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Accelerated B.A./M.A. Program in Religious Studies

This program allows B.A. majors in Religious Studies to take graduate courses in the M.A. degree in Religious Studies during their senior year. These shared credits will be applicable to the M.A. degree, thus accelerating the time to completion, with successful students able to earn the M.A. degree in two additional semesters beyond the completion of the B.A. degree.

This accelerated program shares 12 credits between already existing degrees:

B.A. in Religious Studies

M.A. in Religious Studies

Target students and expected outcomes

This program builds on the department's B.A. and M.A. degrees. It will give talented Religious Studies majors the opportunity to take graduate courses and apply them to a non-thesis M.A. in Religious Studies. If successful, students will be able to complete an M.A. two semesters after the B.A. requirements have been met. This will allow them to more expeditiously pursue career opportunities requiring a graduate degree in Religious Studies or pursue Ph.D. studies.

Description and Requirements

For admission to the program, a student must:
  1. have completed at least 15 hours in the Religious Studies undergraduate major;
  2. have a minimum undergraduate 3.33 GPA overall; and
  3. have a minimum undergraduate 3.5 GPA in the major.

Application to the program may be made by any student who has satisfied the minimum requirements. Applications should be addressed to the Religious Studies Graduate Director and should include a statement by the student affirming satisfaction of minimum requirements (with supporting documentation) and a letter of recommendation from a Religious Studies faculty member familiar with the student's academic performance.

Requirements for the B.A. in Religious Studies

Within the 120-semester hour program listed in the College of Arts and Sciences General Requirement section (including the state mandated common prerequisites), students must choose a total of 36 credit hours from Religious Studies courses. Transfer students may not apply more than 12 hours taken elsewhere toward the major at the University of South Florida. Only letter grades of at least C- will be counted toward the minimum of 24 credit hours taken at the University of South Florida for transfer students or 36 (for non-transfer students) credit hours necessary to complete the 36 credit hours required for the major. Students taking Religious Studies as a second major need to complete only 30 credit hours. To do so they must make a written request to the Undergraduate Director at the time they declare their major.

Required Courses:

REL 2300 Introduction to World Religions or REL 2306 Contemporary World Religions or REL 3308 World Religions

REL 3003 Introduction to Religious Studies

REL 3014 Introduction to Major Religious Texts

REL 4931 Seminar in Religion

24 additional credit hours that satisfy the following requirements:

  • Take at least one course from each of the areas (Western Religions, Non-Western Religions, and Issues andApproaches)
  • Take at least 18 credit hours of 3000- and/or 4000-level coursework, of which a minimum of 9 must be at the4000 level

Shared B.A./ M.A. Requirements

Twelve (12) hours of graduate credit may be shared as follows:

  • REL 4931 (Senior Seminar) is satisfied by RLG 6035 (Theory and Methods in Religious Studies)
  • 9 elective hours at the 4000 level are satisfied by 9 elective hours at the 6000 level

Graduate Degree Requirements For Accelerated M.A. in Religious Studies

Total Minimum Hours: 36

Core Requirements 15 hours

RLG 6035 – Theory and Methods in Religious Studies 3

Six hours in Western Religions (Christianity, Judaism, Islam) 6

Six hours in Eastern Religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism) 6

Electives 21 hours

No more than six hours may come from independent study/directed reading.

No more than six hours may come from departments other than Religious Studies.

No grade lower than a B will be accepted in a graduate course in the B.A./M.A. program. Students earning less than a B in a graduate course must retake the course and earn a B or higher to apply it to their graduate degree.

Timeline and benchmarks:

1. To be considered for acceptance into the Accelerated B.A./M.A. in Religious Studies, students must have completed a minimum of 15 credits in the Religious Studies undergraduate major.

2. Students must have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.33 overall, and a minimum GPA of 3.50 in the major to be eligible for the accelerated degree program.

3. Following completion of a minimum of 15 hours in the undergraduate major, students may be considered for acceptance into the accelerated program.

4. Applications should be addressed to the Religious Studies Graduate Director and should include:

  • a. a statement by the student affirming satisfaction of minimum requirements (with supporting documentation)
  • b. a letter of recommendation from a Religious Studies faculty member familiar with the student's academic performance.

5. Students must earn a minimum of a "B" (3.00) in all graduate courses. Failure to earn at least a "B" in a graduate course will result in academic review by the graduate program. Failure to maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA will result in academic probation, according to the procedures of the USF Office of Graduate Studies.

A comprehensive plan of study to complete the integrated B.A./M.A. program will be developed with the guidance of an advisor and a faculty member. A possible plan of study could be as follows. Summer sessions may also be included in the study plan.

First and Second Year

REL 2300, 2306, or 3308

REL 3003

9 credit hours of undergraduate electives

Third Year (Apply for Admission to the Integrated B.A./M.A. program)

REL 3014

6 credit hours of undergraduate electives

Fourth Year (Student accepted in M.A. in Religious Studies program)

RLG 6035

9 credit hours of 6000-level electives

6 credit hours of 6000-level electives

Fifth Year

18 credit hours of 6000-level electives