Concentration in Religion and Aging

Program Description

The M.A. of Religious Studies with a Concentration in Religion and Aging is designed to prepare students for work in professions related to health and human resources. A collaboration with the College of Arts and Sciences Gerontology Institute, this program provides training in religious literacy and cultural competency while students acquire the professional skills necessary for work related to human development.

Students who successfully complete the M.A. of Religious Studies with a Concentration in Religion and Aging will be able to employ the theories and methods acquired in their study of religions and aging to craft a final research project in which they:

  • Identify relationships between the study of religions and aging significant to their own research interests and career objectives; and
  • Articulate those relationships in a graduate-level research project that fulfills the M.A. with a Concentration in Religion and Aging degree requirement.

Administration and Curriculum

Admissions: Applicants must meet the admission requirements of Master’s degree-seeking students in terms of test scores, transcripts, the application fee, forms, and goals statement. Students may earn the M.A. and Concentration without applying to the Gerontology Institute’s certificate program, but students wishing to earn both the M.A. and certificate should apply to each separately either at the time of application to the M.A. program or after enrolling. The Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) in Religious Studies advises students in the concentrations and deviations to the course plans outlined below should be directed to the DGS.

In order to receive the M.A. of Religious Studies with a Concentration in Religion and Aging, a student must complete:

  1. Thirty-six hours of non-thesis course work.
  2. Distribution requirements:
    • Theory and methods requirement: RELS 8200 Pro-Seminar in Advanced Theory and Method
    • History of Religions requirement (6 hours). At least one course in Abrahamic traditions and at least one course in non-Abrahamic traditions. See the list below for courses in these areas.
    • Comparative/thematic approaches to religions requirement (6 hours). See the list below for courses in this area.
    • Religion and ethics/politics requirement (3 hours). See the list below for courses in this area.
    • One additional 8000- or 6000-level course in Religious Studies (3 hours).
    • Gerontology Certificate requirements, two of the following courses:
    • Gerontology approved electives, one of the following courses:
      • GERO 6475 Communication and Aging (3)
      • GERO 8000 Seminar in Gerontology (3)
      • GERO 8124 Diversity and Aging (3)
      • GERO 8200 Aging Program Administration (3)
      • GERO 8330 Mental Health and Aging (3)
      • Or an alternate 7000 or 8000-level course approved by the Director of Graduate Studies in Religious Studies
    • Required elective, choose one of the following approved courses:
      • RELS 6240 Death and the Afterlife (3)
      • RELS 6225 Psychology and Religion (3)
      • RELS 6080 Religious Dimensions of Human Experience (3)
      • Or an alternate 6000- or 8000- level course approved by the Director of Graduate Studies
  3. One semester internship: RELS 6400. In the internship placement agreement, the student and advisors must articulate the placement’s relevance to the Concentration in Religion and Aging.
  4. Submit one paper/project representative of high-quality graduate level research and writing. This paper will be received and reviewed by a faculty member in Gerontology, as well as a faculty member in the Department of Religious Studies. Faculty will assess the learning outcomes outlined above when they review the final projects. The final project review is a formal process involving faculty advisors from both units and final approval by the Religious Studies Curriculum Committee and the Director of Graduate Studies. The faculty advisors review the paper and record substantive feedback regarding the quality of its representation of the student’s graduate level work in the M.A. and Concentration for the Curriculum Committee. The Committee’s members review the comments and paper, and they make a final recommendation to the Director of Graduate Studies. If the Committee approves the project, the Director of Graduate Studies signs the cover sheet that the student submits to Graduate Services.