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Religious Studies

Religious Studies

Location

Location

  • School of Religious Studies
  • William and Henry Birks Building
  • 3520 University Street
  • Montreal QC H3A 2A7
  • Telephone: 514-398-4121
  • Website: mcgill.ca/religiousstudies

About Religious Studies

About Religious Studies

The School of Religious Studies offers programs leading to the degrees of:

  • Master of Arts (M.A.) (Thesis and Non-Thesis)
  • Master of Arts (M.A.) (Thesis) with specialization in Bioethics
  • Master of Arts (M.A.) (Thesis) with option in Gender and Women’s Studies
  • Master of Sacred Theology (S.T.M.)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) with option in Gender and Women's Studies

The areas of graduate specializations of our School are:

  • Buddhism
  • Christian History and Theology
  • Catholic Studies
  • Early Judaism
  • Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies
  • Hinduism
  • Interfaith Studies
  • New Testament Studies
  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Religious Ethics
  • Religion and Globalization
  • Religion and Modernity
  • Religion and the Public Sphere
  • Sociology of Islam

The many different areas of research interest among members of the School frequently require the hiring of graduate students as research assistants. The School also seeks to train young scholars in the art of lecturing/teaching; to this end, it has created opportunities for Ph.D. students to teach courses and permits M.A. and Ph.D. students to work as teaching assistants. The individual programs are described below.

Adequate library and study facilities are available in the William and Henry Birks Building and elsewhere in the University for the courses listed and for research.

Language Requirements

The School of Religious Studies offers courses in primary text source languages, such as Biblical Hebrew, Ancient Greek, Aramaic, Sanskrit, and classical literary Tibetan. The School relies upon other McGill units for instruction in languages other than those mentioned above.

  • M.A.
    Students are required to give their area committee evidence of reading knowledge of a scholarly language other than English. This language may be either a modern language in which there is a significant amount of scholarship relevant to the student's area of research, or a classical language relevant to the student's area of research. If a classical language is chosen, it must be in addition to any prerequisite language for the area in question.
    Note: The M.A. with specialization in Bioethics is exempted; language requirements, if any, will be determined in the process of supervision.
  • Ph.D.

    Students are required to give their area committee evidence of reading knowledge of two languages other than English. These languages must be chosen from modern languages in which there is a significant amount of scholarship relevant to the student's area of research or classical languages relevant to the student's area of research.

    Research in some disciplines, or on certain thesis topics, may require proficiency in more than two languages besides English. In that case, additional language requirements may be stipulated by the supervisor.

  • S.T.M. (Master of Sacred Theology)

    The S.T.M. program has no additional language requirement.

Master of Arts (M.A.) Religious Studies (Thesis) (45 credits)

The purpose of the M.A. (Thesis) degree is to encourage advanced study and research in one of the disciplines of Religious Studies for those who wish to become scholars or teachers, or will be engaged in some field of religious or public service. The M.A. (Thesis) program in Religious Studies offers a specialization in Bioethics and an option in Gender and Women's Studies.

Master of Arts (M.A.) Religious Studies (Thesis): Bioethics (45 credits)

The M.A. (Thesis) with specialization in Bioethics is offered in conjunction with the Bioethics Unit. Please contact the School of Religious Studies or Bioethics Unit for more information about this specialization. The curriculum is composed of required courses (6 credits) offered in the Biomedical Ethics Unit, Bioethics courses (6 credit minimum) offered by the base faculty or department, and any graduate course required or accepted by a base faculty for the granting of a master’s degree, for a total of 21 credits. A minimum of 45 credits is required including the thesis.

Master of Arts (M.A.) Religious Studies (Thesis): Gender and Women’s Studies (45 credits)

The graduate option in Gender and Women’s Studies is an interdisciplinary program for students who meet degree requirements in Religious Studies (and other participating academic units and faculties) and who wish to focus on gender-related issues and feminist research and methodologies. Research focus is on a topic relating to gender issues or women’s studies.

Master of Arts (M.A.) Religious Studies (Non-Thesis) (45 credits)

The M.A. without thesis is intended to ensure a student's well-rounded exposure to several religions and to several of the disciplinary approaches currently used in their academic study. Particular to this program is its ability to provide the student with the opportunity to develop three different research papers with reference to the student’s own interests in Religious Studies, under the supervision of professors from various parts of the University.

Master of Sacred Theology (S.T.M.) Religious Studies (Non-Thesis) (45 credits)

The S.T.M. is meant for those who intend to enter the ministry of the Christian Church or another religious institution, or proceed to a teaching career or to some form of social work. This degree enables students to specialize in one area or discipline of theological study before or after the third year of the M.Div. and is unique in Canada. The S.T.M. program is fully accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the U.S. and Canada.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Religious Studies

The purpose of the Ph.D. program is to engage students in advanced academic studies normally in preparation for an academic career. The community of graduate scholars in this program is engaged in a broad spectrum of critical research involving any number of interdisciplinary approaches conducted on a number of different religious traditions. The faculty members are committed to the training of teaching scholars, making the School of Religious Studies one of few schools that prioritizes offering graduate students opportunities under faculty supervision to teach/lecture during their time in the program.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Religious Studies: Gender and Women’s Studies

The graduate option in Gender and Women's Studies is an interdisciplinary program for students meeting the degree requirements in Religious Studies who wish to focus on gender-related issues and feminist research and methodologies. Research focuses on a topic relating to gender issues or women’s studies.

Programs, Courses and University Regulations—2024-2025 (last updated Mar. 15, 2024) (disclaimer)

Religious Studies Admission Requirements and Application Procedures

Religious Studies Admission Requirements and Application Procedures

Admission Requirements

Admission Requirements

Master of Arts (M.A.) Thesis

Applicants must possess a B.A. with a Major or Honours in Religious Studies or a Bachelor of Theology (B.Th.), or a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree, normally with a minimum CGPA of 3.3/4.0 (B+) from an accredited university or college. Applicants with fewer than 30 appropriate credits in Religious Studies or Theology are normally required to complete a Qualifying program before entering the M.A.

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Religious Studies (Thesis) – Gender and Women’s Studies Option

Applicants must possess a B.A. with a Major or Honours in Religious Studies, a Bachelor of Theology (B.Th.), or a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree, normally with a minimum CGPA of 3.3/4.0 (B+) from an accredited university or college. Applicants with fewer than 30 appropriate credits in Religious Studies or Theology are normally required to complete a Qualifying program before entering the M.A.

Master of Arts (M.A.) (Thesis) in Religious Studies with Specialization in Bioethics

For information contact the Chair, Master's Specialization in Bioethics, Biomedical Ethics Unit, at:

  • 3690 Peel Street
  • Montreal QC H3A 1W9
  • Telephone: 514-398-6980
  • Fax: 514-398-8349
  • Email: jennifer.fishman [at] mcgill.ca
  • Website: mcgill.ca/biomedicalethicsunit

Master of Arts (M.A.) (Non-Thesis)

Applicants must possess a B.A. with a Major or Honours in Religious Studies or a Bachelor of Theology (B.Th.), or a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree, normally with a minimum CGPA of 3.3/4.0 (B+) from an accredited university or college. Applicants with fewer than 30 appropriate credits in Religious Studies or Theology are normally required to complete a Qualifying program before entering the M.A.

Master of Sacred Theology (S.T.M.)

Applicants must possess a B.A., normally with at least a good second-class standing (B+ or CGPA 3.3/4.0), in a major or honours program in Religious Studies or Theology from an accredited university or college. Those who have a McGill B.Th. or an equivalent degree in addition to a B.A. degree with a second-class standing may be admitted to the second year of the S.T.M. program.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Entry into the doctoral program is limited to applicants who have earned an academic master's degree in Religious Studies or Theology in a recognized graduate program, or those who have finished the course requirements of such a program with a minimum CGPA of 3.5/4.0.

Advanced Standing (Ph.D. 2) may be granted if the completed master's-level work, including a thesis, is in the same area as that of the intended doctoral specialization and involves at least six (6) courses (18 credits).

It is recommended that a foreign language related to the area of study be included in the bachelor's or master's work preceding doctoral study.

Applicants for doctoral programs are requested to submit a substantial sample of their scholarly writing (maximum 30 pages) with their application. The application should specify one of the specializations listed in About Religious Studies.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Religious Studies – Gender and Women’s Studies Option

Entry into the doctoral program is limited to applicants who have earned an academic master's degree in Religious Studies or Theology in a recognized graduate program, or those who have finished the course requirements of such a program with a minimum CGPA of 3.5/4.0.

Advanced Standing (Ph.D. 2) may be granted if the completed master's-level work, including a thesis, is in the same area as that of the intended doctoral specialization and involves at least six (6) courses (18 credits).

It is recommended that a foreign language related to the area of study be included in the bachelor's or master's work preceding doctoral study.

Applicants for doctoral programs are requested to submit a substantial sample of their scholarly writing (maximum 30 pages) with their application. The application should specify one of the specializations listed in About Religious Studies.

English Language Proficiency

For graduate applicants whose mother tongue is not English, and who have not completed an undergraduate or graduate degree from a recognized Canadian or American (English or French) institution or from a recognized foreign institution where English is the language of instruction, documented proof of English proficiency is required prior to admission. For a list of acceptable test scores and minimum requirements, visit mcgill.ca/gradapplicants/international/proficiency.

Application Procedures

Application Procedures

McGill’s online application form for graduate program candidates is available at mcgill.ca/gradapplicants/apply.

See University Regulations & Resources > Graduate > Graduate Admissions and Application Procedures > Application Procedures for detailed application procedures.

Additional Requirements

Additional Requirements

The items and clarifications below are additional requirements set by this department:

  • Personal Statement – approximately 500 words
  • Written Work – recent academic writing, maximum 30 pages.

Application Dates and Deadlines

Application Dates and Deadlines

Application opening dates are set by Enrolment Services in consultation with Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (GPS), while application deadlines are set by the School of Religious Studies and may be revised at any time. Applicants must verify all deadlines and documentation requirements well in advance on the appropriate McGill departmental website; please consult the list at mcgill.ca/gps/contact/graduate-program.

Information on application deadlines is available at mcgill.ca/gradapplicants/how-apply/application-steps/application-deadlines.

Admission to graduate studies is competitive; accordingly, late and/or incomplete applications are considered only as time and space permit.

Programs, Courses and University Regulations—2024-2025 (last updated Mar. 15, 2024) (disclaimer)

Master of Arts (M.A.) Religious Studies (Thesis) (45 credits)

The Master of Arts (M.A.) in Religious Studies is a research-intensive program that emphasizes tailored and intensive learning opportunities. The program focuses on skills in critical thinking, literature review, and scientific communication.

For more information, see Master of Arts (M.A.) Religious Studies (Thesis) (45 credits).

Master of Arts (M.A.) Religious Studies (Thesis): Bioethics (45 credits)

The Master of Arts (M.A.) in Religious Studies; Bioethics is offered in collaboration with the Biomedical Ethics Unit. The program focuses on the conceptual frameworks and tools to address fundamental questions about life and the interventions by healthcare in research, policy and practice. The program includes a thesis and practicum on bioethics.

For more information, see Master of Arts (M.A.) Religious Studies (Thesis): Bioethics (45 credits).

Master of Arts (M.A.) Religious Studies (Thesis): Gender and Women’s Studies (45 credits)

The Master of Arts (M.A.) Religious Studies; Gender and Women’s Studies focuses on cross-disciplinary studies in feminist, women's, and gender studies. The Thesis must focus on research on gender-related issues and feminist research and methodologies.

For more information, see Master of Arts (M.A.) Religious Studies (Thesis): Gender and Women’s Studies (45 credits).

Master of Arts (M.A.) Religious Studies (Non-Thesis) (45 credits)

The Master of Arts (M.A.) in Religious Studies; Non- Thesis Is a course-based program that emphasizes engaging and innovative learning opportunities. It focuses on skills in resourceful thinking, academic writing, and communication.

For more information, see Master of Arts (M.A.) Religious Studies (Non-Thesis) (45 credits).

Master of Sacred Theology (S.T.M.) Religious Studies (Non-Thesis) (45 credits)

The Master of Sacred Theology (S.T.M.); Non-Thesis is a course-based program that emphasizes intensive and scholarly learning opportunities. The program focuses on skills in literature review, information synthesis, and resourceful thinking. The program is approved by the Association of Theological Schools in the U.S. and Canada. ...

For more information, see Master of Sacred Theology (S.T.M.) Religious Studies (Non-Thesis) (45 credits).

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Religious Studies

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Religious Studies: Gender and Women’s Studies

Faculty of Arts—2024-2025 (last updated Mar. 15, 2024) (disclaimer)
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