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Why Study at McMaster?

The Department has long been one of the leading centres for the study of early Judaism and early Christianity. It has a rich history of scholarship focused on studying Second Temple Judaism, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the New Testament within the context of early Judaism, and Jewish and Christian interpretation of scripture. E. P. Sanders, Ben Meyer, Adele Reinhartz, Eileen Schuller, Stephen Westerholm and Peter Widdicombe gave shape to the biblical field at McMaster. Now Daniel Machiela, Hanna Tervanotko, Matthiew Thiessen, and Peter Widdicombe lead the biblical field in Dead Sea Scrolls, women in antiquity, the gospels, Paul, the so-called parting of the ways between Jews and Christians, and patristic interpretation of scripture.


Graduate Funding

Did you know that there are numerous funding opportunities to support your graduate studies? The minimum guaranteed funding for doctoral students is currently $20,500 a year for four years. Further financial support from the university is available to full-time students on a competitive basis. Some of our MA students receive upwards of $8,000 a year.

McMaster's Department of Religious Studies offers teaching assistantships, various scholarships, external awards, travel scholarships, and bursaries.

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Conferences, summer internships, language programs, teaching opportunities, and research are just some of the ways that graduate students travel. Travel grants from the University and the Department support student initiatives overseas and locally, giving students the opportunity to conduct research and develop professional skills.

Discover Hamilton


Scholarly activities are only part of the total experience of being a grad student. Extra-curricular activities in the Department include summer softball, hockey leagues, departmental gatherings, writing seminars, professional development, and more. Boasting the largest university gym in Canada, graduate-only bar (where you’ll often find us after a seminar), an amazing array of restaurants, and kilometers of hiking trails, Hamilton offers plenty beyond the classroom.

McMaster is situated in Hamilton, Ontario, a city of more than half a million wrapped around the western most shore of Lake Ontario, approximately equal distance between the cities of Toronto and Buffalo, New York.

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Look to the Future

Of our more than 40 students who have received a PhD since 1996, approximately 60% have moved on to hold full-time academic positions, and another 20% to part-time teaching. Masters students have also gone on to careers in the private sector and have been accepted into prestigious PhD programs. Beyond academia, graduates have gone to positions in government, NGOs, and the private sector.

Recent Graduates

Andrew Perrin

Where has your graduate education taken you?

After completing a two-year SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship I was recently appointed to Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and Co-Director of the Dead Sea Scrolls Institute at Trinity Western University, where I teach biblical Hebrew, Old Testament, and Dead Sea Scrolls. I am currently writing a volume on the Qumran Aramaic texts for the Eerdmans Commentaries on the Dead Sea Scrolls series. 

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