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The Comparative Religion Program at the University of Washington is one of several interdisciplinary programs in the Jackson School of International Studies which leads to a Master of Arts in International Studies. Developed out of the study of a wide spectrum of cultural traditions in the area studies programs of the Jackson School, the program's focus is highly international and trans-cultural in nature.
The faculty of the Comparative Religion Program, which includes appointments in the Jackson School as well as several other units of the University, covers a wide variety of religious traditions and theoretical approaches in the study of religion. The University's Language and Literature/Civilization programs, particularly in areas represented by the regional programs within the Jackson School, offer unusually deep resources for students and faculty interested in the comparative study of religion.
This Master's program provides a particularly strong foundation for those students headed toward PhD programs in religion. For those interested in PhD work in religion only at the University of Washington, doctoral-level study is available through the Interdisciplinary PhD Program in Near and Middles Eastern Studies, Asian Languages and Literature, and in other related departments such as Anthropology, Ethnomusicology, Political Science, History and Sociology. For details, interested students should contact those units directly.
-James Wellman, Chair
Applicants must meet the basic Graduate School requirements which include a 3.00 grade point average for the last 90 quarter (60 semester) credits, a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution, and test results from the general Graduate Record Exam (GRE). Applicants must also meet all application requirements and deadlines set by the Jackson School and described in its application guidelines. Meeting minimum standards, however, does not ensure admission. The Comparative Religion faculty reserve the right to determine in each case whether an applicant has sufficient language preparation and background in the study of religion for acceptance into the program.
The program places a very high priority on the acquisition of language skills, particularly for students who aim eventually for graduate study at the PhD level. Students must complete the third year of a language appropriate for utilizing primary sources in the chosen concentration as well as develop a first-year reading knowledge of a secondary foreign language necessary for reviewing published research in the chosen area (e.g., German, French). Students who enter the program already having significant training in their chosen primary language will be in the best position to complete the degree within a two-year timeframe. Less preparation prior to entry may lengthen the time to completion.
Basic Competency Certification
Students must achieve a basic competency in the history of world religions. This can be done either through examination or by completing JSIS C 201 and 202 or their equivalents.
Final Papers and Oral Exam
Students submit either one or two research papers to a supervisory committee, which also oversees both a written and oral exam.
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