Master of Arts in Religious Studies (MA)

Overview

The Department of Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies offers a unique interdisciplinary Master's program that allows students to specialize in the history and texts of Judaism and Christianity through the completion of coursework and a thesis. Students choose from a broad range of coursework in the archaeology and material culture, religion and mythology, literature and ancient languages, and history and cultures of the ancient Mediterranean and Near East from the Bronze Age to Late Antiquity. In the second year of the program, students write a thesis under the supervision of a faculty member.

What makes the program unique?

The MA in Religious Studies is the only program in Canada to offer students the opportunity to focus on the early religious traditions of the Mediterranean and Middle East. MA students engage in a broad range of coursework and pursue multi-disciplinary research on the material culture, religious beliefs, languages and histories of the ancient Mediterranean and Near East. We have four full-time faculty specializing in Hebrew Bible studies, Jewish studies, and early Christianity and New Testament Studies. Our other faculty in Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies are interdisciplinary researchers whose work regularly engages with religion and myth, including the archaeology of Roman religion and Greek mythology.

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Program Enquiries

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Admission Information & Requirements

1) Check Eligibility

Minimum Academic Requirements

The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies establishes the minimum admission requirements common to all applicants, usually a minimum overall average in the B+ range (76% at UBC). The graduate program that you are applying to may have additional requirements. Please review the specific requirements for applicants with credentials from institutions in:

Each program may set higher academic minimum requirements. Please review the program website carefully to understand the program requirements. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitive process.

English Language Test

Applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application. Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application.

Minimum requirements for the two most common English language proficiency tests to apply to this program are listed below:

TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language - internet-based

Overall score requirement: 100

Reading

22

Writing

21

Speaking

21

Listening

22

IELTS: International English Language Testing System

Overall score requirement: 7.0

Reading

6.5

Writing

6.5

Speaking

6.5

Listening

6.5

Other Test Scores

Some programs require additional test scores such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Test (GMAT). The requirements for this program are:

The GRE is not required.

Prior degree, course and other requirements

Course Requirements

It is highly recommended that students have completed the equivalent of two years' of study (intermediate level) in one of Ancient Greek, Biblical Hebrew, or Latin prior to commencing the program.

2) Meet Deadlines

September 2022 Intake

Application Open Date
05 September 2021
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 05 January 2022
Transcript Deadline: 14 January 2022
Referee Deadline: 14 January 2022
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 05 January 2022
Transcript Deadline: 14 January 2022
Referee Deadline: 14 January 2022

September 2023 Intake

Application Open Date
05 September 2022
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 05 January 2023
Transcript Deadline: 16 January 2023
Referee Deadline: 16 January 2023
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 05 January 2023
Transcript Deadline: 16 January 2023
Referee Deadline: 16 January 2023

3) Prepare Application

Transcripts

All applicants have to submit transcripts from all past post-secondary study. Document submission requirements depend on whether your institution of study is within Canada or outside of Canada.

Letters of Reference

A minimum of three references are required for application to graduate programs at UBC. References should be requested from individuals who are prepared to provide a report on your academic ability and qualifications.

Statement of Interest

Many programs require a statement of interest, sometimes called a "statement of intent", "description of research interests" or something similar.

Supervision

Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

Instructions regarding supervisor contact for Master of Arts in Religious Studies (MA)
Applicants should browse faculty profiles and indicate in their application who they are interested in working with. No commitment from a supervisor prior to applying is necessary, but contacting faculty members is encouraged.

Citizenship Verification

Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.

4) Apply Online

All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.

Research Information

Research Focus

Our research strengths in Religious Studies include Hebrew Bible studies, Jewish studies, and early Christian history and literature. Many of our faculty are interested in historiography, receptions of the ancient world, and digital approaches to the past. Additionally, our faculty have expertise in a large range of ancient languages and we offer rigorous training in Ancient Greek, Latin, Biblical Hebrew, and Classical Arabic as well as introductory courses in Akkadian, Middle Egyptian, and Coptic.

Program Components

MA students complete coursework and a thesis. Students with deficiencies in ancient language study also complete undergraduate courses in Ancient Greek, Biblical Hebrew, Latin, and/or ancient Near Eastern languages (Akkadian, Coptic, Middle Egyptian). Students must demonstrate proficiency in one of French, German, Italian, or Spanish, usually through a translation exam or additional coursework.

Research Facilities

Our students have access to work space in the Graduate Reading Room with exclusive access to a library of ancient texts and seminal scholarship relating to Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies and a computer lab for research and teaching equipped with eight powerful desktop PC computers with dual monitors and a variety of software packages (including ArcGIS, Adobe Creative Suite and Agisoft Photoscan) as well as a 3D printer.

Tuition & Financial Support

Tuition

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$108.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,732.53$3,043.77
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
$5,197.59$9,131.31
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$1,052.34 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $17,126.20 (check cost calculator)
* Regular, full-time tuition. For on-leave, extension, continuing or part time (if applicable) fees see UBC Calendar.
All fees for the year are subject to adjustment and UBC reserves the right to change any fees without notice at any time, including tuition and student fees. Tuition fees are reviewed annually by the UBC Board of Governors. In recent years, tuition increases have been 2% for continuing domestic students and between 2% and 5% for continuing international students. New students may see higher increases in tuition. Admitted students who defer their admission are subject to the potentially higher tuition fees for incoming students effective at the later program start date. In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.

Financial Support

Applicants to UBC have access to a variety of funding options, including merit-based (i.e. based on your academic performance) and need-based (i.e. based on your financial situation) opportunities.

Program Funding Packages

All of our Master's students are funded. A typical minimum funding package for MA students is around $18,000 (domestic) or $21,000 per year for 20 months from a combination of Teaching Assistantships and fellowships. Most students receive additional funding from external scholarship competitions and Research Assistantship opportunities in the department, with the most successful students receiving over $30,000 per year. In addition, the Department provides support for student travel and research abroad.

Scholarships & awards (merit-based funding)

All applicants are encouraged to review the awards listing to identify potential opportunities to fund their graduate education. The database lists merit-based scholarships and awards and allows for filtering by various criteria, such as domestic vs. international or degree level.

Teaching Assistantships (GTA)

Graduate programs may have Teaching Assistantships available for registered full-time graduate students. Full teaching assistantships involve 12 hours work per week in preparation, lecturing, or laboratory instruction although many graduate programs offer partial TA appointments at less than 12 hours per week. Teaching assistantship rates are set by collective bargaining between the University and the Teaching Assistants' Union.

Research Assistantships (GRA)

Many professors are able to provide Research Assistantships (GRA) from their research grants to support full-time graduate students studying under their direction. The duties usually constitute part of the student's graduate degree requirements. A Graduate Research Assistantship is a form of financial support for a period of graduate study and is, therefore, not covered by a collective agreement. Unlike other forms of fellowship support for graduate students, the amount of a GRA is neither fixed nor subject to a university-wide formula. The stipend amounts vary widely, and are dependent on the field of study and the type of research grant from which the assistantship is being funded. Some research projects also require targeted research assistance and thus hire graduate students on an hourly basis.

Financial aid (need-based funding)

Canadian and US applicants may qualify for governmental loans to finance their studies. Please review eligibility and types of loans.

All students may be able to access private sector or bank loans.

Foreign government scholarships

Many foreign governments provide support to their citizens in pursuing education abroad. International applicants should check the various governmental resources in their home country, such as the Department of Education, for available scholarships.

Working while studying

The possibility to pursue work to supplement income may depend on the demands the program has on students. It should be carefully weighed if work leads to prolonged program durations or whether work placements can be meaningfully embedded into a program.

International students enrolled as full-time students with a valid study permit can work on campus for unlimited hours and work off-campus for no more than 20 hours a week.

A good starting point to explore student jobs is the UBC Work Learn program or a Co-Op placement.

Tax credits and RRSP withdrawals

Students with taxable income in Canada may be able to claim federal or provincial tax credits.

Canadian residents with RRSP accounts may be able to use the Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) which allows students to withdraw amounts from their registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs) to finance full-time training or education for themselves or their partner.

Please review Filing taxes in Canada on the student services website for more information.

Cost Calculator

Applicants have access to the cost calculator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.

Career Options

Our MA students have gone on to study at outstanding universities such as McGill, University of Toronto, Yale, UC-Berkeley, Stanford, and Oxford. Others have had career success in the public and private sectors as teachers, university administrators, translators, creative professionals, bankers, and more.

Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats

These statistics show data for the Master of Arts in Religious Studies (MA). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.

Enrolment Data

 20202019201820172016
Applications25224
Offers 1   
New registrations     
Total enrolment12122

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 100% based on 5 students admitted between 2010 - 2013. Based on 5 graduating students from the 2010 - 2013 admission cohort the minimum time to completion is 1.66 years and the maximum time is 4.32 years with an average of 2.59 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
Disclaimer
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each year, May to April [data updated: 22 April 2021]. Enrolment data are based on March 1 snapshots. Program completion data are only provided for datasets comprised of more than 4 individuals. Rates and times of completion depend on a number of variables (e.g. curriculum requirements, student funding), some of which may have changed in recent years for some programs [data updated: 29 October 2020].

Research Supervisors

This list shows faculty members with full supervisory privileges who are affiliated with this program. It is not a comprehensive list of all potential supervisors as faculty from other programs or faculty members without full supervisory privileges can request approvals to supervise graduate students in this program.

  • Bablitz, Leanne (Roman history, Roman law, Roman courtrooms, , Roman social history and law, Roman topography, Roman legal procedure)
  • Cooper, Elisabeth (Archaeology of greater Mesopotamia)
  • Cousland, Robert (classical Greek mythology, Jewish-Hellenistic litereature, Greek mythology and religion, religion and comporary music, film and literature)
  • Daniels, Megan (Classical religion; Archaeology of Greece and the broader eastern Mediterranean; Late Bronze Age to Hellenistic Period; Ancient religion, sanctuaries, votive objects; Cross-cultural interaction; Ancient economies and trade; Divine kingship; Digital/data science approaches to the ancient world, particularly ancient religion; Migration and mobility across Eurasia; Phoenician culture; Ceramic analysis)
  • de Angelis, Franco (Ancient Greek world history, environment, urbanism, developmnet of societies, colonization, economics, ancient literature)
  • Fisher, Kevin (Classical Greek and Ancient Rome history; Classical archaeology; Classical linguistics; Religion and religious studies; Archeological Data Analysis; Archeological Excavation Methods and Techniques; architecture; built environments; digital archaeology; Dynamics of Social Transformations; Mediterranean archaeology; Near Eastern archaeology; power; Social Life / Societal Life; social interaction; Urban Spaces and Urbanity; urbanism)
  • Gardner, Gregg (Judaism, Rabbinic Literature, Rabbinic Judaism, Mishnah, Talmud, Jewish Studies, Jewish Law, Jewish Ethics, Charity, Jewish Ethics, Archaeology of Israel, Archaeology and Hebrew Bible, Archaeology of Jerusalemn )
  • Griffin, Michael (Greek philosophy, Ancient philosophy, Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, Proclus, Neoplatonism, Ancient logic )
  • Huemoeller, Katharine (Classical Greek and Ancient Rome history; Classical archaeology; Classical linguistics; Religion and religious studies; Ancient law (in theory and in practice); Documentary texts; gender and sexuality; Non-urban life in antiquity; Roman social history; Slavery (ancient and comparative))
  • Keddie, George Anthony (Religion, Ethnicity, and Economy in the Roman East; Apocalypticism in Judaism and Christianity; Jewish and Christian Material Culture and Epigraphy; Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha; Archaeology of Roman Palestine; Urban Contexts of Christian Origins; Classical Ethiopic (Ge'ez) Language and Literature; Theory and Method for Religious Studies and Social History)
  • Marshall, Christopher Warren (Cinema studies; Classical Greek and Ancient Rome history; Classical archaeology; Classical linguistics; Film, television and digital media; Religion and religious studies; Literary or Artistic Works Analysis; Performance and Theatrical Productions)
  • McCarty, Matthew (archaeology and art of the Roman Empire and Iron Age Europe/North Africa; ancient religion and ritual practice; interplays between texts, practices, and objects; imperialism, colonialism, and identity in the ancient world; interdisciplinary, cross-cultural, comparative (especially comparison with Qin/Han China), and theoretical approaches; historiography of archaeology)
  • McElduff, Siobhan (Literary or Artistic Work Analysis; Philosophy, History and Comparative Studies; Popular Cultures Produced and Broadcasted by Media; Translation History (pre-modern); Translation and gesture; Cheap literature and classical reception; Book history (18th, 19th centuries); Ballads)
  • Milstein, Sara (Classical Greek and Ancient Rome history; Classical archaeology; Classical linguistics; Religion and religious studies; biblical and cuneiform law; Hebrew Bible and Near Eastern Studies; History of Major Eras, Great Civilisations or Geographical Corpuses; literary history of the Bible; Literary or Artistic Works Analysis; Mesopotamian literature; Near Eastern scribal culture; Religious Contexts)
  • Schneider, Thomas (Egyptian history and phonoly)
  • Yoon, Florence (heralds and the representation of the absent; anonymity and naming, particularly in Greek Tragedy; props and silent characters in Greek drama)

Further Information

Specialization

The following areas of concentration are offered in the Master's program: Biblical Studies; Christian Thought and Institutions; History of Religions; Islamic Studies; and Judaic Studies. The Ph.D. program at present provides training in Early Judaism, Christian Origins, and Religions of the Late Antique Mediterranean.

Faculty Overview

Program Identifier

VGMMAA-VC
 

Apply Now

If you don't have a UBC Campus-Wide Login (CWL) please create an account first.
 

September 2022 Intake

Application Open Date
05 September 2021
Canadian Applicant Deadline
05 January 2022
International Applicant Deadline
05 January 2022

September 2023 Intake

Application Open Date
05 September 2022
Canadian Applicant Deadline
05 January 2023
International Applicant Deadline
05 January 2023
 
Supervisor Search
 

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