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Master of Arts in Religious Studies

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M.A. Degree Requirements

Concentration

In addition to developing a general competence in the larger field of religious studies, its approaches, and its methods, students craft their programs of study around the following areas of concentration.

  • Indigenous religions
  • Islamic studies
  • Jewish studies
  • Religion in the Ancient Near East and Mediterranean
  • Religion in Asia
  • Religion in the U.S.A.
  • Religious ethics
  • Theories and methods of studying religion
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Degree Requirements with Thesis

The thesis track in religious studies comprises 3 aspects: required course work, comprehensive exam, and thesis.

1. A candidate for this degree must complete 30 graduate credit hours with the following stipulations:

  • (a) At least 18 credit hours must be in courses in religious studies and the rest in fields related to a declared concentration.
  • (b) Course work must include at least 12 hours (four courses) in the declared concentration.
  • (c) Upon completion of 12 hours of course work, the student declares an area of concentration in which an examination eventually will be taken. The student and the adviser determine whether the student will pursue a thesis or a nonthesis track and plan the remaining course work, including the acquisition of relevant linguistic and research skills.
  • (d) Each student must complete REL 601 Approaches to the Study of Religion the first year in the program.
  • (e) Each student must complete REL 780 Seminar in Theories of Religious Experience or REL 781 Seminar in Theories of Religion. The student should complete the prerequisite 12 hours of undergraduate courses in religious studies before taking REL 601, REL 780, or REL 781.
  • (f) Each student must complete one course from each of these groups:

A. Western Religious Traditions

  • REL 515 Studies in Early Christian Literature and History
  • REL 525 Jews and Christians in Greco-Roman Antiquity
  • REL 530 Christian Origins: from the Beginnings to Augustine
  • REL 531 Studies in Christianity
  • REL 532 Studies in Islam
  • REL 535/AAAS 542 The History of Islam in Africa
  • 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

  • REL 507 Religion in India
  • REL 508 Religion in China
  • REL 509 Religion in Japan
  • REL 510 Religion in Korea
  • 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: _____
  • (g) Each student must complete 9 hours in courses numbered 700 or above, excluding REL 800 Readings and REL 899 Thesis. Courses at the 700 level in religious studies are conducted as seminars.

2. Each student must pass a comprehensive examine (with oral and written components) in the declared concentration.

3. Each student must write and successfully defend a thesis that meets minimum department and general requirements. 3 hours in REL 899 Thesis may be credited toward fulfillment of the required 30 credit hours.

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Degree Requirements, Nonthesis

The nonthesis track comprises 2 aspects: required course work and comprehensive examination..

1. A candidate for this degree must complete 33 graduate credit hours with the following stipulations:

  • (a) At least 21 of the 33 graduate hours must be in courses in religious studies and the rest in fields related to a declared concentration.
  • (b) Course work must include at least 12 hours (four courses) in the declared concentration.
  • (c) Upon completion of 12 hours of course work, the student declares an area of concentration in which an examination eventually will be taken. The student and the adviser plan the remaining course work, including the acquisition of relevant linguistic and research skills.
  • (d) Each student must complete REL 601 Approaches to the Study of Religion the first year in the program.
  • (e) Each student must complete REL 780 Seminar in Theories of Religious Experience or REL 781 Seminar in Theories of Religion.
  • (f) Each student must complete 1 course from each of these groups:

A. Western Religious Traditions

  • REL 515 Studies in Early Christian Literature and History
  • REL 525 Jews and Christians in Greco-Roman Antiquity
  • REL 530 Christian Origins: from the Beginnings to Augustine
  • REL 531 Studies in Christianity
  • REL 532 Studies in Islam
  • REL 535/AAAS 542 The History of Islam in Africa
  • 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

  • REL 507 Religion in India
  • REL 508 Religion in China
  • REL 509 Religion in Japan
  • REL 510 Religion in Korea
  • 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: _____
  • (g) Each student must complete 9 hours in courses numbered 700 or above, excluding REL 800 Readings and REL 899 Thesis. Courses at the 700 level in religious studies are conducted as seminars.

2. Each student must pass a comprehensive exam (with oral and written components) in the declared concentration.

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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 Graduate Studies policy on graduate credit, including transfer credit.) 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 adviser 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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