Graduate Studies | MA Program | Funding | Admissions

Master of Arts in Religion

General Description (not included in the official catalog)

The Department of Religion has developed two graduate program plans leading to the MA degree: a thesis-based MA program (Plan A) and a non-thesis track (Plan B). Please refer to the graduate home for a full explanation.

Disclaimer: The only official information is the one printed in the UH Manoa Course Catalogue. It is also available online: UH Manoa Course Catalogue

Student Learning Objectives for the MA Plan A (Thesis track) and Plan B (Non-thesis Track)

  • Students demonstrate familiarity and developing mastery of the methodologies and theoretical frameworks employed in the field of Religious Studies.
  • Students demonstrate the ability to write and prepare presentations at a high level of proficiency.
  • Students are able to conduct research which leads to either a thesis or a significant portfolio of shorter works.

    In addition to the general outcomes listed above, the following outcomes apply to different students based on aptitude and goals:

  • Student is prepared to enter a Ph.D. program in the field.
  • Student is prepared to teach Religious Studies at the junior college level.

Specific Description (the section below should correspond to the official catalog)

Plan A

The thesis program provides students with an opportunity for graduate study in Asian or Polynesian religions. 30 credits are required.

Advancement to Candidacy: Candidacy may be granted after the first semester after completing 9 graduate credits plus REL 600 with a GPA of 3.0 or better (total 12 credits) and the language requirement.

Required courses (9 credits):

Area requirements (9 credits minimum)

Students must take at least three 600-level courses in their area of specialization (Asian or Polynesian).

Electives

Electives consist of any Religion course (400 level and above, excluding 499), other than those that fulfill program and area requirements. Two complementary graduate courses (3 credits each) from other disciplines may be accepted at the discretion of the thesis advisor and graduate chair. No more than two 400-level courses may be used to satisfy this requirement.

Language

To achieve a mastery of language at the second-year level, students are required to complete two years of a language appropriate to their field of specialization (e.g., Chinese, Hawaiian, Hindi, Japanese, Sanskrit, Samoan, Tahitian, or another Asian or Polynesian language approved by the area advisor) with a minimum B-minus grade in the fourth semester of class.

This language requirement will be waived for students demonstrating language proficiency by an equivalency exam. These exams will be set by the student’s advisor and assessed by two faculty readers (one from the Religion Department and one from the department in which the language is taught).

Language courses will not count towards the 30 credits required for an MA in Religion.

Thesis (REL 700)

A maximum of 3 credits per semester for a total of 6 credits of REL 700, usually taken over two semesters is required. Students must be admitted to candidacy and must complete 12 credits before they can register for REL 700.

Completion of an original thesis, demonstrating a mastery of advanced research, analytic, and discursive skills, is required of all students in Plan A.

Each candidate must form a committee of three members of the graduate faculty, one of whom is from outside the department. Faculty reserve the right not to serve on a thesis committee.

After submission of a completed thesis to the committee for its consideration, the candidate must be present for the final oral examination on the subject of the thesis. After all revisions, as determined by the thesis committee, have been incorporated and the thesis is in final form, the majority of the committee, including the chairperson, passes the student for the master's degree. A candidate who fails may be re-examined once, provided it is done within one calendar year of the initial examination.

After a candidate has taken 6 credits of 700, the candidate must register for 1 credit of 700 in subsequent semesters and in the semester of graduation.

One bound copy of the approved thesis, including the signature page, shall go on file in the department office and must be submitted to the department office at the same time the final thesis is deposited with the Graduate Division office.

Plan B

The Plan B degree program provides students with a non-thesis opportunity for graduate research and study in Asian or Polynesian religions. Plan B is designed for students who wish to articulate the results of their research in innovative ways using various available technologies. In place of a thesis, the culminating requirement is a Plan B Project, an original research project as described below. 30 credits are required.

Master's Plan B Procedures

  • Preliminary conference with the graduate chair for the purpose of determining an advisor, proposed courses to fulfill the requirements, and the foreign language for the degree.
  • Candidacy for Plan B students requires a memo from the graduate chair indicating that 12 graduate credits, including REL 600, have been taken with a GPA of 3.0 or better and that the student has prepared a preliminary proposal and secured the support of two graduate faculty members from the Department of Religion to serve on their committee. Committee members will have the responsibility of approving, supervising, and evaluating the project as completed in REL 688 (Plan B Research).
  • Completion of a research project demonstrating a critical understanding of religion in a particular area of Asia or the Pacific or of a topic within the overall region. The project should reveal original insights into selected religious phenomena or area of concentration. Students will be expected to present the results of their research in innovative ways that utilize the arts, various media, or developing technologies, and thereby show their relevance to scholarly discourse. Research projects will be presented in a public forum during the student's final semester.

Required courses (6 credits)

Area requirements (9 credits)

Students must take at least three 600 level courses in a particular region of Asian or in Polynesian religions.

Electives (15 credits)

Electives consist of any religion course (400 level and above, excluding 499), other than those that fulfill program and area requirements. Two complementary graduate courses (3 credits each) from other disciplines may be accepted at the discretion of the advisor and graduate chair. No more than two 400-level courses may be used to satisfy this requirement.

Language

To achieve mastery of a language at the second-year level, students are required to complete two years of a language appropriate to their area of specialization (e.g., Chinese, Hawaiian, Hindi, Japanese, Sanskrit, Samoan, Tahitian, or another Asian or Polynesian language approved by the area advisor) with a minimum B-minus grade in the fourth semester of class.

This language requirement will be waived for students demonstrating language proficiency by an equivalency exam. These exams will be set by the student’s advisor and assessed by two faculty readers (one from the religion department and one from the department in which the language is taught).

Language courses will not count toward the 30 credits required for an MA in Religion.

The above should reflect the UH Manoa Course Catalogue. Should there be any difference, the Catalogue is correct.

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