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Honours Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies (Hons.B.A.)Degree Details

Length:
4 years
Required Credential:
Completion of any Level I program with a Grade Point Average of 5.0 (C) including an average of at least 5.0 (C) in six units of Religious Studies courses, preferably including one Level 1 Religious Studies course.
Program Type:
Thesis, Course Based
Program Options:
Full-time, Part-time

Combined Honours in Religious Studies and Another Subject (Hons.B.A.)Degree Details

Length:
4 years
Required Credential:
Completion of any Level I program Grade Point Average of 5.0 (C) including an average of at least 5.0 (C) in six units of Religious Studies courses, preferably including one Level 1 Religious Studies course.
Program Type:
Thesis, Course Based
Program Options:
Full-time, Part-time

Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies (B.A.)Degree Details

Length:
3 years
Required Credential:
Completion of any Level 1 program with a Grade Point Average of 3.5 (C-) and an average of at least 4.0 (C-) in six units of Religious Studies courses, preferably including one Level 1 Religious Studies course.
Program Type:
Course Based
Program Options:
Full-time, Part-time

Minor in Religious Studies (Minor)Degree Details

Length:
N/A
Required Credential:
Enrolment in an Honours program in another discipline.
Program Type:
Course Based
Program Options:
Full-time, Part-time

Minor in Japanese Studies (Minor)Degree Details

Length:
N/A
Required Credential:
Enrolment in an Honours program.
Program Type:
Course Based
Program Options:
Full-time, Part-time

Minor in Jewish Studies (Minor)Degree Details

Length:
N/A
Required Credential:
Enrolment in an Honours program.
Program Type:
Course Based
Program Options:
Full-time, Part-time

Minor in Religion and Diversity (Minor)Degree Details

Length:
N/A
Required Credential:
Enrolment in an Honours program.
Program Type:
Course Based
Program Options:
Full-time, Part-time

Interdisciplinary Minor in Muslim Studies (Minor)Degree Details

Length:
N/A
Required Credential:
Enrolment in an Honours program.
Program Type:
Course based
Program Options:
Full-time, Part-time

Master of Arts in Religious Studies (M.A.)Degree Details

Length:
2 years
Required Credential:
Graduation with B+ standing (in the final two years) in an Honours programme or equivalent in Religious Studies, or in a related discipline with significant emphasis on the study of religion
Program Type:
Thesis, Project Based
Program Options:
Full-time, Part-time

Doctor of Philosophy in Religious Studies (Ph.D.)Degree Details

Length:
4 years
Required Credential:
Completed the M.A. Degree
Program Type:
Thesis
Program Options:
Full-time, Part-time

Hons.B.A.Honours Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies

The BA Honours program offers students a deeper understanding of the discipline of Religious Studies and the subfields of Asian religious traditions, Biblical Studies, and the Western religious traditions, including Islam, Christianity and Judaism. In Canada's multicultural society and an increasingly globalized world, a strong grounding in critical thought and analysis is essential to navigating and understanding a variety of religious issues across cultures.

Asian Religious Traditions

The Department of Religious Studies offers courses in the Area of Asian Religions, with special focus on the following three topics:

  • Buddhism
  • Indian religions
  • East Asian religions

The full-time faculty who teach courses in this Area are Drs. James Benn, Shayne Clarke, and Mark Rowe.

Religious Studies Honours and Combined Honours students are eligible to enroll in the Level IV seminar in this Area (RS 4H03), which is offered every 1-2 years. The topic varies from year to year. The seminar is taught by full-time faculty on a topic related to their research interests and allows students a chance for discussion-based learning in a small seminar setting.

Religious Studies Honours and Combined Honours students who are interested in writing a Thesis (RS 4R06) should contact one of the above listed faculty members in advance of enrollment in Level IV.

Students interested in this Area are encouraged to begin language training in Sanskrit and/or Japanese. Sanskrit classes are administered through the Department of Religious Studies (see calendar listing). For Japanese, please see the course offerings in the Department of Languages and Linguistics.

Biblical Studies

The Department of Religious Studies offers courses in the Area of Biblical Studies covering the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, New Testament, Early Judaism, and Early Christianity.

Courses in this Area fall into three basic categories:

  • Hebrew Bible and Early Judaism
  • New Testament and Early Christianity
  • Thematic Courses

Students wishing to specialize in the Biblical Area are encouraged to begin language training in Greek and/or Hebrew. Hebrew classes are administered through the Department of Religious Studies (see calendar listing). For Greek courses, please see the course offerings in the Department of Classics.

The full-time faculty who teach courses in this Area are Drs. Philippa Carter, Dan Machiela, Matthew Thiessen, Stephen Westerholm, and Peter Widdicombe

Religious Studies Honours and Combined Honours students are eligible to enroll in the Level IV seminar in this Area (RS 4I03), which is offered every 1-2 years. The topic varies from year to year. The seminar is taught by full-time faculty on a topic related to their research interests and allows students a chance for discussion-based learning in a small seminar setting.

Religious Studies Honours and Combined Honours students who are interested in writing a Thesis (RS 4R06) should contact one of the above listed faculty members in advance of enrollment in Level IV.

Western Religious Thought

Courses in this Area cover Christian thought from all historical periods, Jewish history and philosophy, and Islam as well as the encounter between religious thought and modernity.

  • Christian Thought
  • Jewish History and Philosophy
  • Islam
  • Thematic courses

The full-time faculty who teach courses in this area are Drs. Ellen BadoneDana HollanderTravis KroekerZdravko PlanincCelia RothenbergLiyakat Takim and Peter Widdicombe.

Religious Studies Honours and Combined Honours students are eligible to enroll in the Level IV seminar in this Area (RS 4N03), which is offered every 1-2 years. The topic varies from year to year. The seminar is taught by full-time faculty on a topic related to their research interests and allows students a chance for discussion-based learning in a small seminar setting.

Religious Studies Honours and Combined Honours students who are interested in writing a Thesis (RS 4R06) should contact one of the above listed faculty members in advance of enrollment in Level IV.

Religion & Culture

An exciting and diverse array of courses in the Religion and Culture area are available to students. Courses are typically focused on contemporary experiences from a variety of religious viewpoints. A number of courses focus on the intersection of religion and the body, such as religious experiences and teachings about death and dying, health and healing, and gender. Courses on pilgrimage and non-violence teachings are also offered. Geographically focused courses examine Japan's civilization and popular culture; religious traditions in Hamilton; and cults in North America. Other course offerings focus solely on Islam in North America and in the modern world. 

The full-time faculty who teach courses in this area are Drs. Mark Rowe, Celia Rothenberg, Philippa Carter, Ellen Badone, Liyakat Takim.

Religion, Philosophy & Politics:

Courses in this area explore fundamental questions about ethics, politics, and religion by reading classic and contemporary works of philosophy, theology, literature, critical theory, and popular culture from across the Western tradition. We study religious thought and other textual traditions from the times of ancient Greece, medieval Christianity, and the modern West.  Our courses complement study in Philosophy, Political Science, and English and Cultural Studies.

The full-time faculty who teach courses in this area are Drs. Dana Hollander, Zdravko Planinc, Travis Kroeker.

Notes

  1. All honours students are encouraged to consult a departmental undergraduate advisor in the selection of their Levels III and IV courses.
  2. Part-time students should note that RELIGST 3F03 is regularly offered in the evening. Other courses required for completion of the degree are offered in the evening whenever possible. Students who anticipate difficulty in fulfilling program requirements should consult a departmental undergraduate advisor as early as possible in their program.
  3. With the written approval of a departmental undergraduate advisor, courses from other departments may be substituted for Religious Studies.
  4. Students who entered the program prior to September 2004 may use RELIG ST 2EA3, 2EB3, 2Q03 or 2V03 toward the Religion and Culture Field of Study.
  5. RELIGST 4R06 A/B is strongly recommended for students considering graduate work in Religious Studies.
  6. Since not all Level IV seminars are offered each year, students in the Honours program are encouraged to take one Level IV seminar during Level III.

 

Requirements:

120 units total (Levels I to IV), of which 48 units may be Level I

30 units

from

  • the Level I program completed prior to admission to the program
    (See Admission above)

6 units

from

  • Asian Religious Traditions

3 units

from

  • Biblical Studies

3 units

from

  • Western Religious Thought

3 units

from

  • Religion and Culture
    (See Note 4 above)

3 units

from

  • Religion, Philosophy, and Politics

3 units

21 units

  • Levels II, III Religious Studies of which at least nine units must be from Level III. Level III courses which have been taken to satisfy the above fields of study requirements may be subtracted from these nine units of Level III.
    (See Notes 5 and 6 above)

6 units

  • Level IV Religious Studies
    (See Notes 5 and 6 above)

6 units

If requirement completed in Level I, these units will be taken as electives.

from

  • Either SOCSCI 2J03 plus three units of a language other than English, or six units of a language other than English
  • (See Note 7 above)

36 units

  • Electives, of which at least six units must be taken from outside of Religious Studies

 

Undergraduate Scholarships, Bursaries and Awards

All undergraduate students accepted for admission to McMaster University are automatically considered for a McMaster University entrance award. Additional entrance awards, in-course scholarships, bursaries and other forms of financial assistance is available to you at various stages of their undergraduate careers.

Each scholarship, bursary, Government Aid or Work Study Program a has its own unique application process and requirements. More information on financial aid visit the Student Financial Aid & Scholarship (SFAS) Office.

Our administrative assistant is happy to help answer any questions regarding the undergraduate program. Please email your questions to: askrs@mcmaster.ca.

M.A.R.S. - McMaster Association of Religious Studies

Our purpose is to create connections between students and faculty in the Religious Studies Program at McMaster University, to encourage the pursuit of Religious Studies as an interest and a profession, and to provide the opportunity to better understand religions and their role on shaping society. 

Academic Advising

The Academic Advising office is run through the Office of the Associate Dean. The primary goal of the Advising Office is to provide all Social Sciences undergraduate students with the information and guidance they need to succeed in their academic careers.

Advisors can help you make the right academic decisions by explaining policies and regulations as well as presenting different options and supports available in your studies.

An academic advisor can assist you with:

  • Course requirements, dropping and adding courses
  • Program selection, application and changes
  • Studying abroad
  • Transfer credits
  • Petitions for missed term work, deferred examinations and special consideration
  • Appeals procedures
  • Referral to other campus services

Learn more about Academic Advising in the Social Sciences.

Asian Religious Traditions

Storytelling in East Asian Religions (2F03)
Storytelling in Indian Religion (2I03)
Introduction to Buddhism (2K03)
Life, Work and Teachings of Mahatma Gandhi (2L03)
Japanese Civilization (2P03)
Religion and Popular Culture in Contemporary Japan (2TT3)
Japanese Religions and Film (3E03)

The Indian Religious Tradition (3L03)
The East Asian Religious Tradition (3S03)
The Buddhist Tradition in India (3U03)
Buddhism in East Asia (3UU3)
Topics in Asian Religions (4H03)
Introduction to Sanskrit Grammar (Sanskrit 3A06)
Readings in Sanskrit Texts (Sanskrit 4B06)

Biblical Studies

Women in the Biblical Tradition (2B03)
The Five Books of Moses (2DD3)
Prophets of the Bible (2EE3)
Earliest Portraits of Jesus (2GG3)
Introduction to the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament (2HB3)
Paul and Christian Origins (2HH3)
Introduction to the New Testament (2NT3)
The Bible as Literature (2VV3)
The Bible and Film (2YY3)
The Jewish World in New Testament Times (3DD3)
Inter-Religious Encounters in Antiquity: Jews, Christians and Pagans (3J03)

Interpreting the Jewish Bible, 200 BCE–200 CE (3JB3)
Interpreting the Christian Bible (3K03)
Psalms and Wisdom in the Bible (3M03)
John’s Portrait of Jesus (3N03)
Death and the Afterlife in Early Judaism and Christianity (3R03)
Constructing Jesus of Nazareth (3T03)
Topics in Biblical Studies (4I03)
Introduction to Biblical Hebrew I and II (Hebrew 2A03 & 2B03)
Intermediate Hebrew I and II (Hebrew 3A03 & 3B03)

 

Western Religious Traditions

Introduction to the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament (2HB3)
Introduction to Judaism (2J03)
Jewish History: 1648–1948 (2X03; History 2X03)
Interpreting the Jewish Bible, 200 BCE–200 CE (3JB3)
Modern Jewish Thought (3A03; Philosophy 3J03)
The Jewish World in New Testament Times (3DD3)

Christianity and Art (2CA3)
The Sermon on the Mount in Christian Ethics (2CE3)
A Church Divided: From the Middle Ages to Modernity (2KK3)
War and Peace in the Christian Tradition (2MM3)
Introduction to the New Testament (2NT3)
Christianity: The First Thousand Years (2TH3)

Mediterranean Encounters 1500–1800 (2FF3; History 2HH3)
Introduction to Islam (2Q03)
Islam in North America (2TA3)

Topics in Jewish Studies (3GG3)
Inter-Religious Encounters in Antiquity: Jews, Christians and Pagans (3J03)
Judaism in the Modern World (3ZZ3; History 3ZZ3)
Topics in Western Religious Traditions (4N03)
Introduction to Biblical Hebrew I and II (Hebrew 2A03 & 2B03)
Intermediate Hebrew I and II (Hebrew 3A03 & 3B03)

Christ and Antichrist (3CA3)
Topics in Christian Ethics (3CE3)
Christ Through the Centuries (3B03)
Interpreting the Christian Bible (3K03)
Christianity in the Modern World (3KK3)
Christian Mysticism (3X03)
Topics in Western Religious Traditions (4N03)

Islam in the Modern World (3C03)
Islamic Mysticism (3FA3)
Topics in Western Religious Traditions (4N03)

 

Religion & Culture

Images of the Divine Feminine (2BB3)
Theory and Practice of Non-Violence (2H03)
Humour and Religion (2HR3)
Death and Dying: Comparative Views (2M03)
Death and Dying: the Western Experience (2N03)
Japanese Civilization (2P03)
Cults in North America (2QQ3)
Religion and Diversity (2RD3)
Islam in North America (2TA3)
Religion and Popular Culture in Contemporary Japan (2TT3)

Religion and Ecology (2W03)
Health, Healing and Religion (2WW3)
Culture and Religion (3AR3)
Islam in the Modern World (3C03)
Japanese Religions and Film (3E03)
Sacred Journeys (3EE3)
Gender and Religion (3FF3)
Religion in Hamilton and its Environs (3RH3)
Judaism in the Modern World (3ZZ3)
Religion and Culture (4P03)

 

Religion, Philosophy & Politics

Moral Issues (2C03; Philosophy 2D03)
God, Reason and Evil (2GR3)
Scepticism, Atheism and Religious Faith (2LL3)
Shakespeare: Religious and Political Themes (2ZZ3)
Modern Jewish Thought (3A03; Philosophy 3J03)
Religion and Politics (3CC3; Political Science 3LA3)

Continental Philosophy of Religion (3CP3; Philosophy 3FF3)
Religion and Human Nature (3LL3)
Love in Western Civilization (3Y03)
Topics in Religion, Philosophy, and Politics (4RP3)

Undergraduate Fields of Study Apply Now
For more information:
Jennifer Nettleton: Administrative Assistant
UH 104
905-525-9140 ext. 23109
askrs@mcmaster.ca
Length:
4 years
Required Credential:
Completion of any Level I program with a Grade Point Average of 5.0 (C) including an average of at least 5.0 (C) in six units of Religious Studies courses, preferably including one Level 1 Religious Studies course.
Program Type:
Thesis, Course Based
Program Options:
Full-time, Part-time
Typical Entry:
Late Spring/Summer

Hons.B.A.Combined Honours in Religious Studies and Another Subject

Students graduate with a double major in Religious Studies and another subject.

Asian Religious Traditions

The Department of Religious Studies offers courses in the Area of Asian Religions, with special focus on the following three topics:

  • Buddhism
  • Indian religions
  • East Asian religions

The full-time faculty who teach courses in this Area are Drs. James Benn, Shayne Clarke, and Mark Rowe.

Religious Studies Honours and Combined Honours students are eligible to enroll in the Level IV seminar in this Area (RS 4H03), which is offered every 1-2 years. The topic varies from year to year. The seminar is taught by full-time faculty on a topic related to their research interests and allows students a chance for discussion-based learning in a small seminar setting.

Religious Studies Honours and Combined Honours students who are interested in writing a Thesis (RS 4R06) should contact one of the above listed faculty members in advance of enrollment in Level IV.

Students interested in this Area are encouraged to begin language training in Sanskrit and/or Japanese. Sanskrit classes are administered through the Department of Religious Studies (see calendar listing). For Japanese, please see the course offerings in the Department of Languages and Linguistics.

Biblical Studies

The Department of Religious Studies offers courses in the Area of Biblical Studies covering the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, New Testament, Early Judaism, and Early Christianity.

Courses in this Area fall into three basic categories:

  • Hebrew Bible and Early Judaism
  • New Testament and Early Christianity
  • Thematic Courses

Students wishing to specialize in the Biblical Area are encouraged to begin language training in Greek and/or Hebrew. Hebrew classes are administered through the Department of Religious Studies (see calendar listing). For Greek courses, please see the course offerings in the Department of Classics.

The full-time faculty who teach courses in this Area are Drs. Philippa Carter, Dan Machiela, Matthew Thiessen, Stephen Westerholm, and Peter Widdicombe

Religious Studies Honours and Combined Honours students are eligible to enroll in the Level IV seminar in this Area (RS 4I03), which is offered every 1-2 years. The topic varies from year to year. The seminar is taught by full-time faculty on a topic related to their research interests and allows students a chance for discussion-based learning in a small seminar setting.

Religious Studies Honours and Combined Honours students who are interested in writing a Thesis (RS 4R06) should contact one of the above listed faculty members in advance of enrollment in Level IV.

Western Religious Thought

Courses in this Area cover Christian thought from all historical periods, Jewish history and philosophy, and Islam as well as the encounter between religious thought and modernity.

  • Christian Thought
  • Jewish History and Philosophy
  • Islam
  • Thematic courses

The full-time faculty who teach courses in this area are Drs. Ellen BadoneDana HollanderTravis KroekerZdravko PlanincCelia RothenbergLiyakat Takim and Peter Widdicombe.

Religious Studies Honours and Combined Honours students are eligible to enroll in the Level IV seminar in this Area (RS 4N03), which is offered every 1-2 years. The topic varies from year to year. The seminar is taught by full-time faculty on a topic related to their research interests and allows students a chance for discussion-based learning in a small seminar setting.

Religious Studies Honours and Combined Honours students who are interested in writing a Thesis (RS 4R06) should contact one of the above listed faculty members in advance of enrollment in Level IV.

Religion & Culture

An exciting and diverse array of courses in the Religion and Culture area are available to students. Courses are typically focused on contemporary experiences from a variety of religious viewpoints. A number of courses focus on the intersection of religion and the body, such as religious experiences and teachings about death and dying, health and healing, and gender. Courses on pilgrimage and non-violence teachings are also offered. Geographically focused courses examine Japan's civilization and popular culture; religious traditions in Hamilton; and cults in North America. Other course offerings focus solely on Islam in North America and in the modern world. 

The full-time faculty who teach courses in this area are Drs. Mark Rowe, Celia Rothenberg, Philippa Carter, Ellen Badone, Liyakat Takim.

Religion, Philosophy & Politics:

Courses in this area explore fundamental questions about ethics, politics, and religion by reading classic and contemporary works of philosophy, theology, literature, critical theory, and popular culture from across the Western tradition. We study religious thought and other textual traditions from the times of ancient Greece, medieval Christianity, and the modern West.  Our courses complement study in Philosophy, Political Science, and English and Cultural Studies.

The full-time faculty who teach courses in this area are Drs. Dana Hollander, Zdravko Planinc, Travis Kroeker.

Notes:

  1. Subject to meeting admission requirements, students may combine two subjects and be graduated with a combined Honours B.A. degree. These combinations are available within the Faculty, with programs in the Faculty of Humanities and with the Arts and Science Program.
  2. All Honours students are encouraged to consult a departmental undergraduate advisor in the selection of their Levels III and IV courses.
  3. Part-time students should note that RELIGST 3F03 is regularly offered in the evening. Other courses required for completion of the degree are offered in the evening whenever possible. Students who anticipate difficulty in fulfilling program requirements should consult a departmental undergraduate advisor as early as possible in their program.
  4. With the written approval of a departmental undergraduate advisor, courses from other departments may be substituted for Religious Studies.
  5. Students must consult both departments to determine the manner in which the Research Methods/Statistics requirement is to be satisfied.
  6. Students who entered the program prior to September 2004 may use RELIG ST 2EA3, 2EB3, 2Q03 or 2V03 toward the Religion and Culture Field of Study.
  7. RELIGST 4R06 A/B is strongly recommended for students considering graduate work in Religious Studies.
  8. Since not all Level IV seminars are offered each year, students in the Honours program are encouraged to take one Level IV seminar during Level III.

 

Requirements:

120 units total (Levels I to IV), of which 48 units may be Level I

30 units

from

  • the Level I program completed prior to admission to the program.
    (See Admission above.)

3 units

from

  • Asian Religious Traditions

6 units

  • three units each from two of Biblical Studies, Western Religious Traditions, Religion and Culture (See Note 6 above), and Religion, Philosophy, and Politics

3 units

21 units

  • Levels II, III Religious Studies of which at least nine units must be Level III. Level III courses which have been taken to satisfy the above fields of study requirements may be subtracted from these nine units of Level III.

3 units

  • Level IV Religious Studies

36 units

  • courses specified for the other subject

6 units

If requirement completed in Level I, these units will be taken as electives.

from

  • Linguistics, a language other than English, Statistics or in combined programs within the Faculty of Social Sciences, the Research Methods/Statistics course specified for the other subject.
    (See Note 5 above.)

12 units

  • Electives

Undergraduate Scholarships, Bursaries and Awards

All undergraduate students accepted for admission to McMaster University are automatically considered for a McMaster University entrance award. Additional entrance awards, in-course scholarships, bursaries and other forms of financial assistance is available to you at various stages of their undergraduate careers.

Each scholarship, bursary, Government Aid or Work Study Program a has its own unique application process and requirements. More information on financial aid visit the Student Financial Aid & Scholarship (SFAS) Office.

Our administrative assistant is happy to help answer any questions regarding the undergraduate program. Please email your questions to: askrs@mcmaster.ca.

M.A.R.S. - McMaster Association of Religious Studies

Our purpose is to create connections between students and faculty in the Religious Studies Program at McMaster University, to encourage the pursuit of Religious Studies as an interest and a profession, and to provide the opportunity to better understand religions and their role on shaping society. 

Academic Advising

The Academic Advising office is run through the Office of the Associate Dean. The primary goal of the Advising Office is to provide all Social Sciences undergraduate students with the information and guidance they need to succeed in their academic careers.

Advisors can help you make the right academic decisions by explaining policies and regulations as well as presenting different options and supports available in your studies.

An academic advisor can assist you with:

  • Course requirements, dropping and adding courses
  • Program selection, application and changes
  • Studying abroad
  • Transfer credits
  • Petitions for missed term work, deferred examinations and special consideration
  • Appeals procedures
  • Referral to other campus services

Learn more about Academic Advising in the Social Sciences.

Asian Religious Traditions

Storytelling in East Asian Religions (2F03)
Storytelling in Indian Religion (2I03)
Introduction to Buddhism (2K03)
Life, Work and Teachings of Mahatma Gandhi (2L03)
Japanese Civilization (2P03)
Religion and Popular Culture in Contemporary Japan (2TT3)
Japanese Religions and Film (3E03)

The Indian Religious Tradition (3L03)
The East Asian Religious Tradition (3S03)
The Buddhist Tradition in India (3U03)
Buddhism in East Asia (3UU3)
Topics in Asian Religions (4H03)
Introduction to Sanskrit Grammar (Sanskrit 3A06)
Readings in Sanskrit Texts (Sanskrit 4B06)

Biblical Studies

Women in the Biblical Tradition (2B03)
The Five Books of Moses (2DD3)
Prophets of the Bible (2EE3)
Earliest Portraits of Jesus (2GG3)
Introduction to the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament (2HB3)
Paul and Christian Origins (2HH3)
Introduction to the New Testament (2NT3)
The Bible as Literature (2VV3)
The Bible and Film (2YY3)
The Jewish World in New Testament Times (3DD3)
Inter-Religious Encounters in Antiquity: Jews, Christians and Pagans (3J03)

Interpreting the Jewish Bible, 200 BCE–200 CE (3JB3)
Interpreting the Christian Bible (3K03)
Psalms and Wisdom in the Bible (3M03)
John’s Portrait of Jesus (3N03)
Death and the Afterlife in Early Judaism and Christianity (3R03)
Constructing Jesus of Nazareth (3T03)
Topics in Biblical Studies (4I03)
Introduction to Biblical Hebrew I and II (Hebrew 2A03 & 2B03)
Intermediate Hebrew I and II (Hebrew 3A03 & 3B03)

 

Western Religious Traditions

Introduction to the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament (2HB3)
Introduction to Judaism (2J03)
Jewish History: 1648–1948 (2X03; History 2X03)
Interpreting the Jewish Bible, 200 BCE–200 CE (3JB3)
Modern Jewish Thought (3A03; Philosophy 3J03)
The Jewish World in New Testament Times (3DD3)

Christianity and Art (2CA3)
The Sermon on the Mount in Christian Ethics (2CE3)
A Church Divided: From the Middle Ages to Modernity (2KK3)
War and Peace in the Christian Tradition (2MM3)
Introduction to the New Testament (2NT3)
Christianity: The First Thousand Years (2TH3)

Mediterranean Encounters 1500–1800 (2FF3; History 2HH3)
Introduction to Islam (2Q03)
Islam in North America (2TA3)

Topics in Jewish Studies (3GG3)
Inter-Religious Encounters in Antiquity: Jews, Christians and Pagans (3J03)
Judaism in the Modern World (3ZZ3; History 3ZZ3)
Topics in Western Religious Traditions (4N03)
Introduction to Biblical Hebrew I and II (Hebrew 2A03 & 2B03)
Intermediate Hebrew I and II (Hebrew 3A03 & 3B03)

Christ and Antichrist (3CA3)
Topics in Christian Ethics (3CE3)
Christ Through the Centuries (3B03)
Interpreting the Christian Bible (3K03)
Christianity in the Modern World (3KK3)
Christian Mysticism (3X03)
Topics in Western Religious Traditions (4N03)

Islam in the Modern World (3C03)
Islamic Mysticism (3FA3)
Topics in Western Religious Traditions (4N03)

 

Religion & Culture

Images of the Divine Feminine (2BB3)
Theory and Practice of Non-Violence (2H03)
Humour and Religion (2HR3)
Death and Dying: Comparative Views (2M03)
Death and Dying: the Western Experience (2N03)
Japanese Civilization (2P03)
Cults in North America (2QQ3)
Religion and Diversity (2RD3)
Islam in North America (2TA3)
Religion and Popular Culture in Contemporary Japan (2TT3)

Religion and Ecology (2W03)
Health, Healing and Religion (2WW3)
Culture and Religion (3AR3)
Islam in the Modern World (3C03)
Japanese Religions and Film (3E03)
Sacred Journeys (3EE3)
Gender and Religion (3FF3)
Religion in Hamilton and its Environs (3RH3)
Judaism in the Modern World (3ZZ3)
Religion and Culture (4P03)

 

Religion, Philosophy & Politics

Moral Issues (2C03; Philosophy 2D03)
God, Reason and Evil (2GR3)
Scepticism, Atheism and Religious Faith (2LL3)
Shakespeare: Religious and Political Themes (2ZZ3)
Modern Jewish Thought (3A03; Philosophy 3J03)
Religion and Politics (3CC3; Political Science 3LA3)

Continental Philosophy of Religion (3CP3; Philosophy 3FF3)
Religion and Human Nature (3LL3)
Love in Western Civilization (3Y03)
Topics in Religion, Philosophy, and Politics (4RP3)

Undergraduate Fields of Study Apply Now
For more information:
Jennifer Nettleton: Administrative Assistant
UH 104
905-525-9140 ext. 23109
askrs@mcmaster.ca
Length:
4 years
Required Credential:
Completion of any Level I program Grade Point Average of 5.0 (C) including an average of at least 5.0 (C) in six units of Religious Studies courses, preferably including one Level 1 Religious Studies course.
Program Type:
Thesis, Course Based
Program Options:
Full-time, Part-time
Typical Entry:
Late Spring/Summer

B.A.Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies

The 3-year BA program provides students with a foundation in the field of Religious Studies and its main subfields to help prepare you to work in Canada’s multicultural society.

Asian Religious Traditions

The Department of Religious Studies offers courses in the Area of Asian Religions, with special focus on the following three topics:

  • Buddhism
  • Indian religions
  • East Asian religions

The full-time faculty who teach courses in this Area are Drs. James Benn, Shayne Clarke, and Mark Rowe.

Religious Studies Honours and Combined Honours students are eligible to enroll in the Level IV seminar in this Area (RS 4H03), which is offered every 1-2 years. The topic varies from year to year. The seminar is taught by full-time faculty on a topic related to their research interests and allows students a chance for discussion-based learning in a small seminar setting.

Religious Studies Honours and Combined Honours students who are interested in writing a Thesis (RS 4R06) should contact one of the above listed faculty members in advance of enrollment in Level IV.

Students interested in this Area are encouraged to begin language training in Sanskrit and/or Japanese. Sanskrit classes are administered through the Department of Religious Studies (see calendar listing). For Japanese, please see the course offerings in the Department of Languages and Linguistics.

Biblical Studies

The Department of Religious Studies offers courses in the Area of Biblical Studies covering the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, New Testament, Early Judaism, and Early Christianity.

Courses in this Area fall into three basic categories:

  • Hebrew Bible and Early Judaism
  • New Testament and Early Christianity
  • Thematic Courses

Students wishing to specialize in the Biblical Area are encouraged to begin language training in Greek and/or Hebrew. Hebrew classes are administered through the Department of Religious Studies (see calendar listing). For Greek courses, please see the course offerings in the Department of Classics.

The full-time faculty who teach courses in this Area are Drs. Philippa Carter, Dan Machiela, Matthew Thiessen, Stephen Westerholm, and Peter Widdicombe

Religious Studies Honours and Combined Honours students are eligible to enroll in the Level IV seminar in this Area (RS 4I03), which is offered every 1-2 years. The topic varies from year to year. The seminar is taught by full-time faculty on a topic related to their research interests and allows students a chance for discussion-based learning in a small seminar setting.

Religious Studies Honours and Combined Honours students who are interested in writing a Thesis (RS 4R06) should contact one of the above listed faculty members in advance of enrollment in Level IV.

Western Religious Thought

Courses in this Area cover Christian thought from all historical periods, Jewish history and philosophy, and Islam as well as the encounter between religious thought and modernity.

  • Christian Thought
  • Jewish History and Philosophy
  • Islam
  • Thematic courses

The full-time faculty who teach courses in this area are Drs. Ellen BadoneDana HollanderTravis KroekerZdravko PlanincCelia RothenbergLiyakat Takim and Peter Widdicombe.

Religious Studies Honours and Combined Honours students are eligible to enroll in the Level IV seminar in this Area (RS 4N03), which is offered every 1-2 years. The topic varies from year to year. The seminar is taught by full-time faculty on a topic related to their research interests and allows students a chance for discussion-based learning in a small seminar setting.

Religious Studies Honours and Combined Honours students who are interested in writing a Thesis (RS 4R06) should contact one of the above listed faculty members in advance of enrollment in Level IV.

Religion & Culture

An exciting and diverse array of courses in the Religion and Culture area are available to students. Courses are typically focused on contemporary experiences from a variety of religious viewpoints. A number of courses focus on the intersection of religion and the body, such as religious experiences and teachings about death and dying, health and healing, and gender. Courses on pilgrimage and non-violence teachings are also offered. Geographically focused courses examine Japan's civilization and popular culture; religious traditions in Hamilton; and cults in North America. Other course offerings focus solely on Islam in North America and in the modern world. 

The full-time faculty who teach courses in this area are Drs. Mark Rowe, Celia Rothenberg, Philippa Carter, Ellen Badone, Liyakat Takim.

Religion, Philosophy & Politics:

Courses in this area explore fundamental questions about ethics, politics, and religion by reading classic and contemporary works of philosophy, theology, literature, critical theory, and popular culture from across the Western tradition. We study religious thought and other textual traditions from the times of ancient Greece, medieval Christianity, and the modern West.  Our courses complement study in Philosophy, Political Science, and English and Cultural Studies.

The full-time faculty who teach courses in this area are Drs. Dana Hollander, Zdravko Planinc, Travis Kroeker.

Notes

  1. All students are encouraged to consult a departmental undergraduate advisor at least once each year.
  2. Part-time students should note that RELIGST 3F03 is regularly offered in the evening. Other courses required for completion of the degree are offered in the evening whenever possible. Students who anticipate difficulty in fulfilling program requirements should consult a departmental undergraduate advisor as early as possible in their program.
  3. With the written approval of a departmental undergraduate advisor, courses from other departments may be substituted for Religious Studies.
  4. Students who entered the program prior to September 2004 may use RELIG ST 2EA3, 2EB3, 2Q03 or 2V03 toward the Religion and Culture Field of Study.

Requirements

90 units total (Levels I to III), of which 42 units may be Level I

30 units

from

  • the Level I program completed prior to admission to the program.
    (See Admission above.)

3 units

from

  • Asian Religious Traditions

6 units

  • three units each from two of Biblical Studies, Western Religious Traditions, Religion and Culture (See Note 4 above), and Religion, Philosophy, and Politics

3 units

12 units

  • Levels II, III or IV Religious Studies of which at least six units must be Level III. Level III courses which have been taken to satisfy the above fields of study requirements may be subtracted from these six units of Level III.

36 units

  • Electives, of which at least 6 units must be taken outside of Religious Studies (the maximum Religious Studies courses to be taken is 48 units)

Undergraduate Scholarships, Bursaries and Awards

All undergraduate students accepted for admission to McMaster University are automatically considered for a McMaster University entrance award. Additional entrance awards, in-course scholarships, bursaries and other forms of financial assistance is available to you at various stages of their undergraduate careers.

Each scholarship, bursary, Government Aid or Work Study Program a has its own unique application process and requirements. More information on financial aid visit the Student Financial Aid & Scholarship (SFAS) Office.

Our administrative assistant is happy to help answer any questions regarding the undergraduate program. Please email your questions to: askrs@mcmaster.ca.

M.A.R.S. - McMaster Association of Religious Studies

Our purpose is to create connections between students and faculty in the Religious Studies Program at McMaster University, to encourage the pursuit of Religious Studies as an interest and a profession, and to provide the opportunity to better understand religions and their role on shaping society. 

Academic Advising

The Academic Advising office is run through the Office of the Associate Dean. The primary goal of the Advising Office is to provide all Social Sciences undergraduate students with the information and guidance they need to succeed in their academic careers.

Advisors can help you make the right academic decisions by explaining policies and regulations as well as presenting different options and supports available in your studies.

An academic advisor can assist you with:

  • Course requirements, dropping and adding courses
  • Program selection, application and changes
  • Studying abroad
  • Transfer credits
  • Petitions for missed term work, deferred examinations and special consideration
  • Appeals procedures
  • Referral to other campus services

Learn more about Academic Advising in the Social Sciences.

Asian Religious Traditions

Storytelling in East Asian Religions (2F03)
Storytelling in Indian Religion (2I03)
Introduction to Buddhism (2K03)
Life, Work and Teachings of Mahatma Gandhi (2L03)
Japanese Civilization (2P03)
Religion and Popular Culture in Contemporary Japan (2TT3)
Japanese Religions and Film (3E03)

The Indian Religious Tradition (3L03)
The East Asian Religious Tradition (3S03)
The Buddhist Tradition in India (3U03)
Buddhism in East Asia (3UU3)
Topics in Asian Religions (4H03)
Introduction to Sanskrit Grammar (Sanskrit 3A06)
Readings in Sanskrit Texts (Sanskrit 4B06)

Biblical Studies

Women in the Biblical Tradition (2B03)
The Five Books of Moses (2DD3)
Prophets of the Bible (2EE3)
Earliest Portraits of Jesus (2GG3)
Introduction to the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament (2HB3)
Paul and Christian Origins (2HH3)
Introduction to the New Testament (2NT3)
The Bible as Literature (2VV3)
The Bible and Film (2YY3)
The Jewish World in New Testament Times (3DD3)
Inter-Religious Encounters in Antiquity: Jews, Christians and Pagans (3J03)

Interpreting the Jewish Bible, 200 BCE–200 CE (3JB3)
Interpreting the Christian Bible (3K03)
Psalms and Wisdom in the Bible (3M03)
John’s Portrait of Jesus (3N03)
Death and the Afterlife in Early Judaism and Christianity (3R03)
Constructing Jesus of Nazareth (3T03)
Topics in Biblical Studies (4I03)
Introduction to Biblical Hebrew I and II (Hebrew 2A03 & 2B03)
Intermediate Hebrew I and II (Hebrew 3A03 & 3B03)

 

Western Religious Traditions

Introduction to the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament (2HB3)
Introduction to Judaism (2J03)
Jewish History: 1648–1948 (2X03; History 2X03)
Interpreting the Jewish Bible, 200 BCE–200 CE (3JB3)
Modern Jewish Thought (3A03; Philosophy 3J03)
The Jewish World in New Testament Times (3DD3)

Christianity and Art (2CA3)
The Sermon on the Mount in Christian Ethics (2CE3)
A Church Divided: From the Middle Ages to Modernity (2KK3)
War and Peace in the Christian Tradition (2MM3)
Introduction to the New Testament (2NT3)
Christianity: The First Thousand Years (2TH3)

Mediterranean Encounters 1500–1800 (2FF3; History 2HH3)
Introduction to Islam (2Q03)
Islam in North America (2TA3)

Topics in Jewish Studies (3GG3)
Inter-Religious Encounters in Antiquity: Jews, Christians and Pagans (3J03)
Judaism in the Modern World (3ZZ3; History 3ZZ3)
Topics in Western Religious Traditions (4N03)
Introduction to Biblical Hebrew I and II (Hebrew 2A03 & 2B03)
Intermediate Hebrew I and II (Hebrew 3A03 & 3B03)

Christ and Antichrist (3CA3)
Topics in Christian Ethics (3CE3)
Christ Through the Centuries (3B03)
Interpreting the Christian Bible (3K03)
Christianity in the Modern World (3KK3)
Christian Mysticism (3X03)
Topics in Western Religious Traditions (4N03)

Islam in the Modern World (3C03)
Islamic Mysticism (3FA3)
Topics in Western Religious Traditions (4N03)

 

Religion & Culture

Images of the Divine Feminine (2BB3)
Theory and Practice of Non-Violence (2H03)
Humour and Religion (2HR3)
Death and Dying: Comparative Views (2M03)
Death and Dying: the Western Experience (2N03)
Japanese Civilization (2P03)
Cults in North America (2QQ3)
Religion and Diversity (2RD3)
Islam in North America (2TA3)
Religion and Popular Culture in Contemporary Japan (2TT3)

Religion and Ecology (2W03)
Health, Healing and Religion (2WW3)
Culture and Religion (3AR3)
Islam in the Modern World (3C03)
Japanese Religions and Film (3E03)
Sacred Journeys (3EE3)
Gender and Religion (3FF3)
Religion in Hamilton and its Environs (3RH3)
Judaism in the Modern World (3ZZ3)
Religion and Culture (4P03)

 

Religion, Philosophy & Politics

Moral Issues (2C03; Philosophy 2D03)
God, Reason and Evil (2GR3)
Scepticism, Atheism and Religious Faith (2LL3)
Shakespeare: Religious and Political Themes (2ZZ3)
Modern Jewish Thought (3A03; Philosophy 3J03)
Religion and Politics (3CC3; Political Science 3LA3)

Continental Philosophy of Religion (3CP3; Philosophy 3FF3)
Religion and Human Nature (3LL3)
Love in Western Civilization (3Y03)
Topics in Religion, Philosophy, and Politics (4RP3)

Undergraduate Fields of Study Apply Now
For more information:
Jennifer Nettleton: Administrative Assistant
UH 104
905-525-9140 ext. 23109
askrs@mcmaster.ca
Length:
3 years
Required Credential:
Completion of any Level 1 program with a Grade Point Average of 3.5 (C-) and an average of at least 4.0 (C-) in six units of Religious Studies courses, preferably including one Level 1 Religious Studies course.
Program Type:
Course Based
Program Options:
Full-time, Part-time
Typical Entry:
Late Spring/Summer

MinorMinor in Religious Studies

Students learn about theories of religion, the intersection of religion and culture, and religious phenomena around the world.

24 units total

24 units

  • Religious Studies courses with no more than six units from Level I

Undergraduate Scholarships, Bursaries and Awards

All undergraduate students accepted for admission to McMaster University are automatically considered for a McMaster University entrance award. Additional entrance awards, in-course scholarships, bursaries and other forms of financial assistance is available to you at various stages of their undergraduate careers.

Each scholarship, bursary, Government Aid or Work Study Program a has its own unique application process and requirements. More information on financial aid visit the Student Financial Aid & Scholarship (SFAS) Office.

Our administrative assistant is happy to help answer any questions regarding the undergraduate program. Please email your questions to: askrs@mcmaster.ca.

M.A.R.S. - McMaster Association of Religious Studies

Our purpose is to create connections between students and faculty in the Religious Studies Program at McMaster University, to encourage the pursuit of Religious Studies as an interest and a profession, and to provide the opportunity to better understand religions and their role on shaping society. 

Academic Advising

The Academic Advising office is run through the Office of the Associate Dean. The primary goal of the Advising Office is to provide all Social Sciences undergraduate students with the information and guidance they need to succeed in their academic careers.

Advisors can help you make the right academic decisions by explaining policies and regulations as well as presenting different options and supports available in your studies.

An academic advisor can assist you with:

  • Course requirements, dropping and adding courses
  • Program selection, application and changes
  • Studying abroad
  • Transfer credits
  • Petitions for missed term work, deferred examinations and special consideration
  • Appeals procedures
  • Referral to other campus services

Learn more about Academic Advising in the Social Sciences.

Undergraduate Fields of Study Apply Now
For more information:
Jennifer Nettleton: Administrative Assistant
UH 104
905-525-9140 ext. 23109
askrs@mcmaster.ca
Length:
N/A
Required Credential:
Enrolment in an Honours program in another discipline.
Program Type:
Course Based
Program Options:
Full-time, Part-time
Typical Entry:
September

MinorMinor in Japanese Studies

Students develop a working knowledge of the Japanese language and study the culture, people, and society of Japan.

For questions related to Language courses, contact the Department of Linguistics and Languages:

Department of Linguistics and Languages
Togo Salmon Hall 629
905-525-9140 ext: 24388
lingdept@mcmaster.ca

Undergraduate Scholarships, Bursaries and Awards

All undergraduate students accepted for admission to McMaster University are automatically considered for a McMaster University entrance award. Additional entrance awards, in-course scholarships, bursaries and other forms of financial assistance is available to you at various stages of their undergraduate careers.

Each scholarship, bursary, Government Aid or Work Study Program a has its own unique application process and requirements. More information on financial aid visit the Student Financial Aid & Scholarship (SFAS) Office.

Our administrative assistant is happy to help answer any questions regarding the undergraduate program. Please email your questions to: askrs@mcmaster.ca.

M.A.R.S. - McMaster Association of Religious Studies

Our purpose is to create connections between students and faculty in the Religious Studies Program at McMaster University, to encourage the pursuit of Religious Studies as an interest and a profession, and to provide the opportunity to better understand religions and their role on shaping society. 

Academic Advising

The Academic Advising office is run through the Office of the Associate Dean. The primary goal of the Advising Office is to provide all Social Sciences undergraduate students with the information and guidance they need to succeed in their academic careers.

Advisors can help you make the right academic decisions by explaining policies and regulations as well as presenting different options and supports available in your studies.

An academic advisor can assist you with:

  • Course requirements, dropping and adding courses
  • Program selection, application and changes
  • Studying abroad
  • Transfer credits
  • Petitions for missed term work, deferred examinations and special consideration
  • Appeals procedures
  • Referral to other campus services

Learn more about Academic Advising in the Social Sciences.

Undergraduate Fields of Study Apply Now
For more information:
Jennifer Nettleton: Administrative Assistant
UH 104
905-525-9140 ext. 23109
askrs@mcmaster.ca
Length:
N/A
Required Credential:
Enrolment in an Honours program.
Program Type:
Course Based
Program Options:
Full-time, Part-time
Typical Entry:
September

MinorMinor in Jewish Studies

Students explore Jewish Studies, a multidisciplinary field devoted to the study of Judaism and Jewish history, thought, culture, and communities.

The Minor in Jewish Studies is open to all students registered in a four- or five-level program in any Faculty. Students will be required to complete a minimum of 24 units from the lists below. At least 12 of these units will be taken from List A, comprised of courses focusing directly on an area of Jewish Studies. Students are urged to take at least six units of Hebrew language as part of their List A requirements. A minimum of six units will be taken from List B, comprised of courses which provide crucial background for understanding important issues in Jewish Studies. Students are also encouraged to engage in a year of study in Israel, normally done in the third year of a four-year program. Details are available through the Department of Religious Studies, University Hall, Room 104, ext. 24567, or the Office of International Affairs, Alumni Memorial Hall, Room 203.

Students wishing to pursue a Minor in Jewish Studies may obtain more information from the Jewish Studies Minor Area Coordinator in the Department of Religious Studies, University Hall, Room 104.

List A

List B

Undergraduate Scholarships, Bursaries and Awards

All undergraduate students accepted for admission to McMaster University are automatically considered for a McMaster University entrance award. Additional entrance awards, in-course scholarships, bursaries and other forms of financial assistance is available to you at various stages of their undergraduate careers.

Each scholarship, bursary, Government Aid or Work Study Program a has its own unique application process and requirements. More information on financial aid visit the Student Financial Aid & Scholarship (SFAS) Office.

Our administrative assistant is happy to help answer any questions regarding the undergraduate program. Please email your questions to: askrs@mcmaster.ca.

M.A.R.S. - McMaster Association of Religious Studies

Our purpose is to create connections between students and faculty in the Religious Studies Program at McMaster University, to encourage the pursuit of Religious Studies as an interest and a profession, and to provide the opportunity to better understand religions and their role on shaping society. 

Academic Advising

The Academic Advising office is run through the Office of the Associate Dean. The primary goal of the Advising Office is to provide all Social Sciences undergraduate students with the information and guidance they need to succeed in their academic careers.

Advisors can help you make the right academic decisions by explaining policies and regulations as well as presenting different options and supports available in your studies.

An academic advisor can assist you with:

  • Course requirements, dropping and adding courses
  • Program selection, application and changes
  • Studying abroad
  • Transfer credits
  • Petitions for missed term work, deferred examinations and special consideration
  • Appeals procedures
  • Referral to other campus services

Learn more about Academic Advising in the Social Sciences.

Undergraduate Fields of Study Apply Now
For more information:
Jennifer Nettleton: Administrative Assistant
UH 104
905-525-9140 ext. 23109
askrs@mcmaster.ca
Length:
N/A
Required Credential:
Enrolment in an Honours program.
Program Type:
Course Based
Program Options:
Full-time, Part-time
Typical Entry:
September

MinorMinor in Religion and Diversity

Students develop an understanding of religious diversity in contemporary Canada and beyond.

Undergraduate Scholarships, Bursaries and Awards

All undergraduate students accepted for admission to McMaster University are automatically considered for a McMaster University entrance award. Additional entrance awards, in-course scholarships, bursaries and other forms of financial assistance is available to you at various stages of their undergraduate careers.

Each scholarship, bursary, Government Aid or Work Study Program a has its own unique application process and requirements. More information on financial aid visit the Student Financial Aid & Scholarship (SFAS) Office.

Our administrative assistant is happy to help answer any questions regarding the undergraduate program. Please email your questions to: askrs@mcmaster.ca.

M.A.R.S. - McMaster Association of Religious Studies

Our purpose is to create connections between students and faculty in the Religious Studies Program at McMaster University, to encourage the pursuit of Religious Studies as an interest and a profession, and to provide the opportunity to better understand religions and their role on shaping society. 

Academic Advising

The Academic Advising office is run through the Office of the Associate Dean. The primary goal of the Advising Office is to provide all Social Sciences undergraduate students with the information and guidance they need to succeed in their academic careers.

Advisors can help you make the right academic decisions by explaining policies and regulations as well as presenting different options and supports available in your studies.

An academic advisor can assist you with:

  • Course requirements, dropping and adding courses
  • Program selection, application and changes
  • Studying abroad
  • Transfer credits
  • Petitions for missed term work, deferred examinations and special consideration
  • Appeals procedures
  • Referral to other campus services

Learn more about Academic Advising in the Social Sciences.

Undergraduate Fields of Study Apply Now
For more information:
Jennifer Nettleton: Administrative Assistant
UH 104
905-525-9140 ext. 23109
askrs@mcmaster.ca
Length:
N/A
Required Credential:
Enrolment in an Honours program.
Program Type:
Course Based
Program Options:
Full-time, Part-time
Typical Entry:
September

MinorInterdisciplinary Minor in Muslim Studies

New in Fall 2017! The minor in Muslim Studies provides the opportunity to study Muslim beliefs, practices, thought, and history in a variety of geographic locales and timeframes.

The minor in Muslim Studies provides the opportunity to study Muslim beliefs, practices, thought, and history in a variety of geographic locales and timeframes.

 Students are required to complete 24 units in total for the minor.  A minimum of six units are required from list A, which includes courses focused wholly on Muslims and Islam. A minimum of six units are required from list B, which includes courses in which the study of Muslims and Islam comprise one part of the course material.  The remaining units are to be taken from list A, B, or C, which includes courses that provide key background for understanding Islamic history and Muslims in wider contexts. It is the student’s responsibility to check carefully for prerequisites, co-requisites and enrolment restrictions for all courses on these lists.

The academic objectives of this minor include fostering students’ understanding of the diversity and pluralism found in Muslims' beliefs and practices in:

  1. historical contexts;
  2. regional locations;
  3. the globalized world; and
  4. in relationship to other religions.

24 units total

A minimum of 6 units from List A

  • RELIGST 2Q03 Introduction to Islam
  • RELIGST 3C03 Islam in the Modern World
  • RELIGST 2TA3 Islam in North America
  • RELIGST 3FA3 Islamic Mysticism
  • RELIGST 4SR3/SOCIOL 4SR3 Topics in the Sociology of Religion

 

A minimum of 6 units from List B

  • RELIGST 3GH3 (also ANTHROP 3GH3, HISTORY 3GH3) Interdisciplinary Global Health Field Course: Maternal and Infant Health in Morocco in combination with ARABIC 3GH3 - Spoken Moroccan Arabic 3 unit(s)
  • ARTHIST 2Y03 Early Islamic Art to the Middle Ages
  • HISTORY 2HH3/RELIGST 2FF3 Mediterranean Encounters 1500-1800
  • HISTORY 2IC3 Islamic Civilization: The Formative Period 500-1258
  • HISTORY 2A03 Modern Middle Eastern Societies

List C 

  • RELIGST 1B03 What on Earth is Religion?
  • RELIGST 1B06A/B
  • RELIGST 2DD3 The Five Books of Moses or RELIGST 2HB3 From Creation to Exile
  • RELIGST 2M03 Death and Dying: Comparative Views
  • RELIGST 2WW3 Health, Healing and Religion
  • RELIGST 2RD3 Religion and Diversity
  • RELIGST 2RN3 Religion in the News
  • RELIGST 3EE3/ANTHROP 3CC3 Sacred Journeys
  • RELIGST 3AR3/ANTHROP 3AR3 Culture and Religion
  • RELIGST 3F03 Approaches to the Study of Religion
  • RELIGST 3RH3 Religion in Hamilton
  • RELIGST 3CC3/POLSCI 3LA3 Religion and Politics
  • RELST 3FF3/WOMENST 3FF3 Gender and Religion
  • CMST 3RR3 - Race, Religion and Media
  • CMST 4D03 - International Communication
  • ENG 3R06 Postcolonial Cultures
  • HISTORY 1CC3 - The Rise of Empires, 500-1950
  • HISTORY 2J03 Africa up to 1800
  • HISTORY 2JJ3 Africa since 1800
  • PEACEST 3B03 Peace-Building and Health Initiatives
  • PEACEST 3D03 Globalization and Peace
  • SOCIOL 2DD3 – Immigration and the Canadian Mosaic
  • SOCIOL 2FF3 – The Sociology of “Race” and Ethnicity
  • SOCIOL 3Z03 Ethnic Relations

Undergraduate Scholarships, Bursaries and Awards

All undergraduate students accepted for admission to McMaster University are automatically considered for a McMaster University entrance award. Additional entrance awards, in-course scholarships, bursaries and other forms of financial assistance is available to you at various stages of their undergraduate careers.

Each scholarship, bursary, Government Aid or Work Study Program a has its own unique application process and requirements. More information on financial aid visit the Student Financial Aid & Scholarship (SFAS) Office.

Our administrative assistant is happy to help answer any questions regarding the undergraduate program. Please email your questions to: askrs@mcmaster.ca.

M.A.R.S. - McMaster Association of Religious Studies

Our purpose is to create connections between students and faculty in the Religious Studies Program at McMaster University, to encourage the pursuit of Religious Studies as an interest and a profession, and to provide the opportunity to better understand religions and their role on shaping society. 

Academic Advising

The Academic Advising office is run through the Office of the Associate Dean. The primary goal of the Advising Office is to provide all Social Sciences undergraduate students with the information and guidance they need to succeed in their academic careers.

Advisors can help you make the right academic decisions by explaining policies and regulations as well as presenting different options and supports available in your studies.

An academic advisor can assist you with:

  • Course requirements, dropping and adding courses
  • Program selection, application and changes
  • Studying abroad
  • Transfer credits
  • Petitions for missed term work, deferred examinations and special consideration
  • Appeals procedures
  • Referral to other campus services

Learn more about Academic Advising in the Social Sciences.

Undergraduate Fields of Study Apply Now
For more information:
Jennifer Nettleton: Administrative Assistant
UH 104
905-525-9140 ext. 23109
askrs@mcmaster.ca
Length:
N/A
Required Credential:
Enrolment in an Honours program.
Program Type:
Course based
Program Options:
Full-time, Part-time
Typical Entry:
January, September
Current Deadline:
April

M.A.Master of Arts in Religious Studies

One of the first graduate programs in Religious Studies in Canada (established in 1964), McMaster University has been a leading center for the scholarly study of religion for more than four decades. The Department has three graduate fields of study (Asian, Biblical 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. While the faculty and areas of research expertise have changed somewhat over the years, the Department’s commitment to the open, critical, and multidisciplinary study of religion—past and present, East and West, theoretical and practical—remains passionate and strong.

There are currently about 50 graduate students enrolled in the department, and 14 professors active in graduate supervision. The department has had enviable success in placing its Ph.D. graduates. Of the more than 40 students who have received the Ph.D. since 1996, approximately 60% have moved on to hold full-time academic positions, and another 20% to part-time teaching.

Learn more about the specific fields of study in our Graduate Programs

 

For the M.A. degree students are required to:

Complete the Required Coursework

The normal procedure for students working toward the M.A. degree is to take seven graduate-level half courses:

  • four half courses in the major area of study,
  • two half courses in the minor area of study, and
  • R.S. 701
  • Four of these half courses must be in Religious Studies; two half courses may be taken outside the department in a relevant area of study. To receive the M.A. degree, the student must have at least B- standing in these courses.
  • Demonstrate a reading knowledge of at least one foreign language (language requirements specific to the various fields are described below).

The minimum language requirement for the M.A. is a demonstrated ability in the language other English which is most likely to be of assistance in the student’s research.  Responsibility for the choice of the language(s) to be examined lies with the advisory/supervisory committee which acts in accordance with individual area requirements, where such exist. In some cases, additional languages or more advanced levels of language competence may be required by the advisory/supervisory committee.

The language requirement(s) should be met in one of the following ways:

  • Where a student has already done course work in the relevant language at the university level, a grade of B in a full year (six unit) second level university course (understood as equivalent to the relevant McMaster course) taken within the last five years is generally considered adequate for fulfilling the requirement in the language.
  • Language exams in French and German are set by the department and normally graded by readers in the French and German departments. B- is the minimum passing grade. French and German exams are normally taken at three set times during the year (see Calendar of Dates).
  • When the university offers facilities for examination (e.g., Latin, Spanish), the passing of the relevant examination will fulfill the requirement.
  • Where languages are proposed for which no university offerings are available, the advisory/supervisory committee is responsible for arranging for the examination of the language.
  • Where the language chosen is the student's native language, and his or her knowledge of that language is of university level, the language requirement in that language may be understood as having been fulfilled.
  • Final judgment on fulfillment of the minimum language requirements rests with the student's advisory committee, whose decisions are subject to departmental approval.
  • Summer language courses may be offered from year to year in French or German. These courses are designed for graduate students or students intending to enter graduate programs and are offered with special permission from the Department of Linguistics and Languages. Credit obtained in these courses may be accepted in fulfillment of the second language reading requirement.

Language Requirements: Asian Field

Buddhism and East Asian Religions:

  • For M.A. students whose theses involve thematic or comparative studies, two years' study of Sanskrit or Japanese or Chinese is normally required.
  • Further language competence may be required by the supervisory committee where the thesis topic warrants it.

Language Requirements: Biblical Field

Early Judaism:

  • M.A. students must complete language requirements in Hebrew and a modern language, usually French or German.

Early Christianity:

  • M.A. students must complete language requirements in Greek and a modern language, usually French or German

Language Requirements: Western Field  

  • M.A. students must complete requirements in the language most likely to be of assistance in the student's research.

Do a thesis or a project showing some measure of independent competence in dealing with a limited but significant question.

A thesis deals with a specific topic of research and includes the scholarly presentation of the results. It should show an ability to deal with primary material on a limited problem. Text-critical studies or translation with commentary may also be proposed.

A project normally covers broad areas of learning. It is designed to permit students to move into new areas, to read large and unfamiliar bodies of texts, and to deal comprehensively with large questions.

The basic difference between the two kinds of written documents is that a thesis attempts to arrive at some conclusion and to justify that conclusion with appropriate evidence. A project report, on the other hand, is not argumentative but informative. It recounts the research done by the student. Argument may fill the account, but it is argument merely reported on. Whereas a thesis argues for the certain or probably truth of a conclusion, a project report narrates what the anticipations of the inquiry were and whether they were realized or disappointed; what the strategy of the research was an what changes, if any, it underwent; finally, what the results were, positive and negative.

Areas in which a candidate may conduct thesis and project research are limited by available faculty and library resources. Candidates should not assume that they may write on any subject in the whole field of religious studies.

Where the thesis or the project route is agreed upon, the advisory committee helps the student to settle on a topic. The student writes a formal proposal, one or two pages in length, with a brief bibliography.

The proposal is submitted first to the student's committee for the approval and signature of each member. The committee chair submits the proposal to the Graduate Affairs Committee for approval, together with a recommendation for the supervisory committee. The supervisory committee may or may not be the same as the advisory committee.

The Graduate Affairs Chair will notify the student and the chair of the newly formed supervisory committee of the decision. The approval of the proposal and the composition of the supervisory committee will be reported for information at the next regular Department Meeting.

A completed thesis must be examined by a committee of not fewer than three members (including the supervisor). When the supervisory committee consists of only two members, a third member is appointed by the department chair. The thesis is defended by the candidate in an oral examination before this committee. Both the written thesis and its oral defence must be deemed satisfactory. Copies of the thesis must be filed in the university and departmental libraries.

A completed project must be examined by at least two faculty members appointed by the area. The examination is oral or written or both. On this examination, the student is expected to be able to give a clear account of the project research, and to present evidence of its scope and significance. Project reports are kept in the departmental library.

Breadth Requirements

  • All incoming students should have completed the equivalent of six units (one full year course) of undergraduate work in Asian religions.  Students who do not meet this requirement will be expected to fulfill their breadth requirement by taking six units of undergraduate courses, or by writing two Breadth Requirement examinations, or by taking a three unit undergraduate course and writing one Breadth Requirement examination.
  • All incoming students should have competed the equivalent of six units (one full year course) of undergraduate work in Western religions.  Students who do not meet this requirement will be expected to fulfill their breadth requirement by taking six units of undergraduate courses, or by writing two Breadth Requirement examinations, or by taking a three unit undergraduate course and writing one Breadth Requirement examination.
  • The normal minimum requirement for admission to M.A. study is graduation with B+ standing (in the final two years) in an Honours programme 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:

https://graduate.mcmaster.ca/academic-services/how-apply

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 background and proficiency in foreign languages, detailing the courses you have taken, the levels, and the grades that you received for them.
  • Two academic references
  • Official Transcripts
  • English Language Proficiency
  • Writing Sample (an essay or thesis chapter)

RS 701 / Issues in the Study of Religion

SGS 101 / Academic Research Integrity and Ethics

SGS 201 / Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)

Graduate Program Fields of Study the School of Graduate Studies Graduate Forms Graduate Student Life Graduate Resources Apply Now
For more information:
Department of Religious Studies
UH 105
905-525-9140 ext. 23399
relstud@mcmaster.ca
Length:
2 years
Required Credential:
Graduation with B+ standing (in the final two years) in an Honours programme or equivalent in Religious Studies, or in a related discipline with significant emphasis on the study of religion
Program Type:
Thesis, Project Based
Program Options:
Full-time, Part-time
Typical Entry:
September
Current Deadline:
December 15

Ph.D.Doctor of Philosophy in Religious Studies

One of the first graduate programs in Religious Studies in Canada (established in 1964), McMaster University has been a leading center for the scholarly study of religion for more than four decades. The Department has three graduate fields of study (Asian, Biblical 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.

Learn more about the specific fields of study in our Graduate Programs

For the PhD, students are required to:

  • Complete the required coursework
  • Students working toward the Ph.D. must take at least five half courses at the graduate level at McMaster beyond the M.A.  RS *701 may not be counted among the five half courses required for the Ph.D. degree. Additional courses may be required by the candidate's advisory committee.
  • Students who have completed an M.A. elsewhere must normally complete at least one half course in the minor area of study. Students who have completed an M.A. in the Department of Religious Studies at McMaster do not have to do additional course work in the minor area, though they are encouraged to do so.
  • Three half courses must be in Religious Studies; two half courses may be taken outside the department in a relevant area of study. Exceptions may be made by the candidate's advisory committee.
  • To receive the Ph.D. degree, the student must have at least B- standing in each of the required courses.

Complete Breadth Requirement

  • Students who have not completed the equivalent of six units (one full year course) of undergraduate work in Asian religions may fulfill their breadth requirement by taking six units of undergraduate courses, or by writing two Breadth Requirement examinations, or by taking a three unit undergraduate course and writing one breadth Requirement examination early in their Ph.D. program.
  • Students who have not completed the equivalent of six units (one full year course) of undergraduate work in Western religions may fulfill their breadth requirement by taking six units of undergraduate courses, or by writing two Breadth Requirement examinations, or by taking a three unit undergraduate course and writing on Breadth Requirement examination early in their Ph.D. program.
  • Have a reading knowledge of at least two foreign languages (language requirements specific to the various fields are described below)
  • The minimum Ph.D. requirement is competence in two such languages. Work in several areas of the department entails additional language requirements, as specified below.  Responsibility for the choice of the language(s) to be examined lies with the advisory/supervisory committee which acts in accordance with individual area requirements, where such exist. In some cases, additional languages or more advanced levels of language competence may be required by the advisory/supervisory committee.

The language requirement(s) should be met in one of the following ways:

  • Where a student has already done course work in the relevant language at the university level, a grade of B in a full year (six unit) second level university course (understood as equivalent to the relevant McMaster course) taken within the last five years is generally considered adequate for fulfilling the requirement in the language.
  • Language exams in French and German are set by the department and normally graded by readers in the French and German departments. B- is the minimum passing grade. French and German exams are normally taken at three set times during the year (see Calendar of Dates). When the university offers facilities for examination (e.g., Latin, Spanish), the passing of the relevant examination will fulfill the requirement.
  • Where languages are proposed for which no university offerings are available, the advisory/supervisory committee is responsible for arranging for the examination of the language.
  • Where the language chosen is the student's native language, and his or her knowledge of that language is of university level, the language requirement in that language may be understood as having been fulfilled.
  • Final judgment on fulfillment of the minimum language requirements rests with the student's advisory committee, whose decisions are subject to departmental approval.
  • Language requirements should normally be met within 36 months of the beginning of the Ph.D. programme.
  • Summer language courses may be offered from year to year in French or German. These courses are designed for graduate students or students intending to enter graduate programs and are offered with special permission from the Department of Linguistics and Languages. Credit obtained in these courses may be accepted in fulfillment of the second language reading requirement.

Language Requirements: Asian Field

Buddhism and East Asian Religions:

  • For M.A. students and Ph.D. students whose theses involve thematic or comparative studies, two years' study of Sanskrit or Japanese or Chinese is normally required. For Ph.D. students, the requirement must be met for a second language as well.
  • For Ph.D. students whose theses, in the judgment of the supervisory committee, require analyses of texts in the original languages, (a) three years of Sanskrit or Japanese or Chinese, and (b) two years of a second language from this list are required.
  • Further language competence may be required by the supervisory committee where the thesis topic warrants it.

Language Requirements: Biblical Field

Early Judaism:

  • Ph.D. students must complete language requirements in Greek and two modern languages (usually French and German) as well as the equivalent of three years of undergraduate courses in Hebrew.

 

Early Christianity:

  • Ph.D. students must complete language requirements in Hebrew and two modern languages (usually French and German) as well as the equivalent of three years of undergraduate courses in Greek.

 

Language Requirements: Western Field

  • Ph.D. students must complete requirements for two such languages.

 

  • Pass comprehensive examinations in major and minor fields
  • Each doctoral student must write two comprehensive exams, one in the major area of study and the other in the minor area of study.

 

  • An essential implication of the Ph.D. degree at McMaster is that the holder has a comprehensive breadth of knowledge and a maturity of approach to a wide range of topics within the discipline. The comprehensive examinations test this knowledge and maturity.

 

  • The examinations are meant to examine the adequacy of the student's habitual knowledge. This means, negatively, that the examinations are not meant to test the student's research capacities, or command of the recondite research data that might go into a doctoral dissertation. Positively, it means that the examinations test the student's hold on general knowledge: the kind of knowledge that all persons in the field are presumed to have.

 

  • The habitual knowledge in question is a hold on evidence, not merely a catalogue of opinions. It might largely consist of information, but the information should be selective, relevant to issues, and up-to-date. It would allow the student to define the main issues in the discipline and to say on what basis they are diversely viewed by diverse schools of thought.

 

  • Within these general parameters, the comprehensive examinations take somewhat different forms in each field. It is important that students begin discussion about their examinations with their advisory committee early in their program, certainly by the spring committee meeting in their first year. Each area provides a basic reading list for comprehensive examinations which the student should obtain in the early stages of their programme.

 

  • Students are advised to consult the Chair of their Advisory Committee regarding the format and questions for both their major and minor comprehensive examinations. Faculty members may choose to have the questions they have written kept in a file in the Departmental office to be shown to future candidates. If they choose to do so, they must indicate in some way which of the questions were specifically written in the light of the particular research interests of the candidates who wrote the examination. This file will be reviewed periodically and the questions from examinations written over five years earlier will be removed from the file. Faculty members may also choose to make available previous questions to students in person, with proper explanations, or to describe the kind of questions given to the candidate in other ways.

 

  • In accordance with the regulations set by the Graduate School, comprehensive examinations are to be completed within 24 months of the beginning of the Ph.D. programme.

 

  • Comprehensive examinations are written at four times during the year: the second and third weeks in September; the second and third weeks in January; the first and second weeks in May, and the first and second weeks in July.

 

  • Students should indicate their intention to take a comprehensive examination during one of the periods scheduled for their writing by filling out the required form at least one month before the date of writing.

 

  • In writing the major examination, the student will be allowed a minimum of eight and a maximum of ten hours; the hour limits for the minor examination will be six and eight. The major examination will generally be taken in two equal parts and on different days. One of these two parts may be taken orally; in this case, the time limits will be appropriately adjusted.

 

  • The scope of the comprehensive examinations is determined by each area; the questions for the examinations must be set by a faculty member from the area in which the examination is being taken. The questions are to be submitted one week in advance of the examination to the office of the department chair, which administers the examination. The questions are to be included in the student's permanent file.

 

  • Each examination is to be graded by two faculty examiners, both members of the field in which the examination is being written; the first reader must be a faculty member from the area of the examination. Results of the comprehensive examinations are to be announced to the student within one month of the last examination. A grade of B- or above is required for passing the examination. A "Pass with distinction" is awarded when the student achieves an average grade of A (numerical 11) or A+ (numerical 12) in both the major comprehensive examination and the minor.

 

  • Research projects, done prior to the examination and written outside its framework, are not to be assigned in lieu of a comprehensive examination.




  • Defend a thesis which is a significant and original scholarly contribution.  

 

The Thesis

 

  • Areas in which a candidate may conduct thesis research are limited by available faculty and library resources. Candidates should not assume that they may write on any subject in the whole field of religious studies. Each topic must be carefully examined, defined, and approved by the department. Queries on this matter should be directed, very early in the candidate's career, to their advisory committee.

 

  • Within one month of the date on which comprehensive examination results are sent out, students should submit a statement of their thesis subject to the Graduate Affairs Committee. At this stage, the statement can be very short (a paragraph). This statement is to be signed by the chair of the student's Advisory Committee.

 

  • At the same time, the student, after consulting with the advisory committee, will submit a "Nomination of a Supervisory Committee" form for the approval of the Graduate Affairs Committee. This will include the names of three (occasionally four) faculty members who will serve as the supervisory committee for the thesis. The main supervisor of the thesis is to be drawn from the faculty members in the area within which the thesis is being written.

 

  • Normally supervisory committees include at least one other faculty member from the department, and where feasible, a faculty member from outside the Department of Religious Studies. In cases where faculty members from other universities are included in the proposed supervisory committee, the chair of the advisory committee will contact that person to ascertain that he or she is prepared to join the committee. After the composition of the proposed supervisory committee has been approved by the Graduate Affairs Committee, the Chair of the Graduate Affairs Committee will request the Dean of Graduate Studies formally to invite the member from another university to join the committee. The chair of the Graduate Affairs Committee will report the composition of the supervisory committee at the next departmental meeting.

The Thesis Proposal

  • Within six months of the completion of comprehensive examinations, the student is to submit a thesis proposal to the Graduate Affairs Committee for oral defence and approval. The proposal is to be roughly five to seven pages in length (c. 1500-2000 words), and is to be accompanied by a brief preliminary bibliography.

 

  • The proposal is a formal piece of written work which will be judged for composition, clarity, and style as well as content. While not intended to be a report on research already completed, the proposal should include a clear statement of the question which the thesis is intended to answer, of the method and procedure with which the inquiry is to be pursued, and, in the light of the current state of scholarship, of the contribution which the dissertation can be expected to make.

 

  • The careful formulation and defense of a thesis proposal is intended to ensure the project's viability in principle at an early stage in the student's research. Like the oral defence at the completion of the thesis, and in preparation for it, the student presentation to an open session of the Graduate Affairs Committee requires that students demonstrate a capacity to explain their work to educated non-specialists as well as specialists and respond thoughtfully to requests for clarification, objections, and suggestions. Conducted at an early stage in the writing of the thesis, the discussion around the proposal is intended to assist students in focusing on what is essential to its completion.

 

  • Once the thesis proposal is signed by each member of the student's supervisory committee, the committee chair submits it to the Graduate Affairs Committee for approval. A one-page abstract is, at the same time, circulated to all faculty members. The full proposal is kept in a file in UH-105 and made available to faculty. All interested members of the department are invited to submit written responses to the proposal and/or to participate in that portion of the Graduate Affairs Committee meeting during which the proposal is discussed.

 

  • The proposal is evaluated by the Graduate Affairs Committee (no sooner than two weeks after the general circulation of the proposal). The student is required to attend this meeting, and the student's supervisor (or a substitute designated by the supervisory committee) is also expected to attend. The chair of the Graduate Affairs Committee notifies the student and the chair of the supervisory committee of the Graduate Affairs Committee's decision. The approval of the proposal is reported for information at the next regular department meeting.



Writing and Defence of the Thesis

 

  • The final thesis copy should be prepared in accordance with the Graduate School booklet "Guide for the Preparation of Theses". This guide, thesis regulations, forms and information are available through the School of Graduate Studies website at http://www.mcmaster.ca/graduate/thesint.htm. Responsibility for compliance with these rules and neat preparation of the final copy rests with the student.

 

  • Further information about the final stages of submission and defence is found in the Graduate Calendar. The required forms may be obtained from the department office.



Completion Deadlines for the Ph.D. Programme

 

  • Regulations regarding the time within which various components of the Ph.D. programme are to be completed are set by the department and the Graduate School. This time framework seeks to facilitate the completion of the Ph.D. within the four years for which funding is provided.

 

  • Comprehensive examinations are to be completed within 24 months of the start of the programme.

 

  • One month after the completion of the comprehensives the one-paragraph thesis statement and the form for nominating a supervisory committee must be submitted to the Graduate Affairs Committee.

 

  • The thesis proposal must be submitted to the Graduate Affairs Committee within 6 months of the students' being notified of the results of the comprehensive examinations.

 

  • Language requirements must be completed within 36 months of the start of the programme.
  • The advisory/supervisory committee must indicate on the annual or semi-annual report of full-time Ph.D. students those who do not meet these deadlines. In such cases, the supervisor is to indicate in an accompanying note whether progress is deemed unsatisfactory or whether there are extenuating circumstances.

 

  • In the latter case, new deadlines for the fulfillment of the requirements are to be indicated on the progress report form, and arrangements made for a new meeting of the committee and the filing of a new report immediately after the date of the revised deadline. Failure to meet the revised deadline will normally result in unsatisfactory progress being indicated.

 

  • The chair of the Graduate Affairs Committee is to review all reports and to ensure compliance with these regulations.
  • Students are admitted to the Ph.D. programme at one of three stages in their academic work.
  • Normally they have completed the M.A. degree. The primary requirements in these cases are distinction in their previous graduate work (equivalent to at least a McMaster B+) and strong letters of reference. Admission is competitive; meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission.
  • During their first year of study in the M.A. programme at McMaster students can apply for acceptance into the Ph.D. programme. The department recommends to the Committee on Graduate Admissions and Study one of the following:

(a) admission to Ph.D. studies following completion of the requirements for the master's degree;

(b) admission to Ph.D. studies without completion of a master's programme;

(c) admission to Ph.D. studies but with concurrent completion of all requirements within one calendar year from the date of reclassification;

(d) refusal of admission to Ph.D. studies.

A student in (b) may re-register as a candidate for the master's degree, provided that work to date has met the standards for the master's programme.

Students in (c) who do not complete the requirements for the master's degree within the year lose their status as a Ph.D. candidate.

  • Ph.D. level course requirements can only be undertaken after the student has been admitted to doctoral level study.
  • In exceptional cases an applicant with an honours degree in Religious Studies or a broad and comprehensive theological education may be admitted directly to Ph.D. study. Within one calendar year the progress of students admitted to Ph.D. studies directly from a bachelor's degree must be reviewed by their supervisory committee and the department. The department then recommends to the Committee on Graduate Admissions and Study one of the following: (a) proceed with Ph.D. studies; (b) not proceed with Ph.D. studies but re-register as a master's candidate; (c) withdraw from the university.

A student admitted directly to the Ph.D. may re-register as a candidate for the master's degree. In this case, and also in the case of students in (b), the master's degree is not awarded until all the requirements for this degree have been met.

Language Prerequisites for Admission to the Ph.D. Programme

Candidates applying for admission to the Ph.D. programme will normally be required to demonstrate sufficient competency in foreign languages to ensure their effective participation in the doctoral programme and to facilitate its timely completion.

Ph.D. applicants in the Biblical field should have acquired competence in one biblical language (Hebrew or Greek) and one foreign language of modern scholarship; they are also advised to begin study of the second biblical language, or of a second foreign language of modern scholarship, prior to the inception of their doctoral programme.

Ph.D. applicants in the Asian field should have begun the study of Sanskrit or Chinese or Japanese.

Ph.D. applicants in the Western field should have acquired competence in one of their required languages.

Interested students who have not acquired such competence are urged to contact the department to explore ways for preparing to meet the requirements.

All applications for admission must be completed online. Please visit the School of Graduate Studies website for detailed "HOW TO APPLY" information:
https://graduate.mcmaster.ca/academic-services/how-apply


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 background and proficiency in foreign languages, detailing the courses you have taken, the levels, and the grades that you received for them.
  • Two academic references
  • Official Transcripts
  • English Language Proficiency
  • Writing Sample (an essay or thesis chapter)

RS 701 / Issues in the Study of Religion

SGS 101 / Academic Research Integrity and Ethics

SGS 201 / Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)

Graduate Program Fields of Study the School of Graduate Studies Graduate Forms Graduate Student Life Graduate Resources Apply Now
For more information:
Department of Religious Studies
UH 105
905-525-9140 ext. 23399
relstud@mcmaster.ca
Length:
4 years
Required Credential:
Completed the M.A. Degree
Program Type:
Thesis
Program Options:
Full-time, Part-time
Typical Entry:
September
Current Deadline:
December 15