At the Divinity School we relish a community culture of intense engagement with traditions, languages ancient and modern, theories, methods, and constructive projects. Critically and self critically, whether your career path leads to the public sector, to religious leadership, to non-profit work or to the professoriate, here you can focus your course of study to gain a keener understanding of Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Christianity and other religious traditions, rituals and communities of the past and present.
We are delighted and excited that you are considering joining us on this scholarly journey of rigorous intellectual conversation at the Divinity School.
Through close reading of texts, students become part of a way of life of debating and defending one's claims and arguments as public discourse. Through critical engagement of traditions, one begins to craft her or his own emerging scholarly voice. We are known for and enjoy challenging each other in faculty and student discussions, whether in an introductory course or in smaller seminar spaces.
Many of our MA graduates pursue the PhD degree. However, because some students will follow their passions into other exciting careers, the MA degree at the Divinity School provides a strong foundation for a variety of other future possibilities, including public policy, law, foreign service, business, and journalism. In short, we foster constructive thinking, persuasive writing, clear articulation, and discernment of the next steps in one's professional plans.
Due to the key role that MA students play at the Divinity School, the faculty has created the Director of MA Studies position so that each of our students in this program can have individual attention. As director, complementing assigned MA faculty advisors and the Dean of Students, I work closely with each student to discern her or his academic, curricular, and professional goals. We work together to meet your academic requirements, provide your specific choice of classes, and offer guidance and resources for your own post-MA degree career path.
Dwight N. Hopkins
Director of MA Studies & Professor of Theology
For more information about the MA Studies Degree Program at the Divinity School, contact us at:
The University of Chicago Divinity School
1025 East 58th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637
Or contact the Office of the Dean of Students, Teresa Hord Owens ( )
All students in master’s programs at the Divinity School are required to take this course.
The academic study of religion(s) is complex not simply by virtue of its diverse subject matter, but because of the many different perspectives from which scholars investigate and define the subject. Scholars of religion throughout the academy engage in research that emphasizes historical, comparative, literary critical, philosophical, social scientific, or ethical methods and questions. The Divinity School faculty believes that the capacity to engage in this interdisciplinary conversation will enrich the student’s scholarly agenda. For that reason, the MA program requires enrollment during the first year of the program in the “Introduction to the Study of Religion” course. Focusing on a selected text and theme, problem, or issue, faculty from a variety of disciplines engage the text in dialogue with the lead instructor and students. This course accomplishes three purposes. First, it illustrates the types of questions that are pursued within the eleven areas of study. Second, it situates these methods and questions in the broad history of scholarly inquiry into the nature of religion. Third, it assists the MA who aspires to advanced study to help define the distinctive character of his or her PhD project, and the group of written examinations that would best enable the student to pursue that project.
Because students in all master's programs at the Divinity School are required to take this course, the conversation is enriched by the diverse perspectives of scholars who plan careers across a variety of fields, from the academy to religious organizations and beyond. Requirements for each course will be determined by the instructor. This course may not be taken pass/fail. Successful completion requires receipt of a letter grade of B- or higher. Requirements for each course will be determined by the instructor. This course may not be taken pass/fail. Successful completion requires receipt of a letter grade of B- or higher.