The Master of Arts in Religion trains you in the knowledge and tools necessary to shape the study of religion in the 21st century and apply those tools to productive careers in or outside the academy.
The Master of Arts program in Religion offers a strong foundation in scholarly religious research, including but also transcending considerations of particular communities of belief and practice. Faculty-scholars conduct innovative research advancing the critical scholarly analysis of religious studies, history, philosophy, theology, archaeology, Near Eastern studies, peace studies, and more. The department trains graduate students using small classes and a flexible curriculum.
Interdisciplinary concentrations are available to Religion students, including American Studies, Early Modern Studies, Hemispheric & Transnational Studies, Media Studies, and Museum Studies.
You can take courses and interact with faculty and students in other CGU departments and at The Claremont Colleges in such areas as Asian religions, African American religions, New Testament, women’s and gender studies, and U.S. history.
Thanks to CGU’s Los Angeles location, you will study in one of the most religiously and culturally diverse cities in country.
You will have access to the libraries of CGU and Claremont University Consortium which offer more than two million volumes – more than 250,000 in the field of religion alone.
Program at a Glance
ESTIMATED COMPLETION TIME*
*Program completion times may vary depending on course registration, units transferred, and time to complete other degree requirements.
Investigates the politics of theology in the formation and evolution of orthodoxy through episcopal letters, canons of church councils, ordination liturgies, and biographies of famous bishops.
Theories of Religion
Takes an in-depth survey of the major theories of religion as they are portrayed through some of their influential interpreters in the post-Enlightenment West.
Religion in America: 1600-1865
Surveys major themes and issues in early American religious history, from Puritanism and Native American religion to growing religious diversity in the new nation.
Women in the Books of Samuel
Offers close reading of the stories in the Books of Samuel examining the role and function of women.
Egyptian Christianity & Monasticism Under Islamic Rule
Introduces the history and legacy of Christianity in Egypt under Islamic dynasties from the attitude of Muslim rulers toward the Copts and Egypt’s monastic heritage to the present day.
The Origins & Influences of the Zoroastrian Tradition
Examines the background and beginnings of the Zoroastrian religion and its role in the three great Iranian Empires: Ancient Persian, Parthian, and Sasanian.
Tracks of Study
Track of Study
The Coptic Studies curriculum provides a comprehensive survey of the religion’s influential history and current membership and is an invaluable contribution to such degree programs as the History of Christianity or Philosophy and Religious Theology. Courses include a Coptic literature seminar, “The Religious Heritage of Egypt,” “Coptic Art & Archaeology,” and “Christianity in Egypt: History & Culture.”
Track of Study
Mormonism is fully explored—in all its breadth and depth—in courses taught by a faculty that includes one of America’s leading Mormon scholars. In an atmosphere of inquiry that respects all faiths, our master’s and doctoral students pursue original research while enrolled in such degree programs as the History of Christianity and Religions of North America.
Track of Study
Supported by our robust Zoroastrian Studies Council, the School of Religion established programming in Zoroastrian Studies so that master’s and doctoral students could explore the religion’s historical influence, impact, and customs. Courses examine the cosmology, eschatology, ethics, and rituals of this oldest of prophetic religions, as well as its relationship with other religions and philosophies.
Additional Program Requirements
Research Tools Requirement
Fulfilled by passing a foreign language translation exam administered by the School of Arts & Humanities. In some cases, with advisor approval, the Research Tool may be fulfilled by completing an approved research methods course. (Language is determined in consultation with the academic advisor.)
Your capstone project for this program, a substantial research paper dealing with religion and politics, allows you to demonstrate what you’ve learned and display your professional proficiency and readiness to step into the field.
Faculty & Research
Associate Professor of Religion and History
Howard W. Hunter Chair of Mormon Studies
Mormonism, new religious movements, evangelicalism, religion and American politics
Dean, School of Arts & Humanities
Director, Early Modern Studies Program
Director, Kingsley & Kate Tufts Poetry Awards
English Renaissance and Reformation Literature; Early Modern British and European History; Reformation Studies, Protestantism, the Bible and English-language Culture; the Bible in America; William Shakespeare
Professor of Religion
Malas Chair of Islamic Studies
The Qur'an, Arabic literatures, progressive Islamic theologies, women in Islam, Islam and environmental ethics, Islam and the digital age, late antiquity and Islam, origins of Islam, cultures of Umayyad Damascus and Abbasid Baghdad
As a student in the School of Arts & Humanities, you have the option of completing one of five interdisciplinary concentrations.
The American Studies concentration takes a multidisciplinary approach to the study of United States culture, society, civilization, and identity through the curricular lenses of history, literature, critical theory, and more.
The Early Modern Studies concentration undertakes interdisciplinary examination of history, culture, politics, and society within the transitional and transformative period that stretched between Medieval and modern societies, marked especially by the advent of print, Christian confessional war, and the rise of the modern state.
A comparative analysis of culture in the Americas, the concentration in Hemispheric & Transnational Studies explores how scholarship on the Atlantic, borderlands, and diaspora have reshaped U.S. American Studies, Caribbean Studies, and Latin American Studies, emphasizing the topics of empire, race, religion, and revolution.
Situated at the bustling intersection of cultural studies, new media, critical theory, and popular culture, the burgeoning field of Media Studies examines the creative and critical practices of media consumers, producers, artists, and scholars, focusing on questions of representation, power, technology, politics, and economy.
The Museum Studies concentration investigates the history and political role of museums in society, the interpretation and display of a wide variety of cultural productions, and topics of special concern to museums as cultural organizations, using a multidisciplinary, practice-based approach to understand the historical development of this evolving field.