Admissions FAQ

Q. How long does it take to complete the program?

A. The program is designed to be completed in 2 years.

Q. What is your program's placement rate?

A. Some of our graduates intend to pursue a PhD in Religious Studies or related fields, others find teaching positions with their MA degree, and others enter varied professional occupations. Over the past 5 years, 46% of our graduates were admitted to PhD programs in Religious Studies and related disciplines. 30% are teaching full-time at the college level, 1% are teaching at the K-12 level and 22% are employed in professions including Academic Advising, Law, Counter-terrorism, and Social Work.

Q. What kind of financial support is available to students in your graduate program?

A. The Department offers a number of Teaching Assistantships annually. These assistantships come with a tuition waiver, graduate student health insurance, and other benefits. Applicants may also be eligible for other university fellowships and scholarships. If you would like to be considered for funding, make sure to indicate this on your application and submit your application materials by the February 1 admissions deadline. For more information about tuition costs and funding support see:

Q. Is campus housing available for graduate students? What is it like to live and work in Columbia, MO?

A. Some graduate student housing is available on campus. Other students elect to live off-campus. The Graduate Studies Office has compiled a guide to living in Columbia for graduate students 

Q. I am interested in applying to the program but my undergraduate degree is not in Religious Studies. Will you consider my application?

A. Religious Studies is an interdisciplinary academic discipline that uses a range of humanities and social sciences methodologies. Applicants are welcome with any undergraduate degree, though if your previous academic training did not include coursework in Religious Studies or a closely related field, you may want to address this in your statement of purpose. Students who are admitted to the program without previous experience in Religious Studies may contact the Director of Graduate Studies for recommendations for background reading to prepare for their teaching duties and graduate courses.

Q. I am interested in applying to the program but the topic I want to work on isn't listed under "Areas of Emphasis" on your website. Does that mean I shouldn't apply to the program?

A. We welcome applicants from students whose interests fall both within and outside the suggested areas of emphasis! Though the listed categories reflect the research strengths of our current faculty, our program is designed to offer comparative and comprehensive graduate training in Religious Studies and is highly flexible to the needs of its graduate students. Contact the Director of Graduate Studies to discuss ways that the Department might be able to support your work in the Religious Studies graduate program.

Q. Does the Department of Religious Studies admit students of every religious background, including atheists and those with no religious affiliation?

A. As a secular Department of Religious Studies at a State University, the Department does not ask about or consider any applicant's personal religious background when making admissions decisions. Students are expected to keep their personal faith perspectives separate from their coursework, teaching, and research in Religious Studies.

Q. I have not taken the GRE exam or I have a very low GRE score in one or more subject areas. How important is the GRE test for admissions?

A. The Department reviews GRE exam results within the larger context of an applicant's academic career and application package. 

Q. My Undergraduate transcripts show a very low cumulative GPA or a semester or two of low grades. Will you still consider my application?

A. If your GPA is lower than a 3.5 in your Undergraduate Major or a 3.0 overall, make sure that your personal statement or a recommendation letter addresses why your grades do not reflect your potential to succeed in graduate school.

Q. I am currently employed and want to continue working while studying for the MA. Does your program support part-time students from the professional world?

A. Yes, it is possible to enroll part-time in the MA program. Several graduates and current students have completed the program while working.

Q. I missed the admissions deadline for the upcoming semester. Is it still possible to apply to the program?

A. Contact the Director of Graduate Studies to discuss the possibilities. Sometimes a late application may be considered, or a student might enroll in one or two courses as a non-degree seeking student and then apply for admissions in the following semester. Courses taken in this manner will count toward fulfilling the requirements for the MA in Religious Studies. Each case will be unique.

Q. I would like to take a graduate course in the Department without enrolling in the MA program. Is this possible?

A. Yes, it is possible to enroll as a non-degree seeking student and take one or more courses in the Department. It is also possible for retirees to audit some graduate seminars. Graduate students in other programs at the University of Missouri are also welcome in our graduate classes. If you are interested these options, the Director of Graduate Studies can provide you with a list of classes that would be open to you.




Director of Graduate Studies

Dr. Nate Hofer (interim for Fall 2018)