The Master of Arts in Women’s & Gender Studies in Religion introduces students to women’s issues across religious traditions and a wide variety of feminist scholarship in this richly expanding field.
The MA in Women’s & Gender Studies in Religion is designed to introduce students to the field of feminist scholarship in religion. Our program addresses a vital need for more scholars whose training addresses gender and identity and how different religious traditions approach sexuality and spirituality. As is true of other CGU programs, the program gives you the flexibility to design your own course of study in line with core courses that will introduce you to important methodologies in these fields. You will study and build close working relationships with expert faculty-scholars, learning side by side with doctoral students as you prepare to become a teacher, enter a doctoral program, or consider careers outside academia.
Interdisciplinary concentrations are available to you, including American Studies, Early Modern Studies, Hemispheric & Transnational Studies, Media Studies, and Museum Studies.
You will meet once a month for an Advisory Group Meeting held in the home of one of the faculty members, thus gaining an opportunity to get answers to questions and bond with classmates.
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.
The program allows students great flexibility in designing their studies while core courses introduce students to important methodologies in these fields
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*
*This estimate assumes full-time registration and pursuit of the degree. Actual completion times will vary and may be higher, depending on full- or part-time course registration, units transferred, and time to complete other degree requirements.
MA in Women’s & Gender Studies in Religion
Introduction to Women’s Studies in Religion
Explores the rapidly expanding field of Women’s Studies in Religion from a multi-cultural and multi-religious perspective.
Major Interpreters in the Study of Religion
Analyzes methodological issues in the study of religion through a reading of classic theories of religion (e.g., Marx, Weber, Durkheim, Freud, and Otto), as well as notable examples of contemporary theory and interpretation.
Body, Gender & Sexuality in Early Christianity
Surveys recent feminist thinkers on gender systems and constructions of the body to explore early Christian literature on asceticism, martyrdom and theologies of sexuality.
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: 1865-present
Explores some of the most important and innovative recent scholarly work examining the significance and shape of religion in the modern United States.
Introduction to Ancient Mesopotamian Religion
Explores ancient Mesopotamian religion and, in the process, unpacks many modern notions of what constitutes religion by looking at texts, religious structures, references to religious officials, and other artifacts.
Additional Program Requirements
MA Unit Requirements
MA students in Religion with a Women and Gender Studies in Religion (WGSR) concentration must complete 40 units and include the following courses:
REL 301 – Contemporary Theories and Methods in the Study of Religion
12 units of courses in Women’s Studies in Religion
12 units of coursework in Religion or related disciplines
12 units of coursework in methods courses
Research Tools Requirement
Fulfilled by passing a foreign language translation exam in French, German, or Spanish administered by the School of Arts & Humanities (the language is determined in consultation with the academic advisor; see more information about the language exam).
Thesis and oral defense
Faculty & Research
Nicola Denzey Lewis
Professor of Religion
Margo L. Goldsmith Chair in Women’s Studies in Religion
Social and Intellectual History of the Roman Empire, Gnosticism, Women’s Studies, Religion in the Roman Empire and Late Roman Empire, Late Antiquity
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.