of undergraduate course work in one foreign language with a grade of "C" or higher and completion of 6 hours of undergraduate course work in a second foreign language with a grade of "C" or higher;
  3. completion of the second intermediate foreign language college course with a grade of "C" or higher;
  4. passing a reading competency test equivalent to the level of the second intermediate foreign language college course, administered by the Department of Modern and Classical Languages; or
  5. the approval of the Graduate Program Director.

    Any student whose native language is not English will be considered to have met the foreign language requirement.

4.  Advisory committee. Initially each student will be advised by the Graduate Program Director. As soon as possible, the student will select a faculty member to chair a graduate advisory committee consisting of at least three persons. This committee will supervise the remainder of the candidate's graduate program.

5.  Program of study. The candidate's program will be structured by the Advisory Committee in consultation with the student.

6.  Comprehensive examination. The written and oral comprehensive examination will be administered by the student's Advisory Committee upon the completion of at least 12 hours of course work, normally at the beginning of the third semester.  This examination must be passed before the student begins writing a thesis or creating a research portfolio.

7.  Research.  In addition to completing their course work, students must complete either a thesis or a research portfolio in a manner acceptable to the student's Advisory Committee.  The thesis or research portfolio constitutes the student's research component and will be defended orally before the student's Advisory Committee.