MA in Religious Studies

The information found on this web-page is intended to complement rather than substitute information contained in the University Calendar. In the event that there is a discrepancy the University of Alberta Calendar is the final authority.

Admission Requirements

To enter the program, applicants must have a BA degree in Religious Studies from an accredited institution or the equivalent, namely 30 credits in Religious Studies courses at the senior level (at the University of Alberta, the 200-level or above) with a minimum GPA of 3.3 on the four-point scale, over the last two years of post-secondary work. Students whose first language is other than English must have passed the TOEFL exam with a score of 580, or the IELTS Academic.

Degrees in theology are not considered as equivalent to a degree in Religious Studies, although some courses taken as part of such degrees may be deemed by the Graduate Committee to count as Religious Studies courses. Similarly, courses with Religious Studies content, taken in other disciplines, will normally be considered as Religious Studies courses.

Students who do not meet the requirements may be admitted as qualifying students. A qualifying student is one who is required to take courses in Religious Studies before entering the MA program. The number of courses and subject areas will be determined by the Program's Graduate Coordinator. Qualifying students are not eligible for consideration of funding until they have cleared their qualifying status.

Program requirements

Students are required to complete 18* credits of course work at the MA level, including RELIG 575 (Contemporary Theories of Religion), as determined by the supervisor in consultation with the candidate and the Graduate Coordinator of Religious Studies. Courses may include Religious Studies (RELIG) courses, courses offered by other departments and programs with Religious Studies content or courses offered by other departments and programs with a theoretical or intellectual bearing on the student's particular area of research. A complete list of available courses may be found on Beartracks. For a list of graduate courses offered by other Departments which count towards the Religious Studies graduate Program, please contact the Graduate Coordinator in Religious Studies. Upon completion of the required courses, the candidate must write an MA thesis (9* credits), approximately 100 pages in length. The Program does not offer a course-based MA.

Students must be able to demonstrate reading competence in a language relevant to their particular research topic. This requirement may be fulfilled by taking a requisite number of courses in a particular language or through an oral or written examination. In the case of some modern languages, such as French and German, courses in academic reading for graduate students are offered by the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies. Please access their website here for further details.

A supervisor, assigned to each student by the Graduate Coordinator in consultation with the student, will advise the MA candidate on all aspects of his or her academic progress, including the preparation of the thesis.

The examining committee for MA theses consists of a minimum of three professors, including the supervisor and a faculty member who is outside the Religious Studies program.