General Info

  • Faculty working with students: 43
  • Students: 53
  • Students receiving Financial Aid: 100%
  • Part time study available: No
  • Application terms: Fall
  • Application deadlines: January 31
Application Info


Mohsen Kadivar
Director of Graduate Studies
Graduate Program in Religion
Duke University
Box 90964
Durham, NC 27708-0964
Phone: (919) 660-3512


Program Description

The Master of Arts in Religious Studies offers concentrations in three broad areas:

  • Historical Studies in Religious Traditions
  • Religion & Culture
  • Religion & Science

Applicants should indicate the area in which they wish to concentrate.

Historical Studies in Religious Traditions focuses on the historical study within one religious tradition or in comparison to more than one. Religious traditions include American religions, ancient Mediterranean religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), and Asian religions (such as Buddhism, Hinduism, and Confucianism). Historical study is thematically driven and encourages the critical understanding of history as a method of study.

Religion & Culture explores sociopolitical and cultural aspects of religion. Study in this concentration focuses on the social life of literature, the arts, material culture, and media, with a special interest in the theoretical resources that enhance cultural analysis. If culture is the medium through which humans experience and understand their worlds, religion is a fundamental way in which worlds take the shape they do.

Religion & Science investigates the relationship between religion and the natural and social sciences in coursework on the history of science, the methodologies of science, and philosophical reflections on religion, and science as forms of knowledge and worldviews.  

The Department awards several academic merit-based scholarships. International and US students are eligible for these departmental awards, and admitted applicants are automatically considered for scholarships based on their Graduate School application – no additional application materials are required.

2024 applicants should note that the Department of Religious Studies can provide significant financial assistance to students interested in the study of the history, philosophy, or scientific debate concerning unbelief.



Application Terms Available: Fall

Application Deadlines: January 31

Graduate School Application Requirements
See the Application Instructions page for important details about each Graduate School requirement.

  • Transcripts: Unofficial transcripts are required with application submission; official transcripts are required upon admission.
  • Letters of Recommendation: 3 Required.
  • Statement of Purpose: Required (See departmental guidance below).
  • Résumé: Required.
  • GRE Scores: GRE General (Optional)
  • English Language Exam: TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test required* for applicants whose first language is not English.
    *test waiver may apply for some applicants.
  • GPA: Undergraduate GPA calculated on a 4.0 scale required.
  • Writing Sample: Required (See departmental guidance below).

Statement of Purpose Guidelines
Duke University highly values interdisciplinary study. Demonstrating how your interests mesh with the strength of faculty in the Department of Religious Studies and with other programs at Duke will strengthen your statement of purpose. Your application will be evaluated in terms of how your intellectual interests match our program’s strengths. Indicating the areas of study, you wish to pursue and what intellectual skills you wish to acquire through coursework and research will contribute to a competitive application.

Writing Sample
A sample of scholarly work of 10-15 pages, double-spaced, should be submitted as part of the application.

We strongly encourage you to review additional department-specific application guidance from the program to which you are applying: Departmental Application Guidance