Graduate Program Information


Students in a Seminar with John Reeves

For more information regarding admission requirements or other aspects of the program not addressed below or other parts of this website, please contact:

Dr. Kent Brintnall , Graduate Program Director


Our graduate faculty possesses expertise in the subjects of religion in the United States, ancient Mediterranean religions, Judaism and Christianity from their origins to their roles in contemporary cultures, Buddhism, Islam, African American religions, “new religions,” media and religion, and the critical roles played by a wide variety of social factors. Faculty members are also well versed in a range of theoretical approaches and methods.


The Graduate School application package is completely electronic (see link above). Their staff oversees and administers the application and all of its component parts. Please do not mail or forward any application materials to the Department of Religious Studies. The Department of Religious Studies is only able to make decisions on applications once the Graduate School has received and processed all of its component parts.

The application package must include: (1) an electronic application form submitted to the Graduate School accompanied by the application fee; (2) official transcripts of all previous academic work attempted beyond high school; (3) at least three letters of reference from persons familiar with the applicant’s academic qualifications (these too must be less than five years old); and (4) an essay (statement of purpose) that addresses the applicant’s motivation for pursuing the M.A. in religious studies, with some discussion of the applicant’s research interests and professional goals.

Note: The Department holds a few graduate application fee waivers that will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. If you are interested, please contact Graduate Program Director Dr. Kent Brintnall (

The regular deadlines for application are typically in early August (fall semester) and early December (spring semester). Those wanting to be considered for financial aid and scholarships must complete a FAFSA and submit their applications by priority deadlines. Specific application dates can be found on the Graduate School website (Application Deadlines | Graduate Admissions | UNC Charlotte).


The Master of Arts in Religious Studies requires the completion, with a GPA of 3.0 or above, of a minimum of 30 semester hours of approved graduate coursework. At least 15 hours of this total must be in courses open only to graduate students (i.e., at the 6000 level or higher). Students have two options for completing their degree. First, students may complete an MA Thesis option that consists of 24 hours of coursework and 6 hours of thesis work. Second, students may complete a comprehensive examination option, consisting of 30 hours of coursework and comprehensive examinations in three areas. All degree requirements must be completed within six calendar years of first enrollment in the program. For more information, consult UNC Charlotte’s Catalogue.


All M.A. candidates must complete RELS 6101 (Approaches to the Study of Religion) with a grade of B (3.0) or above within two semesters of their initial admission into the program.

Special Features of the Program

  • Small classes, seminars, and directed studies guarantee personal attention and facilitate interaction with peers and faculty.
  • The Meyer-White Travel Scholarship, which partially funds research travel for a deserving student.
  • The endowed Loy H. Witherspoon Lectures in Religious Studies introduces students annually to an internationally renowned scholar.
  • The Carol Douglas Religious Studies Endowment provides funds to support special projects for the students, faculty, and community.
  • The departmental Cuneiform Studies Laboratory houses research tools and a small reference library of specialist resources for the use of students interested in Near Eastern religions, languages, and literatures.

Financial Support

A limited number of graduate assistantships are available. Assistantships are awarded on the basis of ability and experience.

If you would like to be considered for a graduate teaching assistant position, make sure that your statement of purpose and your letters of recommendation address the relevant experiences that have helped you develop your skills in leading discussion, evaluating written work, and organizing your time.