Graduate Catalog 2016-2017

UDM Academic Policies Course Descriptions List of All Programs Faculty

Religious Studies (MA) | Office | Website


The Master of Arts with a major in religious studies program at University of Detroit Mercy has been designed to meet needs for advanced study of religion in the Detroit/Southeast Michigan area. The program welcomes students from various traditions and backgrounds and with differing career goals. It offers graduate education that requires and develops personal insight, scholarly research and critical analysis in areas of religious and theological inquiry. The program offers four major areas of concentration, in addition to the one course required (RELS 5000) of all students:

Biblical Studies (Must Take One Course)

RELS 5210 Torah and Historical Writings 3 credits
RELS 5220 Wisdom Literature of Old and New Testaments 3 credits
RELS 5205 The Torah 3 credits
RELS 5225 Prophets, Wisdom, and Apocalyptic 3 credits
RELS 5230 Passion and Resurrection Narratives 3 credits
RELS 5235 The Four Gospels 3 credits
RELS 5236 Acts, Letters, Revelation 3 credits
RELS 5240 Feminist Biblical Interpretation 3 credits
RELS 5260 Gospel Studies 3 credits
RELS 5960 Topics in Biblical Studies 3 credits

Theology and Spirituality (Must Take One Course)

RELS 5300 Contemporary Christologies 3 credits
RELS 5305 Introduction to Theology 3 credits
RELS 5310 The Christian God:The Trinity 3 credits
RELS 5319 Classical and Contemporary Catholicism 3 credits
RELS 5320 Modern Christian Theologians 3 credits
RELS 5330 Theology of Karl Rahner 3 credits
RELS 5340 Theology of Death and Resurrection 3 credits
RELS 5370 Black Liberation Theology 3 credits
RELS 5380 Latin American Liberation Theology 3 credits
RELS 5550 Poets, Mystics, and God 3 credits
RELS 5570 Spiritual Autobiographies 3 credits
RELS 5580 Theology of the Imagination 3 credits
RELS 5590 Violence, Nonviolence and Religion 3 credits
RELS 5600 Christian Love 3 credits
RELS 5601 Sexuality and Love in Contemporary Christian Thought 3 credits
RELS 5610 Modern Roman Catholic Theology 3 credits
RELS 5970 Topics in Theology 3 credits

Comparative Religions (Must Take One Course)

RELS 5025 World Religions 3 credits
RELS 5020 Contemporary Religious Movements 3 credits
RELS 5030 Hinduism 3 credits
RELS 5050 Islam 3 credits
RELS 5060 Buddhism 3 credits
RELS 5061 Asian Religions 3 credits
RELS 5062 Traditions in China 3 credits
RELS 5063 Gender in Asian Religions 3 credits
RELS 5070 Judaism 3 credits
RELS 5071 Jews and Judaism in the Modern World 3 credits
RELS 5130 Interreligious Dialogue 3 credits
RELS 5131 Christianity and World Religions 3 credits

Religion and Culture/Ethics (Must Take One Course)

RELS 5010 Anthropology of Religion 3 credits
RELS 5063 Gender in Asian Traditions 3 credits
RELS 5132 Religions and Global Wellbeing 3 credits
RELS 5390 Ecology and Justice 3 credits
RELS 5400 Social Ethics 3 credits
RELS 5401 Christian Ethics 3 credits
RELS 5430 Ethics and Economic Theories 3 credits
RELS 5440 Gender and Religion 3 credits
RELS 5470 Christian Social Thought 3 credits
RELS 5480 Justice: Contemporary Issues and Theories 3 credits
RELS 5500 Religion and Psychology 3 credits
RELS 5620 Religion and Film 3 credits
RELS 5630 Religion, Health and Healing 3 credits
RELS 5700 Sex, Race, and Class: Feminist/Womanist Ethics 3 credits
RELS 5980 Topics in Ethics 3 credits

Each student is assigned a faculty advisor to help design a program which best meets his/her professional and intellectual interests and needs. The program must include an area of concentration as well as representative courses from each of the other three areas. In consultation with an advisor, the student may take graduate courses in other disciplines (e.g., psychology, liberal studies) which will meet particular academic needs and interests.

Admissions Requirements

Applicants to the Master of Arts with a major in religious studies program usually must have completed 30 hours of undergraduate work in religious studies, philosophy or related humanities with a grade of B or above, and meet the requirement of an overall 3.0 undergraduate grade point average. Also, each applicant must submit an admissions essay in which s/he discusses her/his individual background preparation for this program and goals in choosing to pursue the Master of Arts in Religious Studies degree. Applicants lacking in any of the background requirements may be (1) asked to take the GRE or MAT, (2) required to complete further specified undergraduate courses in religious studies, and/or (3) granted probationary standing in the department after evaluation by members of the faculty and consultation with the departmental representative. Those admitted to probationary status will be admitted to degree candidacy after their satisfactory completion of 12 hours of coursework.

Degree Requirements

The Master of Arts with a major in religious studies degree requires successful completion of 30 credit hours of coursework with at least 18 credit hours at the 5000-level. Each student is required to take RELS 5000—"The Academic Study of Religion"—within the first nine hours of Master of Arts in Religious Studies degree coursework. Further, one course must be taken from each of the program's four areas of concentration (Biblical Studies, Theology and Spirituality, Comparative Religions and Religion and Culture/Ethics); and the student must choose one of those four areas of concentration as the focus of his/her remaining coursework.

Students may choose between two options for degree candidacy: Plan A and Plan B. Plan A requires 24 credit hours of regular coursework, six credit hours of thesis research and the successful completion and defense of a master's thesis. This plan is recommended for students entering with a strong background in religious studies, excellent research and writing skills, well-defined research interests, and/or who may plan to go on to a Ph.D. program.

Plan B requires 30 credit hours of regular coursework, plus the successful completion of comprehensive exams based upon the four areas of program concentration and the student's individualized focus of concentration.

The Master of Arts with a major in religious studies degree program does not include a formal foreign language requirement. All degree requirements are to be completed within five years after the student begins coursework in the program. The dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Education may, for a sufficient reason, allow an exception to this rule.

Related Programs
The Religious Studies Department also participates in the University’s interdisciplinary Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS) program. In addition, University of Detroit Mercy's participation in the Michigan Intercollegiate Graduate Studies Program permits students to take courses in several other area programs. Guest student forms are available in the College of Liberal Arts & Education office, however, only twelve (12) credit hours can be transferred in and counted toward the Detroit Mercy Master of Arts in Religious Studies degree. The Department of Religious Studies has a cooperative agreement with the Manresa Center’s internship in Ignatian Spirituality. Further information is available through the Department Chair. Finally, the Master of Arts in Religious Studies degree program has entered into a consortium agreement with the Ecumenical Theological Seminary (ETS) in Detroit, which allows students to register and receive credit at Detroit Mercy for courses taken at ETS.

Program Contact Information

Chairperson: James B. Tubbs, Ph.D.
Briggs Building, Room 339
McNichols Campus

Telephone: 313-578-0355
Fax: 313-993-1166

For more information about UDM, or to apply online, go to

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