Master of Arts, Religious Studies
Martha Finch, Graduate Director
Strong Hall, Room 273; Phone (417) 836-5893
This program will develop sound knowledge and professional skills in the discipline of Religious Studies, as well as in the broader context of related disciplines in the humanities. The following areas of emphasis are available: South Asian Religions; History of Judaism and Christianity; Biblical Studies; and Religion, Self and Society. Upon completion of the program, students will have acquired a foundation of knowledge, skills and perspectives for working in a variety of vocations where a high degree of versatility in human affairs, knowledge in humanities, and an ability to negotiate among various religious faiths, ideologies and opinions, are required.
- A bachelor's degree in religious studies or a related program in the humanities or social sciences. Some coursework in religious studies is desirable.
- A minimum GPA of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale. Students who do not meet the GPA requirement must take the GRE and normally will be expected to score a minimum of 158 on the verbal section (580 under the old scoring system before August 1, 2011) and a minimum of 300 (1,000 under the old scoring system) on the combined verbal and quantitative sections.
- International applicants are also required to submit a score of not less than 550 on the paper-based, or a comparable score of 213 on the computer-based TOEFL, or demonstrate English language proficiency by other equivalent means with a minimum score of 50 percent on the Listening Comprehension Section.
- 12 hours of foreign language or its equivalent (e.g., passing a proficiency examination administered by the Modern and Classical Languages Department). Applicants not meeting this requirement may be admitted, but must fulfill it before completion of the program.
- Applicants lacking the appropriate qualifications for the program may be admitted but will be required to rectify deficiencies with appropriate course work. Usually these courses will not count toward the master's degree and must be completed before filing an Advisor Approved Program of Study. Students who do not meet the GPA or GRE standards outlined above may be granted admission to the program at the discretion of the General Graduate Advisor.
Accelerated Master's Degree Option
Eligible undergraduate majors in Religious Studies or an equivalent department from an accredited institution may apply for early admission to the Master of Arts in Religious Studies. Once accepted for early admission, students will be able to take up to twelve (12) credit hours at the 600- and 700-level that apply to both their undergraduate and graduate programs. Before enrolling in courses to be counted for both undergraduate and graduate credit, an undergraduate student must be accepted into the accelerated master’s program AND receive prior approval from the General Graduate Advisor, Department Head, and the Graduate College Dean (on a Mixed Credit Form).
- Junior standing, with an overall GPA of 3.4.
- Major in Religious Studies or an equivalent, having completed fifteen hours in the department, including at least six hours at the 300-level or above, with a GPA in the major of 3.5.
- Recommendation by a faculty member in Religious Studies or an equivalent department at another institution.
- Admission by the Graduate Committee of the Department of Religious Studies.
Degree Requirements (minimum of 30 hours)
- Core Requirements - 18 or 21 hours
|Course Code||Course Title||Credit Hours|
|REL 711||Seminar: South Asian Religions||3 hrs|
|REL 731||Seminar: Biblical Studies||3 hrs|
|REL 751||Seminar: History of Judaism and Christianity||3 hrs|
|REL 771||Seminar: Religion, Self, and Society||3 hrs|
All students must take at least one seminar in each of the four areas of emphasis. Students choosing to write a thesis for their research component must take two additional seminars distributed across two of the four areas for a core of 18 hours. Students choosing to create a research portfolio for their research component must take three additional seminars distributed across three of the four areas for a core of 21 hours.
2. Electives. Additional elective hours to total 30 hours. At least six of the hours must be taken in the Religious Studies Department. The student's Advisory Committee must approve these courses.
3. Advisory Committee. Initially each student will be advised by the General Graduate Advisor. As soon as possible, the student will select a faculty member to chair a graduate advisory committee consisting of at least three persons. This committee will supervise the remainder of the candidate's graduate program.
4. Program of Study. The candidate's program will be structured by the Advisory Committee in consultation with the student.
5. Comprehensive Examination. The written and oral comprehensive examination will be administered by the student's Advisory Committee upon the completion of at least 12 hours of course work, normally at the beginning of the third semester. This examination must be passed before the student begins writing a thesis or creating a research portfolio.
6. Research. In addition to completing their course work, students must complete either a thesis or a research portfolio in a manner acceptable to the student's Advisory Committee. Students writing a thesis will enroll in REL 799 for 3 credit hours upon the completion of at least 12 hours of course work, normally at the beginning of the third semester of study. Students will normally take another 3 hours of REL 799 in the following semester to complete the thesis. Either the thesis or research portfolio constitutes the student's research component and will be defended orally before the student's Advisory Committee.