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.

Program Highlights
  • Interdisciplinary concentrations are available to Religion students, including American Studies, Continental Philosophy, 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 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 CGU, Claremont University Consortium, and the Claremont School of Theology (CST) libraries, which offer more than two million volumes, more than 250,000 in the field of religion alone.

Program at a Glance

UNITS
40 units

COMPLETION TIME
2 years

COURSES BEGIN
Fall | Spring

DEPARTMENT
Religion

DEGREE AWARDED
MA in Religion

Featured Courses

REL 414HC
Bishops & Orthodoxy

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.

REL 362
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.

REL 462
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.

REL 437
Women in the Books of Samuel

Offers close reading of the stories in the Books of Samuel examining the role and function of women.

REL 306
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.

REL 323
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.

Areas of Concentration

 

Tracks of Study
Track of Study
Coptic Studies
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
Mormon Studies
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
Zoroastrian Studies
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.)

Research Paper
Thesis

Capstone Project
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

  • Ingolf Dalferth profile image

    Ingolf Dalferth

    Danforth Professor of Philosophy of Religion

    Research Interests

    Philosophical and theological hermeneutics, Ecumenical theology, Subjectivity theory, Religion and emotion

  • Nicola Denzey Lewis profile image

    Nicola Denzey Lewis

    Margo L. Goldsmith Chair in Women’s Studies in Religion

    Research Interests

    Social and Intellectual History of the Roman Empire, Gnosticism, Women’s Studies, Religion in the Roman Empire and Late Roman Empire, Late Antiquity

  • Cynthia Eller profile image

    Cynthia Eller

    Professor of Religion

    Research Interests

    Women and religion, new religious movements, methods and theories in the study of religion, religion in North America

  • Gawdat Gabra profile image

    Gawdat Gabra

    Clinical Professor of Coptic Studies

    Research Interests

    Religion, Coptic studies, Egyptian Christianity

  • Ruqayya Y. Khan profile image

    Ruqayya Y. Khan

    Associate Professor of Religion
    Malas Chair of Islamic Studies

    Research Interests

    The Qur'an, Arabic literatures, Progressive Islamic theologies, Women in Islam, Islam and environmental ethics, Islam and the digital age

  • Patrick Mason profile image

    Patrick Mason

    Dean, School of Arts & Humanities
    Associate Professor of Religion
    Howard W. Hunter Chair of Mormon Studies
    Chair, Religion Department

    Research Interests

    Religion, Mormonism, Peace studies, American religious history

  • Anselm Min profile image

    Anselm Min

    Professor of Religion

    Research Interests

    Theology of globalization, Liberation theology, Religious pluralism, Comparative theology, Contemporary systematic theology, Postmodern philosophy and theology

  • Daniel Ramírez profile image

    Daniel Ramírez

    Associate Professor of Religion

    Research Interests

    American religious history; Latin American religious history; Religion, migration, and transnationalism; Religion in borderlands; Contemporary theories of religion

  • Tammi J. Schneider profile image

    Tammi J. Schneider

    Professor of Religion

    Research Interests

    Ancient Near Eastern history, literature, archaeology, and religion;
    Women in the Hebrew Bible

  • Sallama Shaker profile image

    Sallama Shaker

    Full Clinical Professor of Middle East and Islamic Studies

    Research Interests

    Power politics, religion, and culture in the Middle East; Feminization of poverty and global challenges; Islam state politics; Islamic feminism; Cultural diversity; Globalization

Where You Can Find Our Alumni

Interdisciplinary Concentrations

As a student in the School of Arts & Humanities, you have the option of completing one of six interdisciplinary concentrations.

American Studies

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.

View Concentration

Continental Philosophy

This concentration explores Continental Philosophy in relation to the historical roots it shares with Analytic Philosophy—specifically the work of Descartes, Kant, and Plato. Faculty-scholars teach a wide range of figures in Continental Philosophy.

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Early Modern Studies

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.

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Hemispheric & Transnational Studies

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.

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Media Studies

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.

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Museum Studies

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.

View Concentration

 


These concentrations are available for students pursuing the following degree programs:

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David Altman

Assistant Director of Admissions
T: 909-607-1706 (Direct)
T: 909-607-7811 (Central Admissions)
E: david.altman@cgu.edu