We have prepared a Graduate Student Handbook for easy reference in one document.
Admission and Progression Requirements, and all Program Requirements can also be found in the Graduate Catalog.
PROGRAM OF STUDY
Our graduate faculty possesses expertise in the subjects of religion in the United States, ancient Mediterranean religions, Judaism and Christianity from their origins to their roles in contemporary cultures, Buddhism, Islam, African American religions, “new religions,” media and religion, and the critical roles played by social factors such as race, gender, class, and politics in the study and practice of religion. Faculty members are also well versed in queer theory, social theory, literary theory, historiography, and psychoanalysis.
APPLYING TO THE PROGRAM
*The Department will be offering waivers for the application fee to the first 10 applicants during the 2020-21 academic year. Please contact program director Kent Brintnall (firstname.lastname@example.org) for the waiver code.
The Graduate School application package is completely electronic. Their staff oversees and administers the application and all of its component parts. Please do not mail or forward any application materials to the Department of Religious Studies. The Department of Religious Studies will only view and assess complete applications once the Graduate School has received and processed all of its component parts.
The application package must include: (1) an electronic application form submitted to the Graduate School accompanied by the application fee; (2) official transcripts of all previous academic work attempted beyond high school; (3) official agency reports of test scores on the GRE or M.A.T. (these must be less than five years old)*; (4) at least three letters of reference from persons familiar with the applicant's academic qualifications (these too must be less than five years old); and (5) an essay (statement of purpose) that addresses the applicant’s motivation for pursuing the M.A. in religious studies, with some discussion of the applicant’s research interests and professional goals.
*Because testing centers are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are currently waiving the requirement of submitting GRE scores with applications to the M.A. program.
The deadlines for applications are May 1 (for the following fall semester) and October 1 (for the following spring semester). Those wishing to be considered for financial aid and scholarships must fill out a FAFSA and should have their spring applications in no later than April 1.
The Master of Arts in Religious Studies requires the completion, with a GPA of 3.0 or above, of a minimum of 30 semester hours of approved graduate coursework. At least 15 hours of this total must be in courses open only to graduate students (i.e., at the 6000 level or higher). Students have two options for completing their degree. First, students may complete an MA Thesis option that consists of 24 hours of coursework and 6 hours of thesis work. Second, students may complete a comprehensive examination option, consisting of 30 hours of coursework and comprehensive examinations in three areas. All degree requirements must be completed within six calendar years of first enrollment in the program. For more information, consult UNC-Charlotte's Catalogue.
All M.A. candidates must complete RELS 6101 (Approaches to the Study of Religion) and RELS 6102 (Teaching in Religious Studies and the Humanities) with a grade of B (3.0) or above within two semesters of their initial admission into the program. Check out our upcoming course listings here.
Special Features of the Program
- Small classes, seminars, and directed studies guarantee personal attention and facilitate interaction with peers and faculty.
- The endowed Loy H. Witherspoon Lectures in Religious Studies and the Alice Tate Lectures in Judaic Studies introduce students annually to at least two internationally renowned scholars.
- The Carol Douglas Religious Studies Endowment provides funds to support special projects for the students, faculty, and community.
- Opportunities for involvement in the archaeological aspects of biblical studies through licensed excavations in Israel and adjacent regions are available via Dig Mount Zion.
- The departmental Cuneiform Studies Laboratory houses research tools and a small reference library of specialist resources for the use of students interested in Near Eastern religions, languages, and literatures.
A limited number of graduate assistantships are available. Assistantships are awarded on the basis of ability and experience.
For more information regarding admission requirements or other aspects of the program not addressed in the foregoing description or other parts of this website, please contact: