MA Program Requirements

Course and Residence Unit Requirements

Students must complete two Residence Units and a minimum of 30 points at the 4000-level or higher with the exception of courses taken at Union Theological Seminary. As Union Theological Seminary is a graduate school with an independent course numbering convention, courses taken at any level at Union Theological Seminary may count toward the degree. Students must maintain a GPA of at least 3.0 (B) to remain in good standing in the program. At least 30 points must be taken for a letter grade of B or better. Courses graded Pass/Fall or taken for R credit cannot be counted toward the degree.

Students must successfully complete the following required courses with a grade of B or better:

Theory and Method in the Study of Religion (RELI GR6101, 4 points)

Religion and Public Life (RELI GR6420, 4 points)

Thesis Research and Writing Seminar (RELI GR6112, 4 points)

Students must complete a specialization of 5 related courses.  This specialization may be based  on a religious tradition, topic, geographical region, or disciplinary approach.


Students must arrange an individual oral examination based on either a thesis or an article-length scholarly paper. The exam is to be administered by a two-member faculty committee selected by the student and approved by the MA Program Director.


Full-time students are expected to complete the program in two to four semesters. Part-time students must complete the program within eight semesters. The requirements for the part-time MA are the same as for the full-time MA.