American Religious History
Hour Requirements: 30 hours, including 6 hours of thesis credit.
Each student will be assigned an advisor upon entering the program. The program of course work, up to nine hours of which may be taken in another department, will be developed with the advisor. Students will take REL5035 (Theory and Method in the Study of Religion) and at least four ARH courses.
Reading knowledge of one language of research is required.
Each student will write a thesis. Normally the student will choose a thesis topic and a provisional thesis committee by the end of the first year. Before the end of the third semester the student is expected to submit and defend a prospectus. The prospectus should include a thesis statement, a description of the main sections of the thesis text and argument, and a working bibliography. At times deemed appropriate by the major advisor, students will orally defend both the prospectus and the written thesis.
History and Ethnography of Religions
Hour Requirements: 33 hours.
In consultation with HER faculty, master's students develop a program of course work allowing both breadth and depth in the historical and anthropological study of religion, specializing in one of three individual areas of specialization:
- Religions of Africa & the Caribbean (African Indigenous Religions; African Initiated Churches; Afro-Caribbean religions; Christianity, Islam, and Judaism; New religious movements)
- Religions of Asia (Buddhism; Hinduism; Shinto; Religious traditions of India, Nepal, Tibet, China, Japan, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam)
- Religions of Western Europe & the Mediterranean (medieval or early modern Christianity and Judaism; Islam)
Students pursuing the M.A. degree in one of these areas of specialization are required to take at least 33 credit hours (10 courses) of graded course work distributed as follows:
- REL5035 (Theory and Method in the Study of Religion; 3 credit hours)
- Six courses (18 credit hours) within the primary area of specialization (African and/or Afro-Caribbean religions; Buddhism; Hinduism; Islam; medieval or early modern Christianity; Shinto; Religious traditions of India, Nepal, Tibet, China, Japan, Cambodia, Laos, or Vietnam)
- Two courses (6 credit hours), which may be inside or outside the HER concentration
- Thesis (6 credit hours)
The above requirements may be partially satisfied by up to two courses (6 credit hours) taken in a department other than Religion, with prior approval.
Students must meet the following minimum language requirement:
- Completion of a third-semester course of one language relevant to the student's area of research.
Completion of a grade of "pass" on a reading knowledge exam in another language relevant to the student's area of research is encouraged but not required.
Students must write a Master's thesis (6 credit hours) in the primary area of specialization, adhering to the following timetable:
- A provisional thesis topic and committee will be chosen by the end of the first year. The faculty thesis committee consists of three members of which two are normally within the HER concentration. The third may be from inside or outside the department. Optionally, there may be a fourth member.
- A formal written thesis proposal with bibliography must be approved by the student's advisor during the third or fourth semester, before October 15 (or March 15).
- The thesis will be submitted to the committee in the fifth or sixth semester, a minimum of two weeks before the oral defense.
- The oral defense will be scheduled in early April for spring completion (in early November for fall completion) in order to meet University deadlines for final submission of the thesis.
Religion, Ethics, and Philosophy
Hour Requirements: 33 hours or 30 hours, including 6 hours of thesis credit
In consultation with concentration faculty, students will develop a program of thirty credit hours over and above REL5035 (Theory and Method in the Study of Religion). Students must take classes from at least three different REP faculty and no classes taken on an S/U basis can be counted towards REP course requirements.
Reading knowledge of one language of research is required. Classes taken to fulfill this requirement are not counted toward the thirty credit hour requirement for the M.A. degree.
Students may petition REP faculty to write an MA thesis under the supervision of an REP faculty member. If this petition is approved, students will take eight classes in addition to REL 5035, leading to a thesis-based MA degree.
Religions of Western Antiquity
Hour Requirements: 33 hours
Students must take (in addition to REL 5035) at least 24 credit hours in the area of Religions of Western Antiquity (including ancient languages), and 6 hours of electives.
Of these 30 hours (all of which must be taken for a letter grade), no more than 9 hours may be taken outside the Religion Department. Coursework in the area of Western Antiquity may be done in other departments such as Classics and Art History. All RWA MA students must take the proseminars in Hebrew Bible and New Testament offered in alternate spring semesters.
Up to 9 hours of introductory ancient language work (i.e. courses focusing on grammar) may count toward the required M.A. credit hours. Language courses focusing primarily on the translation and interpretation of texts (such as Intermediate Hebrew and advanced courses in Greek and Latin) can be counted as part of the required RWA coursework, but at least 15 hours of the 33 total required hours, must be in courses that do not have a significant translation component.
All coursework needs to be approved by the RWA Faculty (see below).
Hebrew and Greek
Students must complete a third-semester course of Classical Hebrew or Classical Greek and a second semester course of the other.
In addition to the above, students must either: (1) pass the language exam or take the equivalent of a third-semester university course in French or German; (2) take one semester of another ancient language (such as Latin, Aramaic, Syriac, or Coptic); or (3) complete a third–semester course in both Classical Hebrew and Classical Greek.
Upon entering the program, each student will be assigned an advisor from the RWA faculty. At the beginning of each semester, students will discuss possible courses with their advisor and will then submit a list of proposed courses to the RWA faculty for approval. At the end of every spring semester, each student will meet with the RWA faculty as a group to discuss individual plans and progress. Although students will have one advisor for administrative purposes, they are encouraged to discuss their interests and plans with all members of the RWA faculty.