Joint Master's Program

The Department of Religion at the University of Manitoba and the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Winnipeg offer a Joint Master of Arts Program (JMP) in Religion. This program is administered by the Joint Discipline Committee (JDC). The Chair of the JDC is the Graduate Chair in Religion at the University of Manitoba. Administration of the JMP takes place at the University of Manitoba through the Chair of the JDC.

Entrance Requirements

Eligible for admission to the JMP in Religion are graduates of the University of Manitoba holding a B. A. (Honours) degree in Religion; graduates of the University of Winnipeg holding a B.A. (four-year) in Religious Studies; students who hold degrees equivalent to the B.A. (Honours) in Religion from other recognized universities or colleges; students who have completed a recognized Pre-Master's program in Religion. Students who have courses with equivalent content or cognate courses in recognized departments or faculties other than Religion or Religious Studies may be given credit for up to 12 credit hours towards admission.

To be eligible for admission, applicants must have the following:

  • a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 in their last 60 credit hours of study;
  • successful completion of a total of 60 credit hours in Religion;
  • breadth of preparation, that is, courses completed in each of three areas: A (Western Religions), B (World Religions), and C (Religion and Culture);
  • at least 6 currently-relevant credit hours in methodology: 3 credit hours in methodology for the study of Eastern Religions and 3 credit hours in methodology for the study of Western Religions (NOTE: Students admitted to the MA program without current methodology credits will be required to complete these in addition to credit hours specified for completion of MA program of study).

Financial Assistance

Graduate students may apply to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Research Grant.  Applications, and all appending documents, must be received in the Department of Religion no later than October 15.  Application forms and further information can be obtained from:  http://www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca/

Those individuals who are applying for the University of Manitoba Graduate Scholarship (UMGF)  must apply by January 15th.  Completed applications, and supporting documents, are to mailed directly to the Department of Religion, 328 Fletcher Argue Building, University of Manitoba, Winnipg MB Canada, R3T 5V5.  Click here for application form.

Student wishing to apply for university-funded financial assistance should log onto the Faculty of Graduate Studies website at: http://umanitoba.ca/faculties/graduate_studies/funding/index.html.

Students interested in applying as a Teaching Assistant, Grader Marker, or Research Assistant may obtain employment information and application forms from the University of Manitoba, Human Resources website at:

http://umanitoba.ca/employment/

NOTE: The above noted employment opportunities are posted usually within several weeks prior to the start of the academic year in September. 

Students in the J.M.P. program in Religion are also eligible for the following:

  • The Ruth and Gordon Harland Fellowship (application not required; students are nominated for this departmental award)
  • The August Dyck Fellowship (application not required; students are nominated for this departmental award)
  • The Donald Snider Fellowship (application required)
  • The Moshe Stern Award (application required)

Course Approval and Registration

Apart from the methodology requirement (see above), there are no required courses common to all M.A. programs of study in Religion. Each student has required and elective courses specified in accordance with her/his program of study. Thus the same course could be considered a required course in one student’s program and an elective course in another’s.

The appropriate program of courses for each MA candidate will be determined by the Chair of the JDC in consultation with the student. Approval is established by signature on the Graduate Student Registration Approval Form, a copy of which becomes part of the student’s permanent file in the Religion Department. Any unusual variations from the normal program will be noted in this file by the JDC Chair.

A student will normally register full-time in the JMP program and should take no longer than two years to complete the degree. Normally, coursework is completed in the first academic year, with language requirements, thesis proposal, and thesis completed in the second academic year.

Students who wish to register part-time in the JMP program may do so in consultation with the JDC Chair, but should be advised that part-time registration will make them ineligible for most graduate fellowships and awards.

MA Options (Routes)

Students in the JMP may elect to receive their degrees from either of the two participating universities. They may pursue their degree via one of two routes: the thesis MA route, or the Course and Comprehensive MA route.

Language Requirement

All students in the JMP must demonstrate competence in a research language relevant to their proposed research. In most cases, this competence is demonstrated by passing a reading test. With the approval of the Chair of the JDC, students may also satisfy the language requirement by successful completion of 12 credit hours of university-level courses in the designated research language. The language requirement must be satisfied prior to submission of the MA thesis proposal.

1) THE COURSE AND COMPREHENSIVE MA

Coursework:  Students who choose this route must complete a minimum of 24 credit hours of graduate courses from one or both of the two Departments involved in the JMP in Religion, with at least 18 credit hours to be taken at the 7000 (UM) / 7000 (UW) level, and at least 18 credit hours to be in Religion. Students may take 6 credit hours at the 4000 (UM) / 5000 (UW) level, and this is usually chosen from an extra-departmental field or ancillary. Students can, however, elect to take all 24 credit hours from within the two Departments of the JMP in Religion.

Students must demonstrate competence in Western Religions, World Religions and Religion and Culture, with one of these areas to be designated the major area from which two graduate courses are normally chosen. The other two are designated as minor areas, and usually a student will take one graduate course in each of these areas. An ancillary may be substituted for one of the minor areas of study.

Students choosing the course and comprehensive option should approach a potential Advisor at an early stage in their program, certainly during the first year of study. Once an advisor has been selected the student is required to submit a copy of the M.A. Advisor Agreement form, which is completed and duly signed by the student and the advisor, to the Graduate Program Assistant. 

All returning graduate students are required to meet with their Advisor on an annual basis, usually in early- to mid- April, to discuss the student’s progress during the current academic year, and to outline goals for the upcoming academic year.  (The Graduate Chair or designate will act as the student’s advisor until one has been chosen.) The Annual Progress Report form, which is completed and signed by both the student and Advisor, is required for submission to the Faculty of Graduate Studies.  This form must be received by the Faculty of Graduate Studies before a student will be permitted to register for courses offered in September.

Comprehensive Examination: Upon completion of the required courses, students must sit four written examinations, two exams will be in the major area, and one exam in each of the minor areas. Each written examination will be 3 hours in length. The student will also be given a one hour oral examination following the successful completion of the four written exams.

The Examining Committee is comprised of the Chair of the JDC or delegate, Advisor and two additional Religion (UM or UW) faculty members (normally faculty with whom the student has taken courses). At least two of the examiners other than the JDC Chair must be members of the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

The oral examination is closed.

2) THE THESIS MA

Students must complete a minimum of 12 credit hours of coursework, including major courses (6 credit hours) at the 7000 (UM) / 7000 (UW) level and (6 credit hours) ancillary courses at the 7000 (UM) / 7000 (UW) or 5000 (UW) level.

All JMP students must have obtained 6 credit hours in Methodology (3 credit hours in methodology for the study of Eastern Religions and 3 credit hours in methodology for the study of Western Religions) from a recognized university or college. Students entering the program who do not have 6 credit hours in methodology must satisfy this requirement in addition to the 12 credit hours of coursework needed for completion of MA program.  

Students must prepare and submit a thesis proposal upon completion of coursework and of the language requirement. (See MA thesis proposal instructions below for further details.)

The final requirement of the Thesis MA is a thesis. (See MA thesis instructions below.)

All returning graduate students are required to meet with their Advisor on an annual basis, usually in early- to mid- April, to discuss the student’s progress during the current academic year, and to outline goals for the upcoming academic year.  (The Graduate Chair or designate will act as the student’s advisor until one has been chosen.) The Annual Progress Report form, which is completed and signed by both the student and Advisor, is required for submission to the Faculty of Graduate Studies.  This form must be received by the Faculty of Graduate Studies before a student will be permitted to register for courses offered in September.

The MA Thesis

Students choosing the thesis option should approach a potential Advisor at an early stage in their program, certainly during the first year of study. Once an advisor has been selected, the student is to submit a copy of the M.A. Advisor Agreement form, which is completed and duly signed by the student and the advisor, to the Graduate Program Assistant.  The thesis topic is selected in consultation with this Advisor. 

Once the student has completed all required courses and satisfied the language requirement, s/he develops a thesis proposal, in consultation with the Advisor. The proposal (800-1000 words plus bibliography) sets out the thesis topic, explaining its research significance and its relation to other work in the field; clarifies the methodology to be used in the thesis; and provides a brief chapter-by-chapter outline of the thesis. A select bibliography (about two pages) follows.

When the thesis proposal is approved by the Advisor, it is then submitted to the Graduate Program Assistant, along with a letter from the Advisor indicating his/her approval of the thesis proposal, and a copy of the Master’s Thesis/Practicum Proposal Form in which names of potential thesis examiners might be suggested. The thesis proposal is submitted to the Chair of the JDC through the Graduate Program Assistant. The Chair of the JDC, in consultation with her/his University of Winnipeg counterpart, grants formal approval to the thesis proposal. At this stage, the JDC Chair, in consultation with the UW or UM Department Head, formally appoints the Advisor and the other members of the Thesis Examining Committee, one of whom will be from the Department of Religion (UM or UW), and one of whom will be from an ancillary department. At least two examiners other than the Advisor must be members of the Faculty of Graduate Studies. 

The Master’s Thesis/ Practicum Title and Appointment of Examiners form, which contains the exact title of the thesis and the names of faculty members who have agreed to serve on the Thesis Examining Committee is completed and forwarded by the student’s home department to the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

In general, the MA thesis in Religion should show that the student has developed significant research competence in the thesis field(s), that is, is well-conversant with the relevant primary and secondary literature, and is well capable of writing a critical research paper of thesis-length and scope.

When the thesis is completed and, in the judgment of the Advisor, is ready for defense, the thesis is submitted to the JDC Chair for distribution to the members of the Examining Committee. The JDC Chair notifies the Faculty of Graduate Studies Office at the time that the thesis/practicum has been distributed for examination. It is the duty of all examiners to read the thesis/practicum and report on its merits according to the following categories:

1.      Acceptable without modification or with minor revision(s)
2.      Acceptable subject to modification and/or revision(s)
3.      Not acceptable

NOTE:

1.   The examining process should be completed within one month of distribution of the thesis.
2.   A student has the right to an examination of the thesis if he/she believes it to be ready for examination.
3.   Internal Deadlines for submission of MA theses: 3 months prior to FGS deadlines for expected May, October, and February graduation.

Further information and guidelines for the completion of thesis can be obtained from the Faculty of Graduate Studies website at: http://umanitoba.ca/faculties/graduate_studies/thesis/guidelines.html

Oral Examination: Students must pass an oral examination on the subject of the thesis and matters relating thereto. The oral examination is chaired by the JDC Chair or designate, and is conducted by all members of the thesis Examining Committee. The oral examination is open to all members of the University of Manitoba community, apart from exceptional cases.

Final Approval/Rejection: Following completion of the examination of the thesis, examiners consider the oral examination and the written thesis to determine the nature of and procedures for approval of any revisions that might be required prior to submission to the Faculty of Graduate Studies. The Advisor is normally responsible for ensuring that revisions are completed according to the instructions from the Examining Committee. The Faculty of Graduate Studies will accept the thesis/practicum only when it is submitted with a signed statement from the Advisor that the required revision has been completed.

NOTE: A student whose Master’s thesis has been rejected twice is required to withdraw.

Final Report: The Examining Committee will report its decision to the Faculty of Graduate Studies by submitting the Master’s Thesis/Practicum Final Report signifying “approved” or “not approved”. Such verdicts must be unanimous, and each examiner must indicate, by his/her signature, concurrence with the verdict. Anything less than unanimity is considered a failure. In the case of a failure for the thesis at the Master’s level a detailed written report is prepared by the Chair and made available to the candidate and also submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies. The candidate is recommended for the Master’s degree upon the receipt by the Faculty of Graduate Studies of favorable results of the Thesis Examining Committee and when the corrected copies of the thesis or practicum are submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies, assuming all other program requirements have been met.   Students are encouraged to provide a bound copy of the thesis to the Department of Religion (UM or UW).