MA Program Requirements

See also: About Graduate Studies | PhD ProgramFields of StudyGraduate Handbook | SGS Calendar 


Registration materials are sent by mail during the summer from the School of Graduate Studies to all new and returning students. Students register by paying their fees.

New MA students: Incoming MA students will meet with the Graduate Director and their assigned Academic Advisor before the first enrolment, to discuss the details of their programs and to complete their enrolment form.

Returning students: Returning MA students taking course work and language study should meet with the Graduate Administrator during the enrolment period if they have questions about their program.

T-Cards: New students must obtain a T-card, which serves as a student identification and library card. T-cards are issued at Robarts Library upon presentation of appropriate identification and documentation. For information, visit the TCard website.

Course timetable: During the summer, the Department publishes a timetable of all graduate courses to be offered in the coming academic year by faculty members of the Department (including most cross-listings with cognate departments). The list will also include courses that have received approval too late to be published in the SGS Calendar. The timetable is posted on the Department’s web site.  Directed Reading courses meet according to the arrangements made with the professor in charge.

Other courses: Students are eligible to take any course offered in the School of Graduate Studies for which they have prerequisite knowledge, on condition that the instructors and departments offering the courses grant permission. Students are also eligible to take a course offered in the Toronto School of Theology (TST), provided it is an Advanced Degree course (5000 level only), and is taught by a TST faculty member who is also a member of the Graduate Faculty of SGS. For purposes of SGS registration, such a course is assigned the Department designation RLG4001 (Directed Reading: TST Seminar).

The Department’s advising process starts to work as soon as a potential student makes contact with the Department. It works intensively through admission and first enrolment, and continues until a student completes the program.

The potential student’s initial contacts with the Department are usually with the Graduate Administrator. Opening conversations and emails focus on whether the student is prepared for the Department’s program and whether supervision can be provided for the intended subject of study. During the application process the conversation continues, usually expanding to involve the Graduate Director and also professors whose research interests are similar to those of the applicant.

Following acceptance of the offer of admission, students will be contacted by the Graduate Director—usually by email or telephone—to begin discussions about their programs. Incoming students will be provisionally assigned an Academic Advisor, chosen on the basis of supervisory expertise in the student’s stated area of scholarly interest. Before the start of the academic term, the student, the Academic Advisor, and the Graduate Director will meet to work out the student’s individualized program of study.

The Calendar of the School of Graduate Studies contains the regulations governing graduate study and degrees. The section on the Study of Religion gives the regulations applicable specifically to graduate study and degrees in the Department for the Study of Religion. The Graduate Handbook elaborates on the information published in the Calendar.

The MA program has two components: courses and languages. In consultation with the student and his or her assigned Academic Advisor, the Graduate Director approves the courses to be taken, and the language or languages needed to fulfill the language requirement.

1. Courses

The regular MA program requires FOUR full-year graduate courses, or the equivalent combination of half-year courses (8 half year courses). Included in this total are the MA Method and Theory Group (RLG 1200H), 1 Gateway course, at least 1 other Religion course, and the Major Research Paper (RLG2000Y).

2. Major Research Paper

MA students must produce a Major Research Paper, which is credited under the designation of RLG2000Y. The Major Research Paper is written under the supervision of the Academic Advisor, and is usually completed in the summer. The MRP is based on primary research and is usually between 50 – 70 pages in length.

3. Languages

Before completing the MA degree, students are required to give evidence of reading knowledge of at least one language, in addition to English, selected from languages of modern scholarship and/or necessary source languages. To satisfy the language requirements, students must pass a language requirement examination conducted by the Centre. Language courses are not accepted as equivalent.

The MA program may be taken part-time, provided the student enrols and completes all the requirements for the degree within five years for the regular program, or six years in the case of an extended program requiring additional courses or language study.


Grades and Appeals

The regulations for grades and appeals are published in the Calendar of the School of Graduate Studies.