Concordia University

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Religions and Cultures MA

Admission Requirements

An undergraduate degree in religious studies or Judaic studies, or its equivalent. Qualified applicants requiring prerequisite courses may be required to take up to 12 undergraduate credits in addition to and as a part of the regular graduate program. Applicants with deficiencies in their undergraduate preparation may be required to take a qualifying program. Qualifying program students in the Department of Religions and Cultures must complete their program with a minimum GPA of 3.50 with no courses graded lower than a "B+" to be considered for admission to the graduate program. Qualifying students must reapply to the MA program on completion of their qualifying program.

Proficiency in English. Applicants whose primary language is not English must demonstrate that their knowledge of English is sufficient to pursue graduate studies in their chosen field. Please refer to the Graduate Admission page for further information on the Language Proficiency requirements and exemptions.

Transfer Credits. See Transfer Credits in Graduate Admissions section.

Requirements for the Degree

  1. Credits. A fully-qualified candidate is required to complete a minimum of 45 credits.

  2. Program Options. All students enter in option B (course-intensive, with Guided Research Paper) and later have the opportunity to apply for option A (with thesis).
     

Academic Regulations

  1. Academic Standing. Please refer to the Academic Standing section of the Calendar for a detailed review of the Academic Regulations.

  2. Residence. The minimum residence requirement is one year (3 terms) of full-time graduate study, or the equivalent in part-time study.

  3. Time Limit. Please refer to the Academic Regulation page for further details regarding the Time Limit requirements.

  4. Graduation Requirement. In order to graduate, students must have satisfied all degree requirements and have a cumulative GPA of 3.00.
     

Master of/Magisteriate in Arts (Religions and Cultures) with Thesis (Option A)

Candidates are required to take the following:

  1. Core Courses. RELI 609: Theories of Religion (3 credits); and RELI 610: Methodological Problems in the Study of Religion (3 credits).

  2. Elective Courses. Four other 3-credit courses (12 credits), normally including two courses in the primary area and two in a secondary area.

  3. Thesis Proposal. RELI 655: (3 credits). Students must submit a thesis proposal on a topic chosen in consultation with the thesis supervisor and the proposal must be approved by the Department’s Graduate Studies Committee.

  4. Thesis. RELI 690: (24 credits). Students who wish to transfer to the thesis option should have a 3.50 GPA or higher. Once the Thesis Proposal (RELI 655) is approved the student is transferred from option B - guided research paper to option A - with thesis. Each thesis shall be read and evaluated by the student's thesis supervisor and by two other scholars, one of whom may be an outside examine.

  5. Language Requirement. Students are expected to acquire knowledge of the classical and/or modern languages appropriate to their area of specialization. Specific requirements are established in consultation with the Graduate Program Director. Students who intend to pursue graduate studies at the PhD level are also encouraged to gain proficiency in the language or languages of the primary sources relevant to their proposed research.
     

Master of/Magisteriate in Arts (Religions and Cultures) without Thesis (Option B)

Candidates are required to take the following:

  1. Core Courses. RELI 609: Theories of Religion (3 credits); and RELI 610: Methodological Problems in the Study of Religion (3 credits).

  2. Elective Courses. Seven other 3-credit courses (21 credits), normally including four courses in another religious tradition.

  3. Guided Research Paper Proposal. RELI 604 (3 credits): Students must prepare a GRP (Guided Research Paper) proposal in consultation with the GRP supervisor.

  4. Guided Research Paper. RELI 680 (15 credits) consists of writing a substantial research paper.

  5. Language Requirement. Students are expected to acquire knowledge of the classical and/or modern languages appropriate to their area of specialization. Specific requirements are established in consultation with the Graduate Program Director. Students who intend to pursue graduate studies at the PhD level are also encouraged to gain proficiency in the language or languages of the primary sources relevant to their proposed research.
     

Courses

Candidates for the Master of Arts in Religions and Cultures may select courses from the course category listings below, as well as those offered by the Master of Arts program in Judaic Studies, which are listed in the next section. Courses are selected in consultation with the Graduate Program Director.

Normally students may not take more than two 3-credit courses or one 6-credit course outside the Department. Permission to substitute outside courses must be granted before taking the course by both the Graduate Program Director in Religions and Cultures program and by the other Department involved.

All of the general course categories listed below are for one-term, 3-credit courses unless otherwise indicated. A list designating which specific courses are to be offered in any given year, with description of content is available from the Graduate Program Assistant, and on the Department website.

Note: For those courses where the subject matter varies from term to term and from year to year, students may register for these courses, provided that the course content has changed. Changes in content are indicated by the course subtitle.

Topics in World Religions

Courses offered in recent years include: Issues in Islamic Law; Islam and the Other; The Systems of Yoga; Social History of Indian Religions; Women and Buddhism; Hindu Myth and Myth Theory; Buddhist Cosmologies; Power and the Body in Hindu and Buddhist Tantra; Tibetan Religions; Religions of Ancient Iran; and Religions of the Silk Road.

RELI 608 Studies in the History of Religions
This course takes a historical approach and can deal with one or more religious traditions such as Manichaeism. 

RELI 612 History of Islamic Thought and Institutions
This course focuses on the areas of Islamic thought and institutions principally in the classical period. Examples of topics offered in the past are Islamic mysticismsurvey of Islamic religious literature, and medieval Islamic iconography.

RELI 613 Modern Islamic Thought and Institutions
This course treats areas of Islamic thought and institutions principally in the modern period. Examples of topics offered in the past are Islamic lawIslam and the other, and Islam in North America.

RELI 614 History of Hindu Thought and Institutions
This course treats areas of Hindu thought and institutions principally in the classical and medieval periods. Examples of topics offered in the past are Advaita Vedanta,Tantra in South Asia, and devotional traditions of Medieval India.

RELI 615 Modern Hindu Thought and Institutions
This course treats areas of Hindu thought and institutions in the modern period. Examples of topics offered in the past are religious movements in modern India and a comparative perspective on Dharma.

RELI 616 History of Buddhist Thought and Institutions
This course treats areas of Buddhist thought and institutions, often in tandem with other religions with which Buddhism has coexisted. Examples of topics offered in the past are Buddhist cosmologies, social history of Indian religions, and religions of Tibet.

RELI 617 Modern Buddhist Thought and Institutions
This course treats areas of Buddhist thought and institutions principally in the modern period such as Tibetan religions: texts and traditions, engaged Buddhism, contemporary women and Buddhism and esoteric Buddhism in China and Tibet. The content of this course may vary from year to year.

RELI 618 Studies in World Religions and Problems in Modernization in the Middle East and Asia
This course focuses on the modern and contemporary periods and may deal with one or more religious traditions such as Islam in modern South Asia and colonialism in India.

RELI 619 Reading Course in World Religions
The content of this course may vary according to the interests of students. Examples of topics offered in the past are popular Hinduism, Chinese history and religion, and pre-Islamic Iranian religions.

RELI 620 Studies in Iranian Religions
This course may treat a range of religious traditions, including Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism, and the Baha'i Faith, as well as other religions such as Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam in their Iranian context.

Topics in Religious and Philosophical Thought

Courses offered in recent years include: Buddhist Philosophies; Religion and Postmodernism; Religion and Ethics; Jewish and Christian Responses to the Holocaust; Faith and Reason in Medieval Judaism, Islam, and Christianity; and Theories of Sacrifice.

RELI 621 Selected Readings in Modern Religious Thought
This course considers various areas and issues of modern religious thought. Examples of topics offered in the past are women's religious lives and Schleiermacher, Comte and J.S. Mill.

RELI 623 Selected Readings in Contemporary Religious Thought
The content of this course varies from year to year. This course treats various areas and issues of contemporary religious thought. Examples of topics offered in the past are Jewish and Christian responses to the Holocaust and the psychology of religion.

RELI 626 Religious Language
This course provides students with opportunities to explore in-depth issues of religious language, scripture and texts. Examples of topics covered in the past are readings in New Testament Greek and readings in Christian Latin.

RELI 627 Mysticism
This course focuses on specific topics with respect to the phenomenon of mysticism.

RELI 628 Faith and Reason in Religion
This course treats various perspectives on the relationship between faith and reason in religion. Examples of topics offered in the past are faith and reason in Medieval Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, and the problem of the 'Thou' in Kierkegaard and Buber.

RELI 629 Reading Course in Religious and Philosophical Thought
The content of this course may vary from year to year. Examples of topics offered in the past are religion and postmodernism and Buddhist ethics.

Topics in Religion and Society

Courses offered in recent years include: Ethics and Religion in a Secular Culture; Religion and Literature; Religion and Film; Anthropology of Religion; Religion in the Public Square; Religion and Violence.

RELI 630 Theoretical Problems in Religion and Culture
This course is concerned with the intersection between religion and culture. Examples of topics offered in the past are anthropology of religion, masculinities and religion, the Abrahamic traditions, and science fiction, fantasy and the religious imagination.

RELI 632 Comparative Ethics
This course focuses on the various areas and issues in comparative ethics. Examples of topics offered in the past are justice and Jewish marriage and divorce.
Note: Students who have received credit for a topic under RELI 633 may not take the same topic under RELI 632 for credit.

RELI 636 Religion and the Arts in Contemporary Cultures
This course treats the intersections of religion and the arts. Examples of topics offered in the past are religion and literature, religion and art in India, and 19th-century North American art.

RELI 637 Christianity and Society: Ancient and Medieval Periods
This course looks at the intersections of Christianity, culture and society in the ancient and medieval periods. Examples of topics covered in the past are asceticism, gnosticism, and iconography.

RELI 638 Christianity and Society: Reformation and Modern Periods
This course looks at modern reform movements within Christianity. Examples of topics offered in the past are the Christian reformations and mystics, heretics and reformers.

RELI 639 Reading Course in Religion and Society
This course treats religions in interaction with particular historical or contemporary communities and social issues. Examples of topics offered in the past are medieval Jewish communities, millennial thinking, and religion and politics in Iran.

Topics in Christian Studies

Courses offered in recent years include: North American Christianity; Reading Sex in the Bible; Ancient Christian Asceticism; Queer Christianity; Modern Evangelicalism; The Christian Bible; Anthropology of Christianity.

RELI 640 Biblical Studies
This course looks at issues and questions emerging from the Hebrew and Christian scriptures. Examples of topics covered in the past are ancient apocalypticism and Christian origins.

RELI 641 History of Christian Thought
This course looks at ideas, movements and personages within the broad history of Christian thought. Examples of topics covered in the past are history of Church and family; diversity in early Christianity, 400-1700; the reluctant Goddess: Mary and Christian traditions; and Christian Saints.

RELI 643 Contemporary Catholic Thought
The content of this course may vary from year to year within the context of the social teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

RELI 644 Protestantism
While the content of this course varies from year to year, it examines ideas, movements and personages within the broad history of Protestant or Reform Christianity.

RELI 646 Christian Ethics
Topics covered in this course provide an examination of issues, questions and debates within central ethical issues.

RELI 647 Orthodox Christianity
While the content of this course varies from year to year, it considers ideas, movements and personages within the broad history of the Orthodox Christian traditions.

RELI 649 Reading Course in Christianity
The content of this course varies according to the interests of students. Examples of topics offered in the past include same-sex relations, mysticism, asceticism, and saints.

Topics in Judaic Studies

See listings for Master of/Magisteriate in Arts (Judaic Studies) below.

Thesis, Research Paper, Thesis Proposal, Methodology

RELI 604 Guided Research Paper Proposal (3 credits)
RELI 680 Guided Research Paper (15 credits)
RELI 690 Master’s Thesis (Religions and Cultures) (24 credits)

RELI 609 Theories of Religion (3 credits)
The purpose of this course is to introduce, examine critically, and compare a selection of contemporary theories of religion including the phenomenological, the theological, the historical, the anthropological, the cognitive, the critical, and the social scientific.

RELI 610 Methodological Problems in the Study of Religion (3 credits)
This required course examines some of the methodological issues and challenges in the social scientific and comparative study of religion. It looks at both the classical and contemporary perspective.

RELI 655 Master’s Thesis Proposal (3 credits)

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