MA Religious Studies
MA Religious Studies
Home to one of the first graduate programs in Religious Studies in Canada (established in 1964), McMaster University has been a leading centre for the scholarly study of religion for more than four decades.
The department has three graduate fields of study (Asian, Judaism & Christianity in Antiquity, and Western) and research is conducted in a range of topics and traditions, time periods and cultures, employing a wide variety of approaches: textual, ethnographic, historical, philosophical, theological, philological.
About the Program
New for Fall 2023, the Department of Religious Studies is introducing a one-year MA program. This option will allow students to pursue further studies within Religious Studies beyond the BA, earn an advanced degree, and prepare students to enter into a variety of careers within a one-year timeframe. The two-year MA will continue and will allow additional time for those students who wish to pursue more in-depth research and language training, particularly for the purpose of pursuing a doctorate. Please see below Requirements and Timelines for each respective MA program.
Program Requirements and Timelines
A candidate for the MA degree will be required to spend at least one calendar year in full-time graduate study or the equivalent in part-time study. There are three routes to the MA: the two-year thesis route, the two-year project route, and the one-year major research paper route. In consultation with a supervisor, an MA student must choose among these options by January 30 of the year of initial registration as a graduate student.
The application deadline for Fall 2023 has been extended to March 1, 2023.
1-Year Master of Arts
Master of Arts with Major Research Paper (MRP)
The MRP route entails the following requirements:
2-Year Master of Arts
Master of Arts with Project
The project route entails the following requirements:
Master of Arts with Thesis
The thesis route entails the following requirements:
Admissions and Applications
The application portal opens on November 15th and closes on January 15th. If the date falls on the weekend, the portal will close on the following business day.
Learn more about the graduate studies application process and how to apply.
The normal minimum requirement for admission to MA study is graduation with B+ standing (in the final two years) in an Honours program or equivalent in Religious Studies, or in a related discipline with significant emphasis on the study of religion. Related disciplines include Anthropology, Sociology, History, Philosophy, Theology, Political Science, Classics, and Near Eastern, South Asian, and East Asian studies. Graduates with preparation in related fields may be required to take a certain amount of undergraduate work in Religious Studies.
Admission is competitive; applicants who meet minimum requirements are not guaranteed admission.
All applications for admission must be completed online. Please visit the School of Graduate Studies website for detailed how to apply information:
The following items are required before your online application will be considered complete:
- Statement of Interest. Please include in your statement of interest (500-700 words) a description of your intended area of research, as well as information on your academic background and proficiency in foreign languages, detailing the relevant courses you have taken, levels at which they were taken, and the grades that you received for them
- Two academic references
- Official Transcripts
- English Language Proficiency
- Writing Sample (an essay or thesis chapter)
Financial Information, Scholarships and Awards
- See all awards and funding on the School of Graduate Studies website.
- BDK Canada Graduate Scholarship: Scholarship for graduate students in Buddhist Studies to spend a year in Japan.
Apply to an MA in Religious Studies
Religious Studies Courses
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