A concurrent B.A./M.A. degree program in religious studies offers a select group of exceptional undergraduates the opportunity to begin graduate work while still an undergraduate and thereby complete the B.A. and M.A. degrees simultaneously and on an accelerated schedule. The entire program normally requires 5-6 years and permits six credit units to be double-counted toward both degrees. Otherwise requirements for the two degrees remain unchanged.

Such programs are widely available across campus. Departments that currently offer concurrent B.A./M.A. programs include: Classics; Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; EALC; German; Psychology; Economics; Linguistics; Math; Integrated Physiology; French; Business and Engineering.

The advantages of such a program to our students and our department are manifold, including:

  • The opportunity to present an undergraduate program that makes full use of our unique resources as a research university and that fosters meaningful undergraduate research.
  • A path for our best students to continue their study of religion here through a range of courses of increasing sophistication and specialization.
  • A source of in-state graduate students of proven ability to take graduate level courses and contribute to the vital graduate student community in the department.
  • The opportunity to plot extended academic paths for undergraduates that include requisite language learning and study abroad.

Students admitted to this degree program will include exceptional undergraduates who plan to pursue academic careers in the field of Religious Studies or related disciplines and students who wish to pursue more extensive study of religions than is permitted within the normal B.A. degree. Only a few students each year will be admitted, at the discretion of the faculty.

Applicants to the program must be full-time, continuously enrolled students with a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, and a 3.5 GPA in Religious Studies courses. They must have completed at least 24 credit hours prior to admission to the concurrent B.A./M.A. degree program, and must have satisfied any MAPS deficiencies (required by the Graduate School). Applications will include letters of recommendation from Department faculty and will be evaluated by faculty as a whole, much as graduate applications are.

Students enrolled in the concurrent B.A./M.A. program must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and 3.5 in the department. Concurrent degree students may not participate in the Time Out program; exceptions may be granted by the CDAC (Concurrent Degree Appeals Committee) based on a review of extenuating circumstances (Graduate School requirement). Each B.A./M.A. student will be assigned a graduate advisor with whom s/he will meet regularly and will be required to demonstrate satisfactory progress toward degree to the advisor within the framework of the Department's graduate student assessment policies.Students who need to drop out will be required to fulfill the B.A. degree requirements for Religious Studies and the Department will apply graduate courses to undergraduate requirements on the advice of the advisor.

Students enrolled in the concurrent B.A./M.A. program are permitted to double-count 6 credits of coursework, thereby reducing the total amount of RLST coursework to (36 + 30 - 6 =) 60 credit hours. We propose that one of these courses be RLST 6830 Intro to the Academic Study of Religion, which would replace Senior Seminar for B.A./M.A. students, and that the other be in an area of depth concentration. Otherwise program students will fulfill all the normal requirements for the B.A. and the M.A. degree. We anticipate that many B.A./M.A. students would opt for the coursework M.A. degree, but believe that academically oriented students could with proper planning complete the thesis degree. The graduate school recommends a residency requirement for students in the concurrent degree program.

One of the primary sources of funding for M.A. students in the department is appointment to a Research Assistantship (RA) or Teaching Assistantship (TA) position. In general, it is not recommended that B.A./M.A. candidates be considered for appointments as RAs or TAs because they must take a higher load of courses than most graduate students in order to complete the degree on this accelerated schedule and because they are sometimes still taking undergraduate classes with students they might end up teaching as TAs. Therefore, B.A./M.A. students may be considered for graduate appointments only in exceptional circumstances, but they will be considered for fellowship dollars once they reach graduate status.

Concurrent B.A./M.A. Degree

Please note that ASR stands for Academic Study of Religion and SASR stands for Seminar in the Academic Study of Religion.

Asian Religions Focus


RLST 2610 World Religions: India

RLST 2620 East Asian Religions


RLST 2600 Judaism, Christianity, Islam

RLST 2700 Native American

RLST 3400 Religions of Japan

RLST 3800 Chinese Religion


RLST 3020 Advanced Writing in ASR

RLST 3300 Foundations of Buddhism

RLST 4820 East Asian Shamanism

RLST 4800 Critical Thinking in ASR


RLST 5250 Topics in Buddhism

RLST 5750 Daoism

RLST 5820 Contemporary Approaches (SASR)

RLST 5650 Islam in the Modern World

RLST 6830 Intro to ASR


RLST 5780 New Religions of East Asia (SASR)

RLST 5820 Chan, Son, Zen

RLST 5820 Religion and Ecology (SASR)

RLST 5820 Body & Religion (SASR)

RLST 6950 Thesis (4 credits)


SASR courses: 3 x 5820

Concentration courses: 2620, 3400, 3300

Concentration (grad): 5250, 5750, 5820