The MA Portfolio brings together a student’s training in Religious Studies and prepares them for their on-going professional development, whether that be continuing for a PhD or working in the professional world after completion of the degree.  Each student will have an advisor, who helps the student create a three-person portfolio committee, usually faculty in whose courses the student has been or who have participated in a student’s professional development.  The portfolio defense, to be completed no later than one month before graduation, will involve all three committee members and will be overseen by the advisor and conducted as part of either RLST 6945 or RLST 6950.  

The defense will typically involve the student presenting a brief overview of the contents of the portfolio, as well as opportunities for committee members to ask questions, raise issues, and offer feedback. Students should consult with their advisors prior to the defense to finalize the details of the format.

The MA Portfolio will include the following:

  • Intellectual/professional biography outlining your professional trajectory and research interests (2-3 pages)
  • Thesis or 3 final products from your RLST courses that should include the following:
    • one research-based, article length paper that has been revised to the point that it might be ready for submission to a journal (20-25 pages in length)
    • one literature review essay in your research concentration
    • one other project that can be either a close reading of a primary source text; a second research-based article length paper; an original translation; a digital project; a website; or other project idea, whose presence in the portfolio is explained in the intellectual biography  
  • Demonstration of foreign language competence for those who need foreign language training to pursue professional goals.  That should be demonstrated by completing an original translation, using primary source materials in that language in one of the research papers or the thesis, or by advisor consent.
  • 1 syllabus of a survey course in your area of expertise;
  • 1 grant proposal/cover letter/statement of purpose, depending on your professional path;
  • 1 colloquium presentation or conference paper (which can be one of the above items in the portfolio)

All MA students will be expected to attend at least three colloquia over the course of their careers and to present at least once.