The M.A. in Religious Studies, which may be elected either as a preparation for more advanced study or as a terminal degree, has the following general requirements:
Requirements: Choice #1
The successful completion of 30 credit hours, of which 24 credit hours comes of course work, of which at least 9 hours must be taken in a single religious tradition or cultural area and of which at least 6 hours must be taken in courses with a strong emphasis on method; and the preparation and successful defense of a thesis, which counts for the remaining 6 credit hours represented by at least six credit hours of non-topical research with the student’s advisor and which exhibits competence in the area of specialization, skill in a given method of study, and an ability to employ resources in the relevant foreign language(s);
Requirements: Choice #2
The successful completion of 30 credit hours of course work, of which at least 12 hours must be taken in a single religious tradition or cultural area and of which at least 6 hours must be taken in courses with a strong emphasis on method; and the satisfactory performance in a comprehensive examination based upon a reading list approved by the relevant field committee; (The choice between these options is determined in consultation between the student and faculty advisors, and with a view to the student's objectives in graduate study.) (Note: When M.A./Ph.D. program students successfully complete their comprehensive doctoral examinations, they will have also completed the Master's examination requirement and may then elect to receive the M.A. degree); and
A reading knowledge of either French or German must to be demonstrated by examination (though another language may be substituted under appropriate circumstances and with the approval of the Committee on Graduate Studies).
Within these general requirements, the M.A. program remains flexible and can be closely tailored to the interests and aims of the individual student. Normally the M.A. program can be completed in three semesters, but only very rarely in fewer than three.