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Graduate Studies Calendar 2022-2023 Program Descriptions Religious Studies RELS
Religious Studies - RELS
Contact Information

Location: Social Sciences Building, Room 558
Program number: 403.220.4831
Fax: 403.210.9191
Email address:
Web page URL:

1. Degrees and Specializations Offered

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Master of Arts (MA), thesis-based


  • Eastern Religions
  • Nature of Religion
  • Western Religions

Feasibility of areas within these specializations depends on available research resources and faculty expertise.

2. Admission Requirements

In addition to the Faculties of Graduate Studies and Arts requirements, the Department requires:

Master of Arts

a) An admission grade point average of 3.30 or higher on a four-point scale and a minimum of 36 units in Religious Studies (or their equivalents), usually including at least 6 units from each of the three streams (Eastern, Western, Nature), as determined by the graduate committee.

b) A reading knowledge of a modern language other than English or of a classical language appropriate to the thesis research. The language requirement normally should be met before admission to the master’s program. If this is not the case, the language requirement should be met during the students’ course of study in the master’s program.

c) Two reference letters.

d) Applicants must include in their application package a sample of written work (e.g. a recent research essay).

Doctor of Philosophy

a) A degree comparable to the University of Calgary Religious Studies Master of Arts with a minimum grade point average of 3.50 on a four-point scale.

b) Two reference letters.

c) Applicants must include in their application package a sample of written work (e.g. a recent research essay).

Students with an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Religious Studies, a grade point average of 3.70 or higher, and evidence of competence in the required languages may be admitted directly into the doctoral program or may be considered for transfer to the doctoral program after the first year of the master’s program. Such applicants must include in their application package a detailed statement (10 pages) of the purpose, field, and course of study to be pursued in the program.

3. Application Deadline

Deadline for the submission of complete applications is available on the Future Students website.

Master of Arts:

Doctor of Philosophy: 

4. Advanced Credit

Any requests for advanced credit must be made when applying for admission. Credit will not be given for course work taken as part of another completed degree/diploma or for courses taken to bring the grade point average to a required level for admission. Graduate course work completed before admission and not counted toward satisfying undergraduate degree requirements will be assessed by the Departmental Graduate Committee to determine course requirements.

5. Program/Course Requirements

In addition to Faculties of Graduate Studies and Arts requirements, the Department normally requires:

Master of Arts (thesis-based)

a) Five courses (in addition to individualized requirements that may be set by the Departmental Graduate Committee at the time of admission).

b) A thesis proposal to be presented to the Graduate Studies Committee for evaluation and approval before the second annual registration.

Doctor of Philosophy

a) For students with a Master of Arts in Religious Studies, five courses are required (in addition to individualized requirements that may be set by the Departmental Graduate Committee at the time of admission):

b) For students with a BA Honours or for students transferring from the master's program, eight courses are required (in addition to individualized requirements that may be set by the Departmental Graduate Committee at the time of admission):

Flexible Grade Option (CG Grade)

The Religious Studies program in the department Of Classics and Religion will not permit the Flexible Grade Option (CG Grade) for any course offered by the Religious Studies program.

Students may not choose the CG grade for a course taken extra to load.

The use of the CG grade will affect students' eligibility for internal awards.
6. Additional Requirements

PhD Language Requirements

Before the written candidacy examination, doctoral students must demonstrate a reading knowledge of at least two languages other than English. At the discretion of the Department and upon recommendation of the Graduate Director, competency in additional languages may be required. The foreign language requirement may be satisfied in two ways:

a) Successful completion (final grade of "B" or higher) at some stage of the student’s university program of at least 12 units in a first language other than English, and 6 units in a second language; or

b) Successful completion (grade of "B" or higher) of a language examination administered by the Department of Classics and Religion or by another department on behalf of the Department of Classics and Religion. When the test is administered by another department, it will consist of a passage or passages selected by the supervisor and/or any requirements that the other department may deem necessary; the test will be graded by the examiner(s) of the other department. When members of the Department of Classics and Religion administer the test, the examination questions will be determined, administered, and graded by two members of the Department (one of whom normally will be the supervisor) who have expertise in the language under consideration. In the event that a second person with expertise in the required language is not available, the Department Head may seek an expert from outside the department.

7. Credit for Undergraduate Courses

Credit for undergraduate courses will be given only upon approval of the Departmental Graduate Committee.

8. Time Limit

Expected completion time for full-time students is two years in the master’s program and four years in the PhD program. Maximum completion time is four years in the master’s program and six years in the doctoral program.

9. Supervisory Assignments

The Departmental Graduate Committee assigns an advisor (interim supervisor) when an applicant is recommended for admission to the Faculty of Graduate Studies. A regular supervisor must be assigned by the beginning of the second registration year.

10. Required Examinations


Doctoral students must complete language requirements, a written thesis proposal, and Field of Study examinations: two written and one oral. For complete details of the candidacy requirements, see

Thesis Examination

In addition to the Faculty of Graduate Studies requirements for Thesis Examinations, the Department requires:

Final thesis oral examinations are open.

Scheduling of the Examination
All members of the Supervisory Committee must have reviewed the student’s research, including a relevant written sample of the materials related to the thesis, before an examination can be scheduled.

Composition of the Committee
The Internal Examiner must be external to the home program.

11. Financial Assistance

Financial assistance may be available to qualified students. For information on awards, see the Awards and Financial Assistance section of this Calendar or inquire of the Department.

Students applying for scholarships must submit their applications to the Department by February 1.