Requirements

M.A. Program, Plan I (part of M.A./Ph.D. program)
Requirements for the M.A. in religious studies include completion of 36 units (including no fewer than 24 graduate units). All of these must be for a letter grade and include the following:

  • The proseminar series RS 200ABCD is required of all incoming graduate students and must be taken in sequence, beginning in the first quarter and continuing through the first four quarters of residency in the department.
  • In addition to RS 200ABCD, M.A. students must take three graduate seminars (12 units) from three different faculty members in the department.
  • Two additional courses (8 units) to meet the unit requirements must be at least at the upper-division level, and only RS 596, Directed Reading and Research, may be counted from the independent study options.
  • Three one-unit credits of Research Colloquium prior to completing the M.A.

Other requirements include demonstrated proficiency in either French or German and submission of a thesis. Each student will write a thesis under the direction of one faculty member, with final approval by two additional faculty members. Thesis format guidelines can be found at the Graduate Division website, www.graddiv.ucsb.edu (note that strictly following the guidelines is crucial). Faculty encourage article-length M.A. theses, modeled after journal articles for the appropriate subfields of religious studies.


M.A. Program, Plan II
This Master’s degree does not lead to Ph.D. work at UCSB. Requirements for the terminal M.A. in religious studies include completion of 36 units(of which at least 24 must be graduate-level units in coursework related to the proposed area of study).
All of these must be for a letter grade and include the following:

  • The religious core course RS 201, offered in fall quarter only, is required of all incoming M.A. II students.
  • In addition to RS 201, M.A. II students must take five graduate seminars (20 units) related to the proposed area of study. A maximum of 12 units of RS 596, Directed Reading and Research, may be counted toward the required units of graduate-level coursework.
  • Three additional courses (12 units) to meet the unit requirements must be at least at the upper-division level, and only RS 596, Directed Reading and Research, may be counted from the independent study options.

No foreign language or thesis is required for the M.A. Plan II. Ordinarily all degree requirements are met in one year.


Ph.D. Program
Applicants holding the M.A. degree in religious studies (or its equivalent) from another institution may apply directly to the Ph.D. program. Others should apply for the M.A./Ph.D. program, which entails the M.A. Plan I and continues on to the Ph.D. with no reapplication required.

The Ph.D. program in the Department of Religious Studies is designated as Cross-Cultural and Interdisciplinary Studies in Religion. The cross-cultural area of the program is concerned with the comparative study of religious traditions in eastern and western cultures and includes Native American religious traditions. Advanced work in this area emphasizes the study of religious texts and other source materials, requiring philological competence; the study of methodology and hermeneutics; and comparative phenomenological and philosophical investigation.

The interdisciplinary studies area of the program concentrates on the relation of religion to the humanistic traditions of thought and expression in both classical and contemporary forms. Students are expected to do advanced work in one of the traditional disciplines (literature, history, history and theory of art, philosophy, sociology) in addition to preparing themselves in the history of western thought and in a general approach to the theory and history of religion.

Requirements for the Ph.D. beyond the UCSB requirements for the M.A. in religious studies are relatively few. They include:

  • Additional courses as a Ph.D. student’s advisors may specify
  • A four-unit course on methodology that may be taken either within the department of religious studies or from an outside department — the exact course will be determined in consultation with the student’s advisor
  • Three one-unit credits of Research Colloquium prior to the defense of the Ph.D.
  • Proficiency in a second language approved by the advisors, in a language in which a substantive religious studies bibliography exists
  • Field examinations in areas of major emphasis determined jointly by the student and his/her advisors
  • Submission of a Ph.D. prospectus
  • An oral examination
  • A dissertation written under the supervision of the doctoral committee, demonstrating an ability to do significant research and scholarly analysis and to present findings and conclusions with precision and clarity.

Note that depending on the student’s area of study, competence in additional classical or ancient languages may also be required.

Ph.D. students who hold the M.A. degree in religious studies or a closely related area from another academic institution are exempt from writing a second M.A. thesis. However, they must still take 200 ABCD, which involves the preparation of a theoretical/methodological paper each quarter, as well as complete at least six quarters of resident graduate study at UCSB. The graduate advisor will determine that the first language requirement (French or German) has been met.


Normative Standards of Progress in Graduate Programs

On June 4, 1997, the following guidelines regarding standards of progress in the M.A./Ph.D. program were adopted.

A graduate student will be classified as “Track 1” or “Track 2.” The first language required for both Track 1 and Track 2 students is either French or German. Track 1 students are those whose second language requirement is to be met by either French or German(whichever was not used as the first language), or an acceptable substitute, such as Spanish, when approved by petition. Track 2 students are those whose second language requirement is to be met by a non-European language (e.g. Chinese, Arabic, Sanskrit, Navajo, etc.) when approved by petition. Normative standards differ for the two tracks.

Track 1

  1. Passing 200 ABCD in the first four quarters.
  2. Completion of the M.A. before the beginning of the 7th quarter (which allows for work on the M.A. thesis during the summer, but students would have to accommodate faculty summer schedules. In most instances, this means finishing or near-finishing the thesis by the end of the 6th quarter). 36 units are required for the M.A., all for a letter grade, and including no fewer than 24 graduate units.
  3. Advancing to candidacy before the end of the 10th quarter, in the case of students entering at the M.A. level.
  4. Advancing to candidacy before the end of the 9th quarter, in the case of students entering at the Ph.D. level.
  5. Completion of the dissertation by the end of the 18th quarter (6 academic years).

Track 2

  1. Passing 200 ABCD in the first four quarters.
  2. Completion of the M.A. before the beginning ot the 10th quarter (which allows for work on the M.A. thesis during the summer, but students would have to accommodate faculty summer schedules. In most instances this means finishing or near-finishing the thesis by the end of the 9th quarter). 36 units are required for the M.A., all for a letter grade, and including no fewer than 24 graduate units.
  3. Advancing to candidacy before the end of the 13th quarter, in the case of students entering at the M.A. level.
  4. Advancing to candidacy before the end of the 12th quarter, in the case of students entering at the Ph.D. level.>
  5. Completion of the dissertation by the end of the 21st quarter (7 academic years).

As the end of each student’s second year approaches, a review of progress in the program will take place in the form of a consultation between the student, the student’s main advisor, and the department graduate advisor.

Students conducting extensive field and/or archival research, spending a year abroad, or otherwise absent from Santa Barbara for a significant period of research related to a dissertation may petition for additional time.

Approved student leaves of absence, or faculty sabbaticals bearing upon a student’s progress, may lead to extended normative time.

Students with financial aid packages who do not maintain normative progress could lose eligibility for funding in favor of students who do maintain normative progress. Decisions about continued funding may be made at any time, but especially after the second-year review and at the juncture entering the 7th (Track 1) and 10th (Track 2) quarters, respectively. Funding decisions will be made by the Evaluation and Standards Committee.

Students who fall behind normative progress by three quarters will come before the Evaluation and Standards Committee, who will then recommend to the faculty how individual cases should be treated. Note that students who do not fulfill the M.A. requirements within a two-year period may be granted a terminal M.A., provided they have completed the 36-unit requirement.