School of Graduate Studies

School of Graduate Studies
School of Graduate Studies

Religious Studies



“The School of Religion’s one-year intensive master’s degree provided me with essential tools for my continued academic career. The program gave me a strong theoretical base with which to engage with current issues and trends in the academic study of religion and inspired my current Ph.D. research. The MA program at Queen’s offers an approach to the study of religion that is very student-focused, where student success is measured not only in terms of publications and conference presentations but also in terms of individual intellectual growth and development.”

Ian Cuthbertson, M.A.. 2009

Program Contact

Graduate Assistant
School of Religion
Theological Hall
Queen's University, Kingston, ON, Canada K7L3N6

Phone: 613.533.2109


Program Overview

Queen’s University’s School of Religion offers a theoretically challenging and internationally-acclaimed twelve-month M.A. program in Religious Studies. Students may pick varied courses through which they broaden and deepen undergraduate backgrounds. The program focuses on the relationship between religion and culture (ancient or contemporary). Our courses equip students with the tools to analyze and question issues of politics, culture, race, gender and science in the construction of religion. The program also places an emphasis on contemporary theories and methods in the study of religion. Developing excellent research and writing skills is one of our most important goals. These skills are further honed as students have the opportunity to write a research essay that focuses on a particular religious tradition or phenomenon.


Our program is small and selective, and gives students and faculty the opportunity to work closely together on research projects.

Career paths – employment opportunities

An M.A. in Religious Studies can lead to a variety of opportunities such as:

  • Admission to Doctoral work
  • Public policy research and analysis
  • International development work
  • A career in education
  • Journalism
  • Work in any setting which values an understanding of multi-culturalism and diversity

Graduates of our program have been accepted into Ph.D. programs at Queen’s University, University of Toronto, McGill University, University of British Columbia, York University, University of Waterloo, University of Ottawa, McMaster University and institutions in the USA and UK. Others have worked for private or public sector employers as journalists, public policy analysts, researchers and educators.

Degrees Offered/Method of Completion

Degrees Offered

M.A.:12 months

Method of Completion

Students take one core course and two elective courses in both the fall and winter terms, then write a master’s essay over the summer.

Before graduating, students are required to give evidence of a reading knowledge of at least one language, in addition to English, selected from the languages of modern scholarship and/or necessary source languages.

Fields of study and Supervisors

Students are assigned a supervisor once they have been accepted into the program.

  • Forough Jahanbakhsh: Islam; Modernity and Democracy
  • Ellen Goldberg: Hinduism; Buddhism; Yoga; Theory and method in the study of religion
  • James Miller: Taoism; Confucianism; Religious responses to the global environmental crisis
  • Pamela Dickey Young: Studies in sexuality, religion and public policy; Feminist and queer theories; Christianity
  • Tracy Trothen: Christian Theology; Ethics; Religion and Sport: Transhumanism
  • Bill Morrow: Hebrew Bible; Biblical Interpretation; Violence, sacrifice and religion
  • Richard Ascough: Christian origins: Greek and Roman religions; Religion and Film; Religion and Business
Funding, Academic Prerequisites & Deadline

Funding Information

Basic Funding Package: $13,800 (minimum)

Our funding package includes internal and external awards and teaching and research assistantships. Many students also qualify for Ontario Graduate Scholarships and Canada Graduate Scholarships and SSHRC awards.

Entering graduate students who win federal government tri-council awards are automatically provided a $5,000 top up award by Queen’s.

Academic Prerequisites

We require a GPA equivalent to “B+” on the Queen’s scale in a four-year Honours Bachelors degree program in Religious Studies, or equivalent (e.g. history, anthropology, etc.), awarded by a recognized university, with sufficient background in the study of religion.

We consider all courses taken over 4 years.

Other Requirements

We ask all applicants to send a writing sample (an essay you have already written) directly to the department, and answer a couple of questions on background preparation (on application).

Test Requirements

For international students, if required, a TOEFL total score of at least 600 (paperbased) or TOEFL iBT minimum scores of: writing (24/30); speaking (22/30); reading (22/30); listening (20/30), for a total of 88/120. Applicants must have the minimum score in each test as well as the minimum overall score.

Key Dates and Deadlines

Application Deadline: February 1st.

Notification of Acceptance: March 31st

Learning Outcomes
Nathan TownendNathan Townend
Religious Studies
Is religion something only humans do?