Suggested Course of Study

Students enrolled in the M.A. program may follow similar paths whether working on a thesis or portfolio. This model scenario describes the typical plan for a student enrolled full-time in the program who has been awarded a Teaching Assistantship. To graduate, students must complete at least 30 credit hours of graduate study, of which 24 must be taken in residence and no more than 40% may be problems, directed readings, or thesis hours ( REL ST 7990  and REL ST 8090 ). At least 12 of these credit hours must be at the 8000 level.


Before Your First Semester

  • Download the Comprehensive Examination Reading List
  • Schedule an Advising meeting with the Director of Graduate Studies
  • If you will be working as a Teaching Assistant, pick up desk copies of course books and meet the professor with whom you will be working
  • Enroll for Classes
  • Set up your MU Username (Pawprint) and start checking your new email account
  • Register for Health Insurance. Graduate students should enroll in a health insurance plan and students and their families are eligible for a University of Missouri health insurance plan. Fees are paid by year or semester.  Graduate Students with a funding package that includes a Teaching or Research Assistantship are eligible for subsidized health insurance
  • Make sure you have all of your immunization records and that you meet all medical requirements to ensure you can enroll at MU.  
  • Register for a parking permit for your automobile or bicycle, or arrange for a bus pass

  • Get your Mizzou ID Card (TigerCard)

  • Visit the Religious Studies Department in A&S 221 to get your keys, sign paperwork, and to meet everyone.

  • Plan to attend Graduate Student Orientation, Department Orientation, and any other relevant orientations. The Director of Graduate Studies will send you information about orientation and welcome events.

  • Meet with the Director of Graduate Studies to discuss your course selections for the Fall semester.

Year 1 Fall Semester:

  • Enroll in 3 graduate seminars, including the introductory seminar in Theory and Method in Religious Studies.
  • Remember that you are expected to attend lectures for the class you are assigned to as a TA or Grader and to hold scheduled office hours
  • Begin studying for the Comprehensive Examination with your cohort.
  • Discuss your language training plans with the Director of Graduate Studies. You may decide to register for a class to learn a research language this semester.

Spring Semester:

  • Enroll in 3 graduate seminars or directed readings courses and continue to fulfill your professional teaching duties.
  • Keep studying for the Comprehensive Examination.
  • Begin talking with possible advisors about your research interests and thinking about whether you would like to write a thesis or a portfolio.
  • Complete and submit the M1 form and the Declaration of Advisor forms by the end of the semester. If you are interested in working on a graduate minor, this would be a good time to meet the director of that program and make sure that the courses for that minor are included on your M1 form.

Late May: Take the Comprehensive Examination

Summer Semester:

Summer plans will vary according to each student's goals. Some options include working on your thesis or portfolio research, enrolling in an intensive language study program, and taking a summer course. Students who fail the Comprehensive Examination may retake it at the end of the Summer.

Year 2

Fall Semester:

  • Enroll in graduate seminars, directed readings, or thesis hours.
  • Continue to fulfill your professional teaching duties.
  • Begin working closely with your advisor to develop a plan for your thesis or portfolio.
  • Talk with faculty in the Department and in other programs about serving on your thesis or portfolio committee.

Spring Semester:

  • Discuss your coursework plans with your advisor and make sure that you are enrolled in enough credit hours (including thesis hours and directed readings) to graduate on schedule.
  • Continue to fulfill your professional teaching duties.
  • Finish writing, revising, and editing your thesis or portfolio.
  • Consult the Graduate Studies Timeline for Graduation, noting all dates and deadlines.
  • Complete the online application for graduation, file the M2 form (if you are writing a thesis) and consult your advisor and all committee members about scheduling a thesis or portfolio defense.
  • Agree on a deadline to send a final draft of your thesis or portfolio to the committee. This is usually three weeks prior to the defense date.
  • When your committee agrees to a defense date, the Department's administrative staff will help you reserve a room for the event.
  • Invite friends and family to your defense.
  • Defend your thesis or portfolio.
  • File your signed M3 form and submit your thesis or portfolio to the Office of Graduate Studies.
  • Graduate in May with an M. A. in Religious Studies
Contact: 

Director of Graduate Studies:

Dr. Nate Hofer (interim for Fall 2018)

573-882-0058 hofern@missouri.edu