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Religious Studies seeks to understand the role of religion in human life and culture. The department’s field of study includes religious expression from all cultures and in every period of history. The master’s program in religious studies is designed to achieve two goals that reflect the distinct educational aims of two different kinds of students. The first goal is preparation of students for PhD programs. Increasingly, doctoral programs in religious studies expect applicants to have a master’s or similar advanced degree. The degree is designed to prepare students for entry into such programs. It therefore emphasizes appropriate language study, the recognized, scholarly approaches to the study of religion, history of the discipline, research methods, and knowledge of the range of religious experience and expression. The second goal is to provide graduate study of religions for those who desire it in order to enrich their educational lives, to prepare for seminary study, or to strengthen work in other allied disciplines, such as journalism, education, history, literature, anthropology or art history.

Degrees Offered

Master of Arts in Religious Studies

On Campus

Admission Criteria

Fall deadline:

  • February 1 (for consideration of financial aid)
  • April 1 (for students not seeking financial aid)

Spring deadline: October 15

  • Minimum GPA: 3.0
  • Minimum GRE score: none set

Minimum English Proficiency Requirements

Test TypeTotal ScoreReadingListeningSpeakingWriting
TOEFL Internet -based8017171717
TOEFL Paper-based5505252N/A52
IELTS Academic6.56666

Required Application Materials

For the Office of Graduate Studies

  • Completed Graduate Studies online application
  • Unofficial Transcripts- As part of the application submission process, all applicants are required to upload unofficial copies of all post-secondary transcripts to the online application. Official transcripts are only required if accepted by the academic program.
  • Official Results of English Proficiency Exams (International applicants only)

For the Religious Studies Program

  • Statement of purpose
  • 3 letters of recommendation (may be submitted electronically by recommenders, or by mail to the department)
  • GRE score report
  • Writing sample, which will normally consist of a paper written for an undergraduate course on a topic related to the study of religion