|Master of Arts in Religious Studies|
The Master of Arts in Religious Studies is a two-year, full-time degree program that allows students to gain a critical appreciation and understanding of different facets of religion. In close consultation with a faculty advisor, students design a course of study tailored to their own interests and needs. Students may draw on courses offered at UWest to create an emphasis in Buddhist history and texts, comparative religions, Humanistic Buddhism, Chinese religions, South Asian religions, Buddhism and psychology, Buddhism and contemporary culture, Buddhist theology and ministry, or an area central to their particular interests.
Program Learning Outcomes
Wisdom & Skillful Means
Students recognize the diversity and dignity of all human beings and understand their own role in the pursuit of social justice.
Religious Diversity Requirement (3 units): In consultation with their faculty advisor, all students select at least one course in comparative religion or a religious tradition outside their area of focus. Students gain understanding, respect, and appreciation of religious and cultural diversity. A minimum grade of C is required. Students who do not earn a C or higher may repeat that course one time only to achieve a passing grade.
Portfolio Requirement: Students must submit a portfolio of their work to the department for assessment and review. This portfolio must be submitted by Friday of the 14th week in the student’s final term. Portfolio guidelines are found in the Religious Studies Graduate Student Handbook.
Optional PhD Preparation Track
For students planning to pursue further academic study and apply to a PhD program, the following components are optional, although highly recommended. These courses can be applied toward graduation.
The final draft of the thesis or comparable project must be formatted according to university guidelines and submitted to the UWest Library before the end of the term in which the student is graduating. Students receive 3 units of thesis credit, applicable to the specialization requirement, when the thesis is accepted by the library. A student who fails to meet the submission deadline is not eligible for thesis credit.
Students may enroll in REL 700 for a second subsequent semester only with the approval of the thesis committee and department chair. If granted an extension for submission, the student must maintain continuous enrollment by enrolling in REL 700 and paying all applicable tuition and fees through the term during which the thesis is accepted by the library. A student who fails to meet the submission deadline is not eligible for thesis credit. If granted an extension for submission, the student must maintain continuous enrollment by enrolling in REL 700 and paying all applicable tuition and fees through the term during which the thesis is accepted by the library.
Students are expected to complete graduation requirements in a timely manner and to maintain good standing. Students must complete course and program requirements as listed for a total of 36 units with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0. A minimum grade of B is required for core courses and a minimum grade of C or P for all other courses applied to graduation. Students who do not earn a passing grade as specified may repeat that course one time only to achieve a passing grade. All coursework must be at the graduate level; graduate courses previously applied to a bachelor’s degree cannot be applied to graduation. Students may apply no more than 6 units (two courses) of Directed Reading & Research and 6 units (two courses) of independent study towards graduation. Students are allowed no more than 12 units of unfinished coursework (i.e. incompletes and withdrawals) over the duration of the program. Up to 6 units may be fulfilled through the transfer of graduate credit from another institution. Students are required to complete their final 6 units in attendance at UWest. Any pre-approved transfer work must be completed with a minimum grade of B (3.0) prior to the last day of the student’s last term in attendance at UWest. Degrees are awarded at the close of the semester in which all coursework has been completed, the portfolio has been accepted as complete, the thesis has successfully been submitted to and accepted by the library (if applicable), the Petition to Graduate form has been filed with the Registrar’s office, and the graduation fee has been paid.
Full Time: Students who enroll full-time in this program are expected to complete their degree in two years (four semesters). Any request for an extension of the time to degree must be submitted through a General Petition and approved by the chair. The maximum time to degree allowed after all approved extensions is four years.
Part Time: Students who intend to enroll on a part-time basis must meet with the chair to develop an appropriate standard and timeline. This timeline may not exceed four years. Students should be aware that a failure to meet time to degree standards may result in loss of visa eligibility and/or funding support or in dismissal from the program.