Religion and Culture (MA)
Welcome to the Religion and Culture MA Program! Our Master of Arts (MA) in Religion and Culture program examines how religious thinkers, traditions, practices and ideologies inform global processes, social movements, intercultural interactions, community formation, individual identity and other aspects of contemporary life.
Our focus is on the present, but not without knowledge of the past. Our graduate seminars examine the many histories implicated in religious processes to enable a deeper understanding of the place of religion in today’s global communities.
We are committed to creative teaching and strive to foster the spirit of free inquiry, the determination to pose probing questions, and the critical skills and knowledge you’ll need to succeed.
The Department of Religion and Culture has ties to the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and one of the department members is a CIGI research chair. The department also offers, with the University of Waterloo, a PhD program in Religious Studies that focuses on religious diversity in North America.
Faculty Research Areas
Active scholars, faculty members in the Department of Religion and Culture have expertise in fields that include:
- Global Christianity
- Christian origins
- Islam, especially contemporary Islamic thought
- African diasporic religions
- South Asian religions
- Caribbean religions
- Aboriginal religions
- Buddhism in North America
- Religion among immigrant and refugee communities
- Psychology and religion
- Religion and popular culture
- Food and religion
- Gender, sexuality and religion
All students follow one of two streams in the Master of Arts in Religion and Culture: the course stream or the thesis stream. Students are initially admitted into the course stream. Admission to the thesis stream is granted upon the successful completion of an accepted thesis proposal.
All students follow one of two streams in the MA in Religion and Culture: the course stream or the thesis stream. Students are initially admitted into the course stream. Admission to the thesis stream is granted upon the successful completion of an accepted thesis proposal.
Students in both streams are required to complete RE690: Colloquium and RE693: The Academic Study of Religion and Culture, which emphasizes understanding of the world's religions and the academic study of religion.
In addition to RE690 and RE693, course-stream students are required to complete RE698* (Research Project) and four other half-credit electives, at least two of which must be graduate-level courses offered by program faculty. For the Research Project, students focus on an area of study chosen in consultation with the course supervisor.
Thesis-stream students, in addition to completing RE693, are required to (1) complete four half-credit electives, at least two of which are taught by members of the Department, and (2) prepare an acceptable thesis proposal, a thesis, and an oral defence. Thesis-stream students will not be permitted to take RE698* for credit. A student cannot register in RE699 until the proposal is formally accepted. Proposals must follow the departmentally-approved guidelines. A proposal may be submitted any time after admission to the program; full-time students must have their proposal approved by the end of their second term. Acceptance is dependent upon the quality of the proposal and the Department's assessment of a student's overall ability.
Students whose thesis work necessitates the use of a second language will be required to demonstrate competence in that language before the thesis proposal is accepted. Decisions about language requirements and how they shall be satisfied are made by the student's thesis committee, in consultation with the Graduate Officer.
Course-stream students enrolled full-time normally take three terms (12 months) to complete their degree, while thesis-stream students normally take five terms (20 months).
Thesis Proposal Forms can be found here: https://www.wlu.ca/forms_detail.php?grp_id=36&frm_id=824
A student's specific program, including course selections, must be approved by the Graduate Officer. All questions about the program should also be directed to the Graduate Officer.
Winners of major external awards (OGS, QEII and Tri-Council) may be eligible for top-up funding which includes the Dean’s Graduate Scholarship (total value exceeds $10,000).
Eligible domestic students admitted to study on a full-time basis receive an average of $14,500 a year. This support may be made up of teaching assistantships, internal/external scholarships, and/or faculty-funded studentships or research assistantships.
A list of all funding opportunities available to Laurier graduate students, including information about OGS, QEII and Tri-Council, is available on our graduate funding webpage.