Jul 14, 2024  
Graduate Catalog | 2023-2024 
Graduate Catalog | 2023-2024 Previous Edition

Religious Studies, M.A.

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The M.A. in Religious Studies program approaches the academic study of religion and religions from a variety of critical and interdisciplinary perspectives, with an emphasis placed on the global and multicultural aspects of religion.  The department offers courses in theories and methods as well as a variety of religious traditions, studied in their historical and contemporary manifestations.

Admission Requirements

In addition to meeting the University’s graduate admission requirements, all prospective students must submit an essay (statement of purpose) that specifically addresses their motivation for pursuing the M.A. in Religious Studies, including some discussion of their research interests and career or professional goals.

Test Scores Waiver

Students graduating with a bachelor’s degree from the UNC Charlotte Department of Religious Studies are exempt from submitting standardized test scores for admission.  Students who have received a 3.2 GPA or above from oa college or university accredited by an accepted accrediting body are also exempt from submitting standardized test scores.  All other students must submit GRE or MAT standardized test scores as part of their application.  Standardized test scores and letters of reference can be no more than five years old. 

Early Entry Program

Exceptional undergraduate students at UNC Charlotte may apply for the Early Entry Program and begin work toward the graduate degree before completion of the baccalaureate degree.  See the Undergraduate Catalog for details and requirements.  Also see the Degree Requirements and Academic Policies  section of the Graduate Catalog for more information about Early Entry Programs.

Degree Requirements

The Master of Arts in Religious Studies requires the completion of a minimum of 30 credit hours of approved graduate coursework.  At least 15 credit hours of this total must be in courses open only to graduate students (i.e., at the 6000 level or higher).  Students have two options for completing their degree:  (1) Students may complete an M.A. Thesis option that consists of 24 credit hours of coursework and 6 credit hours of thesis work; or (2) Students may complete a comprehensive examination option consisting of 30 credit hours of coursework and comprehensive examinations in three areas.  All degree requirements must be completed within seven calendar years of first enrollment in the program.  Up to 6 credit hours earned from a college or university accredited by an accepted accrediting body may be eligible for transfer credit.  Formal approval must be obtained from the Graduate Program Director and the Dean of the Graduate School.

Core Courses (6 credit hours)

All M.A. candidates must complete the following courses with grades of B (3.0) or above within three semesters of their initial admission into the program.

Elective Courses

Students work with their advisor to select elective courses.  Up to 6 hours of related graduate credit may be earned outside the Department of Religious Studies.  Such courses must be formally approved by the Graduate Program Director.

Degree Total = 30 Credit Hours

Grade Requirements

A GPA of 3.0 or above is required for the minimum of 30 credit hours of approved graduate coursework.


The Graduate Program Director serves as formal advisor to the department’s graduate students.

Application for Degree

Each student should make application for their degree by completing the online Application for Degree through Banner Self Service no later than the filing date specified in the University Academic Calendar.

Committees for Thesis and Examination Options

Three-member faculty committees, consisting of two graduate faculty members from the Department of Religious Studies and a third member selected from Religious Studies or another department, conduct the comprehensive examinations and oversee the student’s thesis work.  For those choosing the exam option, one of the examining faculty members will be the student’s instructor for RELS 6101 .

Foreign Language Requirement

Although students are not required to demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language as a formal matriculation requirement of the program, they are expected to acquire competency in and use whatever languages they need to pursue their research interests.

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