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Master Of Arts in Religious Studies

Why Get an M.A. in Religious Studies at CSULB?

CSULB RST MA Flyer 2015bThe Religious Studies M.A. at CSULB is the only M.A. in Religious Studies offered in the entire CSU system. That make it the least expensive Religious Studies M.A. in the entire state of California. It is a “stand-alone” M.A. program–one of about fifteen in the U.S. –which means that it is not an afterthought or consolation prize in some other degree program. We are going to give you personal attention that prepares you for the next level. An M.A. from CSULB can do what the gravitational field of Mars can do for a space probe on the way to Pluto. You can use our gravitational field to sling you into orbit for a better graduate program (if you want a Ph.D. or some other advanced degree) or career.

Why is this so? First of all our graduated M.A.s have gone on to good Ph.D. programs–@ Heildelberg, Edinburgh, University of California, etc. You have a chance to polish your writing skills and learn languages that make you more attractive to such schools.Good schools want you to have tackled research and target languages. We offer Biblical Hebrew, Aramaic and Syriac, and Nahuatl in the Dept.; Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Modern Hebrew, Russian, Spanish, Vietnamese at the campus

Second, you learn how to learn things fast, well, and critically. In the world of knowledge-based economies, you have the basic skills for any knowledge-based career. You can discern quickly what is garbage, what is fact-based, and what is possible. Our graduates have become entrepreneurs, writers, social activists, and religious leaders.They innovate and adapt.

Third, we take your interest in Religion seriously and know that you want to grow as a person while you are learning. That means, whatever your religious position–from Atheist to Zoroastrian, Christian, Muslim, or Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, or Sikh, Neo-pagan or “None,” Fundamentalist or Progressive–you are welcome here. This means that you will meet people with religious positions that are different from your own and have conversations that you could not have imagined in a parochial program.

How to Get Admitted to the M.A. Program:

General application instructions and admission requirements are available on the Enrollment Services’ web site:
Graduate Programs


The primary criteria for admission are the same as those for University graduate admission. In addition, the applicant must have a Bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies, or its equivalent, and have achieved a 3.0 GPA in the last 60 semester units attempted. Three letters of recommendation two of which should be from the instructors in the undergraduate major.

Persons without the equivalent of a B.A. in Religious Studies may be admitted upon the condition of making up the lacking units through additional coursework.


1. Minimum total units: 30 units of upper division or graduate study, at least 24 of which must be in Religious Studies. The remaining six may be in Religious Studies or another field of study related to Religious Studies and/or the candidate’s educational interests. Each student’s program must include a minimum of 24 units of graduate courses (which can include six units of Biblical Aramaic or Biblical Hebrew), at least twelve of which must be in the 600 series (not including R/ST 697 and 698). All students must satisfactorily complete R/ST 601.

2. A thesis or comprehensive examination.

3. Proficiency in a modern research language (such as German or French) demonstrated by passing either the ETS examination with a score of 400 or better or two years of course work with an average grade of “B” or better. Proficiency in an appropriate ancient research language (Sanskrit, Biblical Aramaic, Hebrew, Nahuatl, Chinese, etc.) replaces this requirement for students concentrating in Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Religions, in Buddhist Studies or Indigenous American Reigions. Exceptions to this requirement are rare, but may be made at the discretion of the Graduate Studies Committee.

4. Advancement to Candidacy is a statement of how the student plans to complete all courses and requirements for the degree, including establishing a date and a committee for the thesis or comprehensive examination. It is best done as early as possible. Students taking a comprehensive examination must be advanced to candidacy no later than the semester preceding the examination. Students writing a thesis are advanced to candidacy at the time they begin their thesis work.

The M.A. Program Itself:

Religious Studies M.A Program

Graduate Courses

Graduate Advising FAQ

CSULB RST MA Flyer 2015b

Research @ Religious Studies (What Faculty and Graduate Students are Doing):

Religious Studies Research and Teaching Innovation in the Humanities GREEN


Religious Studies Research and Teaching Innovation in the Humanities page 2 GREEN