Area of Emphasis

Students are encouraged to designate a specific research area they wish to emphasize in their graduate study. While all students are expected to take courses that reflect the breadth of Religious Studies as an academic discipline, most students will write a thesis or portfolio that focuses on a particular religious tradition, methodological problem, or emerging subfield. Specialized coursework and research mentoring is currently available in the following areas:

  • African Diaspora Religions
  • American Indian Religious Traditions
  • Buddhism
  • Early and Medieval Judaism
  • Hinduism
  • History of Christianity
  • Islamic Studies
  • Indigenous Religions
  • Religions of Africa
  • Religion in the Americas
  • Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean World
  • Religions of South Asia
  • Ritual Theory

Faculty also advise students interested in comparative work on topics including Mythographic Studies, Religion and Popular Culture, Religion and Gender, Religion and Material Culture, Religion and Globalization, Religion and Ethnicity and Religion and Neuroscience. Students interested in research in other areas are encouraged to contact the Director of Graduate Studies. It is possible to work outside the above listed areas through collaboration with faculty in other departments and programs at the University of Missouri.

Students typically decide on a research focus and identify a thesis or portfolio director after completing two semesters in the program. Students work with the Director of Graduate Studies and/or their faculty advisor to determine what other courses both within and outside the department might be required. By the end of the student's second semester s/he will complete and submit a Program of Study (M-1 Form)  and will assemble a thesis or portfolio committee (M-2 Form), which is normally composed of two faculty members from the department and one member from outside. Some students will also complete a graduate minor in an area related to their research interests. Recent graduates have completed minors in Ancient Studies, Black Studies, Medieval and Renaissance Studies,and Women's and Gender Studies.


Director of Graduate Studies:

Dr. Nate Hofer (interim for Fall 2018)