MA Plan of Study

All students must complete a minimum of 30 points of coursework (excluding elementary or intermediate language study). The required 30 points includes four required seminars: RELI GR6101: Theory and Method; RELI GU4105: a research methods course in a discipline related to their research interests; RELI GR6420: Religion and Public Life; and RELI GR6112: Thesis Research and Writing Seminar, in which students write either a thesis or an article-length scholarly paper as their capstone project. In addition to these seminars, student complete a minimum of 4 electives in the student’s chosen specialization, including one independent study.

Students opting to develop their language skills, including those intending eventually to pursue a PhD in Religion, take additional language coursework and usually choose to complete the MA in 3 to 4 semesters.  Students may begin language study at any level. 

Students are encouraged to refer to the MA in Religion Checklist for a list of requirements as well as sample plans of study.


In addition to the core program, students may choose to specialize in several different ways. They may focus on:

1) A specific religious tradition or field of study (including philosophy of religion, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, East Asian religions, South Asian religions, or North American religions); or

2) One of five zones of inquiry (time, transmission, space, the body, or media); or

3) An interdisciplinary focus (such as religion and the law, religion and art, religion and human rights, etc.), taking advantage of related course offerings available across the university.


The MA Advisor appoints an academic advisor to each new student. Students are encouraged to consult closely with their academic advisors throughout the program with regard to course selection and the development of their research agenda. Students should direct questions related to program requirements to their advisor or the MA Advisor.