The MA in Religion and Public Life focuses on the study of social and political aspects of religion from multiple comparative, historical and contemporary perspectives. Religious change and social change function together. Social, cultural, political and institutional changes generate shifts in religions, and in turn shifts in religions generate change in institutions, politics, cultures and societies. Such social and religious shifts are not limited to the modern era; hence, the MA proposes to examine those processes of religious change that are embedded in broader sociocultural changes from a perspective of world-historical change. Practically, the course work of the MA concentrates on the ways in which religion intersects with public life in order to examine the interactions between religious ideology and discourse, and institutions such as the law, the state, the economy, or the media.

This program is designed to be completed in one three term year. Students complete course work in the Fall and Winter term while the Summer session is devoted to completing a major research essay.

Admission Requirements

  • 4-year Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Religion/Religious Studies or cognate discipline
  • Minimum B+ (77%) average overall

Note: Students without a prior Method and Theory course in Religious Studies are required to complete RELI 4741 (Theory and Method) as an additional program requirement. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission into the program.

Qualifying Year

Applicants who do not qualify for direct admission to the Master’s program may be admitted to a qualifying-year program designed to raise their status to that of honours graduates in Religious Studies. More.

Required Documents

After you have submitted your online application and your application fee has been processed, you will be instructed on how to upload your required documents in Carleton Central. For complete information regarding required documents, please visit the Graduate Admissions website.

Document/Forms Details
Transcript(s) All undergraduate and graduate transcripts are required.
Letters of Reference Two (2) are required
Statement of Intent One (1) is required. This statement should:

  1. be 500-750 words total in length and indicate your general area(s) of interest and possible direction of your major research paper.
  2. include a 200-250 word elaboration of your study plan in dialogue with Bruce Lincoln’s classic “Theses on Method” in order to illustrate your comprehension of theoretical issues central to the academic study of religion.
Language Proficiency (ESL Test Scores) This may be required if English is not your first language. For Carleton’s ESL requirements and policies, please visit the ESL Requirements website.

NB. International Applicants

If you have received an Offer of Admission, you will be required to submit a Course-by-Course evaluation (WES ICAP) from World Education Services (WES Canada).  You will be notified at that time, if this is the case. Please review your Country specific document requirements for the WES ICAP prior to starting your application. If you already have a WES evaluation (USA or Canada), you can add Carleton University, Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs (FGPA) as a document recipient. Note that the evaluation must be a Course-by-Course evaluation (WES ICAP). Applicants are encouraged to submit all post-secondary transcripts to WES for verification and evaluation upon initial application, regardless of the specific degree that is being requested from FGPA.

NOTE:  Carleton University reserves the right to verify any documentation for accuracy. Verification may include contacting the institution that issued the document, contacting the Ministry of Education in the country concerned, contacting the appropriate Embassy or Consulate, consulting a certified government translator and/or requesting third party verification by an authorized educational service agency.

Application Deadlines

Our program begins in September and students are encouraged to submit applications before the end of February to increase their chances of securing financial support for their graduate studies.

Fall Term (September):

  • March 1: To be considered for funding
  • Applications received after this date will also be considered but funding may or may not be available.

How to Apply

The application process to graduate studies at Carleton for all prospective students is the same and must be completed online. For complete information regarding the application process please visit the Graduate Admissions website.

Financial Support

Carleton University offers financial assistance in the form of teaching assistantships and scholarships to most full-time domestic students. Consideration for funding and financial support including teaching and research assistantships is made at the time of admission. A separate application is not required. In order to be considered for funding, you must submit a completed application (including all required documents).

Current and prospective graduate students are encouraged to apply for Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) scholarships and Ontario Graduate Scholarships (OGS), which are awarded annually to outstanding students by the federal and provincial governments.

Please note that funding from Carleton (including teaching and research assistantships) for international students is extremely limited and is only available to a few outstanding international applicants. Other funding options for international students are outlined here.

For more information on awards and funding, visit the Graduate Admissions website.

More Information

For complete and detailed information about the MA in Religion and Public Life, please consult the official Graduate Calendar.