This 42-credit concentration is designed for students who wish to join the academic study of comparative religions with interreligious dialog, contemplative practice, and personal investigation. Students develop literacy in the living practice traditions of a variety of World religions, with special emphasis on integrating the mystical contemplative dimension with the texts, teachings, and other aspects of the traditions. Students also learn interreligious dialog skills for communicating across religious differences in an environment of global pluralism. Students work with faculty members who are both academically and spiritually trained in the teachings and practices of their respective traditions.
The degree program concludes with an oral comprehensive exam as well as a master’s project paper.
* It is recommended that students complete the noncredit monthlong Contemplative Practice Intensive requirement (REL651) no later than the winter break between the fall and spring semesters of their second year. This requirement can be done in two two-week sections.
** Students can take up to six of their elective credits in courses from other programs in The Graduate Collective that are designated as open to students outside their programs, with permission of the faculty member.
* These courses must be taken in sequence.
** The prerequisites for REL609W are Meditation Practicum I and II, as well as a Buddhist month-long meditation intensive, two weeks of which must be completed before the class begins.
*** Students choosing the Nitartha Institute Shedra Option should complete the requirement of attending a month long Nitartha Institute program in the summer following their first year. This is integral to the sequence of the curriculum. This replaces three credits of electives in the final semester.
This MA degree includes all the course work of the MA Religious Studies degree with the Contemplative Religions concentration, and is enriched by training in either Sanskrit or Tibetan through two years (16 credits) of course work or more.