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Religious Studies Graduate Program

M.A. Degree Requirements

The department offers thesis and non-thesis M.A. options. The requirements for these are:

1. 30 (thesis) or 33 (non-thesis) graduate credit hours, which must include the following:

            (a) REL 601 (3 hrs)

(b) Three graduate seminars (courses numbered 700 or above, excluding REL 800 and REL 899), of which two must be chosen from the following set of theory and method-oriented seminars (9 hrs).

REL 727

Seminar in Religion, Text and Textuality


REL 737

Seminar in Religion, Media and Performance


REL 747

Seminar in Religion, Society and Social Change


REL 757

Seminar in Religious Subjectivity, Experience, and Narrative


REL 767

Seminar in Theory, Method, and History in Religious Studies


(c) One course focusing on Western Religious Traditions and one course focusing on Non-Western Religious Traditions (see Table below). (6 hrs)

(d) At least 12 hours (4 courses) in an articulated concentration of the student’s own design. These courses may overlap with those in (b) and (c) above.

            (e) For thesis students, 1-3 credit hours of REL 899 Thesis.

(f) A total of at least 18 (thesis) or 21 (non-thesis) graduate credit hours in Religious Studies, including (a)–(e) above, plus electives if applicable. Remaining hours may be taken outside of the department.

2. A final examination:

(a) For the thesis option, the student must write and orally defend a thesis that meets minimum department and University requirements.

(b) For the non-thesis option, the student must produce and orally defend a research portfolio.

Graduate Handbook: Further information on fulfillment of degree requirements and other department and University policies and procedures can be found in the Department of Religious Studies Graduate Handbook, available on the graduate handbook webpage.

Approved Courses for Requirement 1(c):

A. Western Religious Traditions


Select one of the following:


REL 515

Studies in Early Christian Literature and History


REL 525

Jews and Christians


REL 530

Christian Origins: from the Beginnings to Augustine


REL 531

Studies in Christianity


REL 532

Studies in Islam


REL 557

Modern Islamic Reform Movements


REL 560

Modern Jewish Thought


REL 570

Studies in Judaism


REL 732

Seminar in Western Religious Texts: _____


REL 761

Seminar in Western Religious Thought: _____


REL 775

Seminar in Religion and Society in the West: _____


B. Non-Western Religious Traditions


Select one of the following:


REL 507

Religion in India


REL 508

Religion in China


REL 509

Religion in Japan


REL 510

Religion in Korea


REL 541

Gods and Goddesses of South Asia


REL 543

Hindu Epics, Past and Present


REL 545

Yoga in Theory, Practice, and History


REL 555

Buddhists and Buddhism in China


REL 733

Seminar in Eastern Religious Texts: _____


REL 762

Seminar in Eastern Religious Thought: _____


REL 776

Seminar in Religion and Society in Asia: _____


Transfer of Credit

Transfer of graduate credit is allowed, including study abroad course credit, from other accredited institutions, up to a total of 6 hours. (View the policy on graduate credit, including transfer credit in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog. Bachelor’s degree graduates from KU are permitted to transfer 8 hours. The hours may be used only when the M.A. is completed within 6 years of the time the credit was given. Application for transfer must be made by the student and the advisor to the committee on graduate studies. Normally, such applications are not made until after 12 hours of KU course work have been completed. If the committee approves, applications are forwarded for approval.


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