Religious Studies

Note: AMNE is in the process of updating the name and requirements of our MA Program. Students should continue to plan their degree for 2021/22 using the current program requirements. 

MA in Religious Studies (RELG)

The MA in Religious Studies provides a foundation in the history and study of Judaism and Christianity and in the variety of methodologies that are used to study them. Students also have the opportunity to explore other religious traditions and texts within a comprehensive worldview that seeks to understand the place of religion in society in antiquity and today.

The official requirements for graduation are always those published in the UBC Calendar entry for the year of your program start date.

All MA degrees require:

  1. The completion of 30 credits, including CNRS 500 (3 credits) and CNRS 549 (a six-credit thesis).
  2. Demonstrated competence in one modern language

Students in the programs specified below must meet additional requirements, unless they have already completed them prior to acceptance into the program:

MA Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology, MA Ancient Culture, Religion and Ethnicity, and MA Religious Studies

  • Complete at least 2 years of coursework in an ancient language.

Coursework Requirements

All students must complete 30 credits, including 24 credits of coursework (normally 8 courses) and 6 credits for the MA thesis, CNRS 549. All courses are normally at the 500-level and selected from graduate course offerings in the Department.

Students may choose courses according to the following regulations, and are strongly encouraged to do so in consultation with the program advisor, to ensure all program requirements are met.

MA in Religious Studies (RELG): at least 12 credits at the 500 level must be in courses in RELG, HEBR, and/or ARBC. Substitutions from other department course codes may be approved by the Graduate Committee.

Modern Language Requirement

All MA students are required to attain minimal reading knowledge of at least one  foreign modern languages in addition to English. Available choices are French, German, Italian, and Spanish. Students select the language in consultation with the program advisor and/or their supervisor. The selected language will be reported to the program advisor.

Competence in a language can be established by any of four means:

    1. Being a native speaker of the language.
    2. The successful completion of an examination administered by the department’s Graduate Committee or, when available, by another department. The examination may be re-attempted until passed.
    3. The successful completion of 6 credits (one year) in the language. This is may be fulfilled with any paired language courses (e.g. GERM 100 and 110, ITAL 101 and 102, SPAN 101 and 102, SPAN 206 and 207, FREN 101 and 102, FREN 342 and 343). These two courses must be taken for academic credit while registered in the graduate program, must meet minimum grades for G&PS, and do not count towards the credits required for the degree.
    4. The completion of a modern language requirement as part of another graduate degree.

The Department strongly urges students to consider early on in their program how they will fulfill the language requirements in order to further their career development.

Ancient Language Requirement

The MA in Classics requires advanced study in Latin and Greek prior to admission. The MA in Ancient Culture, Religion and Ethnicity, the MA in Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology and the MA in Religious Studies require the completion, before the end of the program, of at least two years’ study (12 credits or equivalent) in one of the following ancient languages: Ancient Greek, Biblical Hebrew, Latin, or Classical Arabic (minimum grade: B-/68%). Any courses taken to satisfy this requirement do not count toward the 30 credits required by the program. Students intending to pursue doctoral degrees are advised that more languages are typically required for admission, and that these minimum standards may not be sufficient.

Students in MA ACRE, MA CNAR, or MA RELG are also strongly encouraged to take courses in Akkadian, Egyptian hieroglyphs, Coptic and/or other relevant ancient Near Eastern languages, particularly if they wish to pursue doctoral degrees. Senior undergraduate courses in ancient Near Eastern and Egyptian languages can be counted among the 6 upper level undergraduate courses which the university allows to count towards the 30 credit MA program minimum.

MA Thesis (CNRS 549)

As part of their degree, students in the AMNE MA programs write a thesis. Research should commence in the summer of Year 1 and its completion typically takes place in the second term of Year 2. Students undertake to produce a lengthy piece of academic work (15 000 to 18 000 words) at an advanced level demonstrating their mastery of core methods and primary materials. This thesis should be the best piece of academic writing that students have done, and consequently requires a commitment of at least 312 hours’ work over 8 to 12 months.

MA Supervisory Committees

MA students select their thesis advisor at the end of their first academic year (before May, year 1), with the expectation that work begins that summer. Once the Director of Graduate Studies is informed of the selection, the thesis advisor becomes chair of the MA supervisory committee. In consultation with the student, the thesis advisor selects a second member for the committee, and upon submission the two must agree upon a final grade for the thesis (CNRS 549). The Director of Graduate Studies serves as a member of each committee ex officio to ensure fairness across the cohort. In cases where the Director of Graduate Studies is one of the two markers for the thesis, a third suitable person is to be selected as a member of the committee. All MA supervisory committees must include at least two faculty who are members of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies at UBC.

See also the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies guidelines for Supervisory Committees.

AMNE MA Program Transfers

The department recognizes that graduate students may wish to change programs within the department mid-stream, in order to realize their academic goals better. To change programs, the student must make a written request to the Director of Graduate Studies, providing a rationale for the transfer. The transfer will be decided by a majority vote of the Graduate Committee. Application will be made before April in the second year of study, and will not be approved if the student has failed any necessary component of his or her current program.