Master’s Plan A

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 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 adviser and graduate chair. No more than two 400-level courses may be used to satisfy this requirement.


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 adviser). 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 adviser and assessed by two faculty readers (one from the Department of Religion 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 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 Office of Graduate Education

See UH Mānoa Official Catalog for complete details.