The Division of Politics and Economics and the School of Religion offers a formal interfield M.A. degree in Religion and American Politics. The aim of the program is to combine the resources of the two schools to facilitate study in a field with growing relevance in the modern world.
Religion is a powerful force in the formation of individual, ethnic, and national identities and in the organization of communal, social and political orders globally. Politics is increasingly taking account of religion as a determinative cultural and social phenomenon in the mobilizing and ordering of relations between societies. Professionals from politicians and academics to journalists and leaders of humanitarian organizations confront the constant interplay of the two realms. No area of human life is more freighted with passion, danger, and relevance and thus more in need of academic investigation.
Scholars will need training in both politics and religion to analyze the web of relations between religion, politics, and society. Fortuitously, the traditional methodologies of political science and religious studies are beginning to merge. Students of politics are taking into account the power of religious identity, and scholars of religion are employing the statistical methods of social scientists.
The M.A. in religion and American politics seek to train students in both approaches as well as to expose them to key areas where politics and religion intersect, particularly in America.
Students complete 48 units of credit (12 courses) over four semesters. Specific requirements include:
PP 481 Quantitative Research Methods
Rel 362 Theories of Religion
Advanced tools: one of the following
PP 482 Advanced Quantitative Methods
PP 484 Experimental and Qualitative Methods
PP 483 Legal Research Methods
Required Core Course
PP 363 Introduction to Religion and Politics
All students are to write at least one substantial course research paper dealing with religion and politics to be reviewed by the Program Committee as part of the application for graduation.
Representative Elective Courses (course offerings will differ from year to year)
PP 301 American Political Development
PP 326 American Constitutional Law I: Civil Liberties
PP 327 American Constitutional Law II: National Powers
PP 302 American Political Behavior
PP 308 Political Psychology
PP 323 Racial, Ethnic & Social Minorities in American Politics
Rel 462 History of American Religion from First Contact to the Civil War
Rel 466 History of American Religion from the Civil War to the Present