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The M.A. program in Religious Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder offers an opportunity for rigorous, intensive scholarship on a wide variety of topics and themes within the academic study of religion. Students who complete the program will have a broad understanding of the field, with special emphasis on issues of theory and method, as well as in-depth knowledge of their chosen area of specialization.

At the graduate level, the department’s faculty supervise study in aspects of Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, religions in America, religions in the Mediterranean, religions in Asia, and several indigenous traditions.


Areas of thematic strength include:

  • religion and the body
  • ritual studies
  • religion and the environment
  • politics, law, and religion
  • religion, gender, and sexuality
  • religion, peace, and war

The faculty is highly interdisciplinary, encouraging students to explore their unique interests in ways best suited to their individual goals. Each student works closely with a faculty advisor to determine the best way to achieve those goals.

Religious Studies faculty maintain close relations with scholars in other departments of the University whose work complements their own, including Anthropology, Sociology, Asian Languages and Civilizations, Comparative Literature, History, Philosophy, Classics, Women's Studies, Theatre and Dance, Journalism, Mass Communications, and Fine Arts. M.A. students may take courses in other departments with their advisor’s approval.  In addition, the Department offers a Dual M.A. degree with either the Department of History or the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures for those students who desire a truly interdisciplinary program of study.    

The Department prides itself on the supportive, collegial environment created by graduate students and faculty. Students typically find that they quickly make friends with others and enjoy being part of the student community, a process that is encouraged by the open and accessible faculty.

Graduate Student Funding Opportunities

2018-2019 Graduate Handbook

Meet the Religious Studies Graduate Students

June 2020, Special Note from the Graduate School: 

We understand that the COVID-19 pandemic has been disruptive to all and that student experiences in the wake of this have not been equitable. In response to these events, we recognize that some applicants will have concerns about the impacts these events could have on admissions. The graduate programs at the University of Colorado Boulder are dedicated to recruiting and supporting diverse, talented students, employing holistic application review processes and supporting students when they arrive on campus. 

We want to be clear that we understand

  • ​students have been facing and will face unprecedented challenges during this time.
  • testing centers have suspended operations, or moved to remote testing.
  • many students and institutions have chosen to adopt the Pass/Fail (or Credit/No Credit) option due to these events.
  • due to this disruption students may not have performed to their usual abilities during times of remote study or challenging classroom adjustments. 
  • some research projects will have been interrupted or will be incomplete as a result of university and facility closures. 
  • many students will be unable to take on internships and summer research programs or other professional development initiatives.
  • there are myriad other challenging circumstances that have arisen in individuals’ experiences.

We will take this all into consideration as we review applications holistically, understanding that our goal continues to be a graduate student cohort of future leaders, full of diverse life experiences and perspectives that will add new dimensions to our existing graduate community. If you have any questions about your specific circumstances, please contact the department to which you are interested in applying, or