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Masters Promotion Program

The Department offers an expedited admission process for UVA undergraduates seeking the MA degree in Religious Studies. This process both eases the admissions process and allows students to take courses that will count toward the MA while still enrolled as undergraduates. In some cases, this allows for the completion of the BA and the MA in a total of five years.

Third-year students who wish to be considered for admission to this program should submit their application by May 14. Those students accepted into the program will take two graduate-level courses (5000 or above) in their final year of undergraduate study, which will be credited toward their MA degree. In the following year, they will continue at the University as MA students and fulfill the Religious Studies MA degree requirements, which include a foreign language requirement. (For a fuller description of these requirements, visit the MA Degree Requirements page.) Students must complete their BA at the end of their fourth year and must remain in residence at the University for their fifth year.

Eligibility: This program is open to students from any major who can show reasonable preparation and purpose for graduate work in Religious Studies, and who have a minimum GPA of 3.4 in coursework relevant to the MA.

Note: The credits for the two graduate courses taken in the undergraduate years cannot be counted toward the Religious Studies major or toward the 120 credits required by the College of Arts and Sciences for the BA degree.

Applications should be submitted by email to the Graduate Coordinator and should include the following:

  • A letter of interest that includes a 500-word statement of purpose outlining the intellectual interests to be pursued in the MA program. A strong statement will also include some discussion of how the applicant’s previous coursework in the Religious Studies Department has prepared her or him for graduate study.
  • A transcript (or transcripts) of undergraduate work (including grades for the third-year spring term)
  • A writing sample that demonstrates the applicant’s ability to mount and sustain an argument. Writing samples should be ten pages or longer.
  • Two letters of reference from professors in the Religious Studies Department. All letters of reference should be submitted directly to the Religious Studies Graduate Coordinator.

Those students approved to enter the program will still need to apply through the Graduate School application in the fall of their 4th year (online applications open September 1). These students should indicate on the application that they have been accepted to the Master's Promotion program, and will have a streamlined application as a result. Thanks to a special arrangement with the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, students do not need to take the GRE or pay an application fee in order to apply.