Our masters in religious studies program emphasizes religious tradition as a crucial means of insight into contemporary, global issues. World religions deepen how we can understand international relations, politics, economics and more by encouraging conversation that crosses disciplinary boundaries. Our world-class faculty are active, engaged scholars who equip you with in-depth, applied knowledge of cross-cultural analytical tools. We ground religious study in theory while providing experiential opportunities through site visits, service learning, research and study abroad.

You can customize your educational experience by choosing from one of five areas of specialization and one of four degree-completion options (master's thesis, publishable journal article, research project or comprehensive examinations). The critical theory and religion specialization is available in person or online. Graduates from our program go on to attend top-tier doctoral programs in religious studies, while others become valuable contributors in career fields such as business, government, social work or journalism.


Sacred Texts

Students who choose this concentration may focus on texts of one religious tradition, (e.g., Hebrew Bible, the Christian testament, the Qur’an, etc.) or may opt for a comparative approach. In this specialization, students complete advanced study and research on their text(s) of choice and must acquire competency in the relevant language or languages. 

Critical Theory and Religion

Critical theory and religion combine a range of disciplines in the social sciences and humanities with the study of religion. Along with discussing religion in light of the Frankfurt School definition of Critical Theory, this specialization focuses on such topics as race, class, gender, ethnicity and globalization. This specialization is available in person or online.

Religion and International Studies

The specialization in religion and international studies focuses on the role of religion within a global context. Particular attention may be given to certain regions such as the Americas, Asia or the Middle East.

Philosophy and Religion

Students study philosophy of religion as well as specific philosophers in each of the two historical periods: ancient and modern (Plato to Kant), and late modern and postmodern (Hegel to the present). Students have the opportunity to take courses from the Philosophy Department.

Lived Religions

The lived religions specialization involves studying the historical, social and cultural forms and practices of the world’s various religions. These can include Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Latino religious traditions and new, indigenous or African religions.

"Not only was I challenged in my thinking, but I was also supported in how I could apply that outside of my time at DU."

Claire Molk, MA '20

The Religious Studies Master's Offers:

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    A uniquely interdisciplinary approach to the study of religion that allows you to take graduate-level courses across the University

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    Award winning faculty whose diverse interests and active research mean you'll work with scholars at the forefront of the field

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    The opportunity to develop skills that are desirable for a range of professions, such as the ability to apply flexible problem-solving skills to real-world issues, strong verbal and written communication skills and experience analyzing complex issues and applying critical thinking

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    Degree customization, including specialization and multiple degree completion options that are aligned with your career goals


Combining theory with praxis, religious studies provides an interdisciplinary and intercultural approach.

Are you ready to learn more about the Religious Studies MA at DU? 

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Religious Studies classroom

Degree Requirements

  • The degree requires a minimum of 45 credits and can be completed in two years.
  • A minimum grade of B- is needed in each required course.
  • Students declare an area of specialization after 32 credit hours.
  • Students may choose from the following degree completion options: revise a research paper into a journal article, write a thesis, pass a set of comprehensive examinations or complete a substantive research project.

See the DU Graduate Bulletin for full degree requirements. 

Featured Faculty

Carl A. Raschke

Carl A. Raschke

Director, MA Program; Professor, Philosophy of Religion and Critical Theory

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Dheepa Sundaram

Dheepa Sundaram

Assistant Professor, Hindu Studies, Critical Theory and Digital Religion

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Jason Jeffries

Jason O Jeffries

Assistant Professor, African American Religions and Critical Theory

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Application Information