Religious Studies

The Master of Arts in Religious Studies (RELG) provides a foundation in the history and study of Judaism and Christianity and in the variety of methodologies used to study them.

You will 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.

Program requirements

The official requirements for graduation are published in the UBC Calendar. You must complete the requirements specific to the year you started your program. In addition, you must satisfy additional conditions required by the department.

For the Master of Arts in Religious Studies, you will require to:

  • Complete 30 credits, including AMNE 500 (three credits) and AMNE 599 (a six-credit thesis)
  • Demonstrate competence in one modern language
  • Complete at least 2 years of coursework in an ancient language

You must complete 30 credits, including 24 credits of coursework (normally eight three-credit courses) and six credits for the MA thesis, AMNE 599. All courses are normally at the 500-level and selected from graduate course offerings in the Department.

You may choose courses according to regulations as set out by AMNE and are strongly encouraged to do so in consultation with your Thesis Supervisor and Graduate Program Advisor to ensure all program requirements are met.

Please note that as a student in the MA in Religious Studies, at least 12 of your credits at the 500 level must be in courses in RELG and/or HEBR. Substitutions from other department course codes may be approved by the Graduate Committee.

You are required to attain minimal reading knowledge of at least one foreign modern language in addition to English. Available choices are French, German, Italian, and Spanish.

You will select the language in consultation with the Graduate Program Advisor and/or your Thesis Supervisor. The selected language will be reported to the Graduate 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 reattempted until passed.
  3. The successful completion of 6 credits (one year) in the language. This 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 toward the credits required for the degree.
  4. The completion of a modern language requirement as part of another graduate degree.

At the Department of Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Studies, we strongly urge students to consider early on in their program how they will fulfill the language requirements to further their academic and career development.

Before the end of your program, you are required to complete at least two years of study (12 credits or equivalent) in one of the following ancient languages: Ancient Greek, Biblical Hebrew, Latin, or Classical Arabic (minimum grade: B-/68%). Please note that any courses you take to satisfy this requirement do not count toward the 30 credits required by the program.

If you intend to pursue doctoral study, we must note that more languages are typically required for admission and that these minimum standards may not be sufficient.

We strongly encourage you to take courses in Akkadian, Egyptian hieroglyphs, Coptic and/or other relevant ancient Near Eastern languages, particularly if you wish to pursue doctoral degrees. Senior undergraduate courses in ancient Near Eastern and Egyptian languages can be counted among the six upper-level undergraduate courses that the university allows to count toward the 30-credit MA program minimum with prior approval from the AMNE graduate studies committee.


As part of your degree, you must write a thesis. Your research should commence in the summer of year one, and its completion typically takes place in the second term of year two.

You will produce a lengthy piece of academic work (15,000 to 18,000 words) at an advanced level demonstrating your mastery of core methods and primary materials.

This thesis should be the best piece of academic writing you have done and consequently requires a commitment of at least 312 hours of work over 8 to 12 months.

You select your thesis advisor at the end of their first academic year (before May, year one), 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 you, your thesis advisor selects a second member for the committee and, upon submission of your thesis, the two of them must agree upon a final grade for that thesis (AMNE 599).

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 selected as a committee member. All MA supervisory committees must include at least two faculty members of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies at UBC.

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