Orange Alert

M.A. in Religion

The M.A. application/admissions have been suspended until further notice. The Religion Department is in the process of restructuring its M.A. program.

Overview of the M.A. in Religion

Graduate students in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University forge unique, creative, and rigorous programs of study that emphasize both research and teaching.

The study of religion at Syracuse focuses on the category “religion” as an intellectually provocative and problematic concept rather than simply as a descriptive, institutional, or phenomenological label. The Department takes two premises as fundamental to its educational program:

  1. study of religion must be interdisciplinary, and
  2. study of religion must investigate the material, textual, historical, and cultural dimensions of religions as well as the theories used to produce and analyze them.

Students are admitted to the M.A. program in Religion to conduct innovative and interdisciplinary research in one concentration and one traditional or regional religious culture. They must do course work in other concentrations and religious cultures as well.

Concentration Areas

The Department offers three concentrations in the following interrelated areas of the study of religion that align with the distinctive research profile of its faculty. Each concentration gives sustained attention to religion, theory, bodies, gender and materiality.

COMMUNITIES AND IDENTITIES explores religion and spirituality in modern societies, both local and global, through the lenses of anthropology of religion and history of religions.

CRITIQUE, IMAGE AND POLITICS explores how religions shape and are shaped in aesthetics, ethics, psychology, sociology, philosophy, and political and culture theory.

TEXTS AND CONTEXTS explores literary and performative expressions of religion, including scriptures, through the lenses of history, philosophy, literary theory and rhetoric.

Students are admitted to graduate study in the Department of Religion to conduct innovative and interdisciplinary research in one concentration and one traditional or regional religious culture. Currently the department can support study of the following traditional or regional religious cultures:

  • African American
  • American
  • Buddhist
  • Christian
  • East Asian
  • Hindu
  • Indigenous
  • Jewish
  • Middle Eastern
  • Muslim
  • South Asian

Students must follow their concentration’s curriculum throughout their course work. They will also be encouraged to take course work in other concentrations and other departments, as appropriate for their research interests and as approved by their advisor. They must also take the two-semester seminar on theories and methods in the study of religion (REL 601-603).

Our faculty all engage in one or more of the graduate research concentrations. For further information, see the faculty lists on each concentration’s page and the individual faculty pages. Graduate students develop a close intellectual relationship with the faculty in their chosen concentration(s), and also collaborate with faculty outside their concentrations for advice on pedagogy, grant proposals and professional development.


In addition to completing the application, available at the Graduate School, the following are also required: 

  • Transcripts from all previous institutions (official transcripts must be sent to the Department of Religion).
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation
  • Personal Statement of not more than 1000 words, including your choice of concentration and religious culture to study at SU
  • Writing Sample of not more than 20 pages.
  • GRE scores are waived for Fall 2022 applications*
  • TOEFL scores (for applicants whose first language is not English)

Financial Support

Most students admitted to the M.A. program receive full tuition scholarships. Many also receive University Fellowship stipends.