What are the basic requirements of the MA program?

Typically, students in the MA program are in full-time scholastic residence for six quarters (Autumn, Winter, and Spring Quarters in each of two academic years), meaning that they have the opportunity to take eighteen courses during the program (at a rate of three courses per quarter). They must complete at least fifteen, including Introduction to the Study of Religion and at least one course in each of the three faculty committees (Historical Studies, Constructive Studies, and Religion and the Human Sciences). Students elect the courses for the distribution requirement from course offerings available during their program. The only other requirements are that the student demonstrate reading competency in either French or German (primary languages of modern research) by way of a timed translation examination and earn a grade of at least B- in all required coursework. (Students who will petition for admission to the PhD program must take at least three courses in the area of study to which they will petition.)


What are the basic requirements of the AMRS program?

AMRS students must satisfactorily complete (B- or better) nine courses in no more than nine quarters of academic residence. Students may complete the degree in as little as three quarters, or the equivalent of one academic year. AMRS students are required to take Introduction to the Study of Religion and courses in at least three areas of study, and in at least two faculty committees. AMRS students likewise sit for a one-hour oral examination based upon a paper they have written for one of their classes and revised for the purposes of the oral examination. There is no language requirement for the AMRS program, but students may wish, and are encouraged, to take language classes if they conduce to the student's interests in the study of religion.


Will I have space in my schedule to do language work?

In both degree programs, students are able to pursue language work as part of their elective coursework. MA students, in particular, often dedicate substantial time to language work, especially if they will petition for admission to the PhD program and must consequently propose a program of study that requires fluency in languages of research.


What kind of advising do MA and AMRS students receive?

All students are assigned a primary faculty advisor with whom they meet to discuss course schedules, degree progress, and vocational aspirations. Additionally, MA and AMRS students receive advising from the Director of MA studies, who can be especially helpful with vocational discernment.


May I take classes outside of the Divinity School (i.e. in other Schools and Departments of the University) as part of my degree?

You certainly may—subject to the normal circumstances of prerequisite—and you are encouraged to do so. Students often target this work in consultation with their advisors.


May I concentrate in one of the School’s areas of study?

While the MA and AMRS are officially master’s degrees in the academic study of religion, students colloquially refer to their programs as being in one or more of the School's areas of study. One of the virtues of the MA program is the capacity to balance depth and breadth of coursework in methodologies, disciplines, historical periods, geographies, and traditions, and students commonly concentrate a significant proportion of their classes in one or two areas of study.


I am not interested in pursuing doctoral work subsequent to my master’s program; what do graduates of the MA and AMRS programs go on to do?

Consulting, non-profit administration, secondary education, advocacy, and a great many more things. Check out the Career Services section of our website to explore further, and be sure to visit UChicagoGRAD's Career Development portal.