Aug 15, 2022  
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog 
    
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog

Religious Studies, M.A.


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Return to: 3510 Department of Religious Studies  

The Religious Studies department’s scholarship and programming strive to inform conversations on religion and civic life, with an emphasis on issues of race, sexuality, workforce diversity, and social change. As a department in Atlanta, a city that is religiously diverse and social justice oriented, we encourage the public, fellow scholars, and our students to think differently about religion, specifically regarding how religion plays out in day-to-day life outside institutional walls, by engaging with community partners and to be conscious consumers of culture and participants in civil society.

The Department of Religious Studies offers a Masters of Arts in Religious Studies that trains students in a range of world religious traditions and theoretical perspectives. The work of our faculty and graduate students advances the academic understanding of how religion informs and shapes public life, with particular attention to religious diversity in political, scientific, media, non-profit, health care, and educational settings. The department offers four programs of study: a thesis track, a course work intensive track, the M.A. with a Concentration in Nonprofit Management, and the M.A. with a Concentration in Religion and Aging. These programs serve different student populations, including students preparing to enter doctoral programs and those wishing to enter careers.

Students who plan to seek a Ph.D. in the field are strongly encouraged to discuss their intentions with the Religious Studies faculty as soon as possible so that a course of study can be determined to prepare them for doctoral work. Students wishing to enter particular professions are encouraged to discuss their goals with the Graduate Director early in their program of study.

Applicants may obtain additional information about the Department of Religious Studies by contacting the Director of Graduate Studies.

Additional Admissions Requirements and Process-M.A. Programs

In addition to the general requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of Religious Studies has the following requirements:

  1. Three letters of recommendation addressing the ability of the student to undertake graduate study.
  2. A sample of their written work that demonstrates their academic abilities, including research.

Admissions Requirements-M.A. with Concentration Programs

Applicants must meet the admission requirements of Master’s degree-seeking students in terms of test scores, transcripts, the application fee, forms, and goals statement. Admission may occur in one of two ways: (1) A candidate may apply to both the Graduate Certificate and the M.A. Program in Religious Studies simultaneously. Admission to the concentration is dependent on admission to both programs; or (2) a candidate may initially apply and be admitted to the M.A. in Religious Studies program. During the first year in that program, that student may apply to the Graduate Certificate program. Once admitted, students will complete the Certificate requirements as outlined below. The requirements for the Graduate Certificate are accepted as electives toward the M.A. in Religious Studies. At the end of two years, a student will graduate with:

  • M.A. in Religious Studies with a Concentration in Nonprofit Management from the College of Arts and Sciences and a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies; or
  • M.A. in Religious Studies with a Concentration in Religion and Aging and a Graduate Certificate in Gerontology from the College of Arts and Sciences.

Degree Requirements


Thesis Option


  1. Minimum of twenty-four hours of non-thesis course work.
  2. Distribution requirements:
    • Theory and methods requirement: RELS 8200 - Pro-seminar in Advanced Theory and Method
    • Religion and Public Life requirement (12 hours). Four courses in the Study of Religion OR Religion, Race, and Change OR Religion, Gender, and Sexuality, OR Religion, Health and Humanity. Courses must be distributed among all three areas of study.
    • Applied Religious Studies requirement (3 hours): RELS 6789 Applied Religious Studies: Internships, Projects, and Papers
    • Two additional graduate-level electives from either Religious Studies or affiliated courses to bring the total to twenty-four hours. See the list below for affiliated courses.
  3. At least six hours of RELS 8999  
  4. A thesis
  5. An oral thesis defense  

Course Work Intensive Option


  1. Minimum of thirty-six hours of non-thesis course work.
  2. Distribution requirements:
    • Theory and methods requirement: RELS 8200 - Pro-seminar in Advanced Theory and Method  
    • Religion and Public Life requirement (12 hours). Four courses in the Study of Religion OR Religion, Race, and Change OR Religion, Gender, and Sexuality, OR Religion, Health and Humanity. Courses must be distributed among all three areas of study.
    • Applied Religious Studies requirement (3 hours): RELS 6789  Applied Religious Studies: Internships, Projects, and Papers 
    • Six additional graduate-level electives from either Religious Studies or affiliated courses to bring the total to 36 hours. See the list below for affiliated courses.
    • A paper that reflects graduate level research and writing in fulfillment of the College of Arts and Sciences degree requirement. A committee of at least three members of the faculty will pass on the acceptability of the paper or project. Two-thirds of the committee must indicate approval. This approval must be submitted in writing to the Office of Graduate Services by the appropriate deadline (cas.gsu.edu/graduate-studies/admissions/application-deadlines/).

Sample of Courses by Distribution Area


An up-to-date list of courses by distribution area is available on the Department’s website under “Resources.”

Religion, Gender, and Sexuality


Additional Notes for MA Program


  1. All MA students must earn a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better in their first semester and maintain a 3.2 in subsequent semesters. Students who fail to meet these requirements will be scholastically terminated from the Religious Studies program.
  2. Graduate assistants are required to enroll in a minimum of 12 credit hours each for the fall/spring semesters and 9 credit hours for the summer semester. These credit hours will consist of courses required for the prescribed program of study, as well as additional hours of the courses outlined in the notes below.
  3. Students must register for RELS 8960 - Research in Religious Studies  while they are appointed as a GRA, GTA, and/or GLA.
  4. Students who are appointed as a GTA B must successfully complete RELS 8970 - Teaching Religious Studies  prior to their appointment, and they must enroll in RELS 8980 - Teaching Practicum  in their first semester as a GTA B. They must enroll in RELS 8985 - Advanced Teaching Practicum in Religious Studies  in subsequent semesters as a GTA B.
  5. RELS 8970 , RELS 8980 , RELS 8985  Teaching Internship hours cannot be applied to the 36-hour prescribed program of study for the MA degree.

Affiliated Courses


Most students will concentrate their coursework within the Religious Studies Department. (See course listings under Religious Studies later in this catalog.) Other departments and programs within Georgia State University also offer courses directly bearing on the academic study of religion. With the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies, students may apply up to two courses (6 credit hours) offered in other units to their degree in Religious Studies.

Restrictions


  1. Only six hours of credit transferred from another institution may be applied towards the Georgia State M.A.
  2. Of the hours taken at Georgia State and applied toward the M.A, no more than six hours may be from outside the Department of Religious Studies.

World Language Competencies


Depending upon their area(s) of concentration, students who wish to go on to pursue a Ph.D. in Religious Studies may need to initiate or complete studies in a particular language or languages before beginning doctoral studies. Students are urged to consult with their advisers for advice and direction concerning language competencies.

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