Information for Current and Prospective Students for Graduate Studies in Religious Studies

Welcome! On this page you will find information regarding both our M.A. programs (1-year and 2-year) and to the Graduate Diploma in Humanities and Social Sciences (Religious Studies). 

Please note that we will not be accepting incoming students for Fall 2023.

This page is meant to complement the School of Graduate Studies' Information found in the University Calendar. If you have any questions, please contact the Graduate Coordinator, Dr. Jennifer Selby ( or our departmental administrative assistant, Ms. Annette Sullivan (

Faculty Research Areas  

Faculty members of our department are engaged in a variety of research and supervisory activities in some of the following broad categories:

Religious Texts

Faculty: MD, PD, BS.
• Hebrew Bible, Second-temple Judaism, early rabbinic Judaism
• Hindu religious texts and history
• Christian ethics, social justice
• Environmental ethics
• Philosophy of religion
• Christianity, literature and the Arts

Religious Contexts

Faculty: MD, PD, JP, JS, BS, AG.
• Ancient Israelite religion
• Reception of Hindu religious ideals in South Asian and diasporic contexts
• Implicit religion; secularism
• Religion and Popular Culture
• Contemporary Islam in the West
• Modern Christianity
• Experiential Religion and Christian Revivalism
• Ritual
• Religion in French Literature
• Alternative Religions in North America

Method and Theory

Faculty: JP, JS, BS.
• Historical-critical methods
• Historical-textual approaches, manuscripts
• Anthropology of Religion, lived religion and field-based approaches
• Secularism and post-secular studies
• Critical discourse methods
• Modernism and postmodernism
• Philosophy of Religion
• Ritual Studies

Religion and Gender

Faculty: PD, JS, JP
• Gender and Hinduism
• Muslim family life
• Gender and the Secular
• Women and Contemporary Christianity and Islam
• Gender and Religion in Popular Culture


Dr. Michael DeRoche (MD)
Associate Professor, mderoche[a]

Dr. Patricia Dold (PD)
Associate Professor and Department Head, pdold[a]

Dr. Anne G. Graham (AG)
Associate Professor, anne.g.graham[a]

Dr. Jennifer Porter (JP)
Associate Professor, jporter[a]

Dr. Jennifer Selby (JS)
Associate Professor, jselby[a]

Dr. Barry Stephenson (BS)
Associate Professor, bstephenson[a]

Department Contacts

The Department of Religious Studies is located on the 5th Floor of the Arts & Administration Building.

Department Head: Dr. B. Stephenson
Office: 5005, Arts & Administration Building

Departmental Administrative Assistant: Ms. A. Sullivan
Office: 5007, Arts & Administration

Graduate Officer: Dr. J. Selby
Office: 5029, Arts & Administration

Regulations and Expectations

As a student in the Religious Studies Department’s M.A. Program, you will be expected to familiarize yourself with the regulations and requirements of the Department of Religious Studies and the School of Graduate Studies.

MUN Calendar School of Graduate Studies Regulations

Getting Started


Register for Graduate Studies 9000 through Memorial’s “self-service” following receipt of official confirmation of acceptance. This step is also necessary to obtain a parking permit

Also, please see Ms. Sullivan before classes begin to ensure the department has your contact information and that all your paperwork is in order. Funding cannot begin until you see her to process your paperwork.

The University Calendar lists all required graduate courses along with your program requirements.

To register for your courses access Memorial’s online registration system Memorial Self-Service.

Choosing a Supervisor

Securing a supervisor is an important first step. Prospective students should seek to locate a supervisor with compatible research interests. Students are encouraged to contact potential supervisors prior to applying to the program.

Financial assistance

Financial assistance is paid to full-time graduate students in two forms: graduate assistantships and baseline support from the School of Graduate Studies. Some students have external scholarship monies. Graduate assistantships are awarded in units of (normally) 56 hours. Each unit requires four hours of work per week during the semester.

Although these two forms of support come from different sources, students will be awarded support in a total "financial package" which will include one or both. Human Resources requires that all new employees, including graduate students, be set up for direct deposit of their pay. Cheque stubs are issued every second Thursday
online through Memorial’s “self-service.” At the beginning of your program it is important to fill out your direct deposit form, which is submitted to Annette Sullivan. Arrangements for payroll deduction of tuition fees may be made through the Graduate Studies fellowships office, IIC 2012. You may also pay tuition in person at the Cashier's Office in A1023.

Students receiving graduate assistantships as part of their “financial package” will receive a letter of appointment, following the TAUMUN collective agreement. In connection with GA funding, students should note:(1) Many students will find that they are not asked to put in the number of hours required every week. All students must nevertheless make themselves available to work the full number of hours. There must be no assumption that because one does not work the full number of hours one week this will be the pattern for the semester.

(2) GAs are for fourteen weeks, or fifty-six hours per unit. Students should therefore be available during exam week to assist with final exams (grading, invigilation, etc.). Students should make themselves available for such duties and not plan to leave at the end of the semester until they have checked with the person for whom they are working.

(3) The hiring and employment of graduate assistants falls under the TAUMUN collective agreement. The continuance of financial support depends on satisfactory progress in the program and on the performance of all duties associated with graduate assistantships. Renewal of awards requires either a grade of B+ (75) in course work or
substantial progress on the thesis. No student is eligible for support for more than two years.

(4) The department facilitates workshops and assistance to apply for external funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council in October every year.

Outside employment

Full-time graduate students are permitted to work outside the Department or University, provided that their total workload (outside work combined where appropriate with work as a graduate assistant) does not exceed 24 hours per week. Students who work more than 24 hours per week are part-time students (no matter the number of courses for which they are registered) and are not eligible for financial

General expectations of graduate students

Candidates entering the M.A. program or the Diploma stream should be aware of the general expectations that supervisors and professors have of graduate students. A conscious adjustment is required in order to make the transition from undergraduate to graduate work. Not only will the workload in individual courses be heavier, but graduate students will be expected to show greater initiative, originality, and responsibility. The specific ways in which these traits will be manifested may vary from course to course and situation to situation, but they will include consistent and well-prepared contributions to seminars and term papers and
punctuality in meeting deadlines. In term papers and theses, students must display an independence of judgement and a mastery of primary as well as secondary sources. Extensions for assignments should be requested rarely, in exceptional circumstances.

Satisfactory progress while in the program

The Department is responsible for both monitoring and reporting on the progress of students in its M.A. and Diploma programs. Students who are not progressing satisfactorily may have their funding terminated or may be asked to withdraw from the program. Students should thus have clear goals in mind. You should discuss any problems you encounter with these target dates with your supervisor.

Definition of a Full-Time Student

According to the School of Graduate Studies, a full-time graduate student is one who commits to their academic program as a full-time endeavour and may not work more than 24 hours a week (including teaching assistant duties) in addition to their studies. (Regulation 2.3.8).

Definition of a Part-Time Student

A part-time graduate student is one who is registered for the duration of a semester and is not classified as full-time (Regulation 2.3.8)

Ethics Applications

If you plan to complete research with human subjects, you must submit an application to the Interdisciplinary Committee on Ethics in Human Research (ICEHR) demonstrating that your research adheres to its guidelines. ICEHR approval is not required prior to the submission of your proposal, but required prior to any research on human subjects. For more information, please see the ICEHR webpage.

Two-Year Thesis-Based Program

As a Master of Arts Religious Studies thesis-stream student you will be expected to complete a total of four graduate courses:

• RS 6100: Methods and Theories in Religious Studies
• RS 6110: Thesis Writing (in conjunction with your supervisor)
• RS 6120: Studies in Religious Texts
• RS 6130: Studies in Religious Contexts

Depending on your area of study, you may also be required to complete language courses, or graduate courses in cognate areas. You should discuss these requirements with your supervisor, and ensure that you are enrolled in all required courses prior to the start of classes.

Submitting Your Thesis Proposal

All Master of Arts Religious Studies students are required to submit their thesis or project proposal to the Graduate Committee. The proposal is usually submitted no later than the end of the third semester for thesis-based students.

Thesis proposals are generally between 15-25 pages long and include an extensive bibliography. You should submit your finalized proposal to your supervisor who, upon approval, will submit it the Graduate Committee on your behalf.

For information and guidelines on how to prepare a thesis or project proposal see the Graduate Studies webpage.

The Master’s Research Project is a 12,000-15,000-word paper that is methodologically and topically refined; demonstrates an in-depth understanding of the scholarly questions relevant to a student’s field of inquiry; demonstrates familiarity with key literature on the topic under study; and reports major findings of the student’s inquiry.

Students may submit a project in a form other than a research essay, but must first have the approval of the Graduate Studies and Honours Committee.

The project is graded by the supervisor and one other faculty member, either from within the Department or the Department of a cognate discipline.

Time to Completion of Thesis-based program

This program normally takes 2 full years (3 semesters per year) with course work completed by the end of the first year.

Program Timeline:

Semester 1 RS 6100, 6120
Semester 2 RS 6110, 6130
Semester 3 Thesis Proposal, ICEHR application if necessary
Semester 4 Thesis Research
Semester 5 Thesis Writing
Semester 6 Thesis Submission

Submission of thesis

When completed, the thesis will normally be examined by one internal (not the Supervisor) and one external (outside the University) reader. At the stage of submitting the thesis for examination, three copies must be supplied. When the thesis has been examined and final corrections have been made, the School of Graduate Studies requires an electronic submission.  For more information, please visit the School of Graduate Studies' guidelines on Theses submission.

These steps are copied from the SGS website on the final submission:
• The final version of a thesis found acceptable with or without corrections shall be submitted to the University within six months of the date on which the thesis and examiners’ reports are returned.
• For final submission, all graduate students are required to produce one electronic copy of their thesis to the Head of their academic unit.
• The final version of your thesis should be in PDF format and use the following naming convention: lastname_firstname_middlename_finalsubmissionyear_finalsubmissionmonthandyear_degree.pdf (e.g., Smith_John_James_122013_PhD.pdf).
• Click here for instructions on how to convert files to PDF format.
• Once approved by the Head of the academic unit, the electronic copy of the thesis and any associated supplementary files should be uploaded to the University Library using the e-thesis submission form on portal. A confirmation email will be sent to your email account once you have successfully submitted your thesis.
• If required, a completed Request to Include Copyright Material form should be uploaded along with the thesis as a supplementary file.
• At the time of e-thesis submission, a completed Recommendation for the Award of a Graduate Degree form should be submitted to SGS by the Head of the academic unit.
• Students must maintain their graduate registration until all academic requirements for their degree including thesis corrections have been met.

One-Year Course-Work Based Program

As a Master of Arts Religious Studies student in the course-based stream you will be expected to complete:

• RS 6100: Methods and Theories in Religious Studies
• RS 6110: Thesis Writing
• RS 6120: Studies in Religious Texts
• RS 6130: Studies in Religious Contexts
• RS 699A/B Advanced Research in Religious Studies (“A” constitutes the proposal/bibliography, pass or fail; “B” constitutes the essay)

Depending on your area of study, you may also be required to complete language courses. You should discuss these requirements with your supervisor.

Submitting Your Project Proposal

All Master of Arts Religious Studies students are required to submit their project proposal to the Graduate Committee. The proposal is usually submitted at the end of your second semester. The proposal is normally between 2-4 pages with an additional extensive bibliography. The proposal must be submitted to your supervisor who will submit it to the Graduate Committee on your behalf. For information and guidelines on how to prepare a project proposal see Graduate Studies webpage.

Time to Completion of Project-based Program

This program is expected to take 1 year or 3 semesters to complete. Course work is expected to be completed in the fall and winter semesters with a project proposal submitted during the winter and the project being completed during the summer semester.

Program Timeline:

Semester 1 RS 6100, 6120, 6xxx
Semester 2 RS 6110, 6130, 699A (Project Proposal)
Semester 3 RS 699B (Project Writing)

Accepted form for term papers, projects and theses

The School of Graduate Studies now has an updated version of the Thesis Guide, which defines more clearly the requirements for the thesis (manuscript format). A copy is available at the School upon request, or you may find this information on the School of Graduate Studies homepage.

The detailed form accepted by the Department of Religious Studies for the presentation of term papers and theses is that laid down in Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations.

Graduate Diploma in Humanities and Social Sciences (Religious Studies)

A graduate diploma in Religious Studies provides an opportunity to acquire additional academic credentials at the graduate level without committing to a full master’s program. This programs allow students to expand on their knowledge of a particular discipline and may also be used for professional development within your careers.

Courses: Nine credit hours arevrequired for the Graduate Diploma. Students will take three Religious Studies graduate courses (RELS 6110 Thesis Writing is excluded from the Graduate Diploma).

Funding: Students in the diploma stream are not eligible for funding.

Additional Program Information

Student Contact Information

Please note that should you relocate during your academic program, it is your responsibility to notify the graduate program and your supervisors to provide new contact information. If you neglect to do so, you may miss important information pertaining to your program.

Please also note that it is university policy to communicate with graduate students through their @MUN email accounts.

Program Leaves of Absences

The School of Graduate Studies has regulations governing Leaves of Absences for academic, family, medical, employment and financial reasons. Applications should normally be made at the end of the registration period in the first semester for which a leave is requested. Additional documentation may be required. The Request forLeave of Absence form must be signed by the supervisor,  Department Head, and the Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Program Extensions

In exceptional circumstances, application can be made for Extensions to Graduate Programs. In this case, you must complete the Appeal for Waiver of General Regulation, Period of Study form. Additional documentation may be required. The required form must be signed by the supervisor, Department Head, and the Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Program Changes

Occasionally students may change from one program option to another (i.e., from a thesis to a project stream or from a project stream to a thesis). If this is the case, you must complete the Change of Route form. This form must be signed by the student, supervisor or co-supervisors, Department Head and the School of Graduate Studies.

Supervisor Changes

If you need to make changes to your supervisor or co-supervisors, please complete the Change of Program form. This form must be signed by the student, supervisor or co-supervisors, Department Head and School of Graduate Studies.

Graduate Course Approval

Requests for approval of new Graduate Courses must follow School of Graduate Studies guidelines and be accompanied by the appropriate form signed by the Department Head.

Graduate Student Scholarships

All qualified graduate students are expected to submit applications for Master’s Scholarships, Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). This is an important source of funding and recognition for graduate-level research. SSHRC designates a limited number of funding grants to Master’s students each year. Application deadlines are near the end of the fall semester. The School of Graduate
Studies typically offers an information seminar and writing workshops for those students interested in applying.

For a more extensive list of university-wide awards available to graduate students, please consult these resources:

School of Graduate Studies Graduate Awards
Scholarships, Bursaries and Awards Available to Graduate Students

Conference Travel

The School of Graduate Studies provides some financial support for conference travel. If you are interested in accessing travel funds, please fill out the Graduate Student Request for Travel Assistance. This form requires signatures from the Head, Department of Religious Studies, Dean of Graduate Studies and the Graduate Students' Union. It must be completed as far in advance as possible. As a student, it is your responsibility to be familiar with the School of Graduate Studies/Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Travel Policy.

Graduate Student Union

All M.A. students are eligible to receive -- from the GSU -- up to $250 for conference funding for students in their Masters degree program. For more information and appropriate form please see the GSU website.

Practical Information and Campus Resources

Student ID Card/Library Card

You will require this card to access library services, library photocopiers and printers. Student ID cards are available in the Student Centre at the Answers (UC 3005).

Study carrels are available in the Library for students working on theses.
Arrangements for the use of carrels can be made through the Circulation Desk of the QEII Library.

Graduate Student Health Coverage

The Graduate Student Union student health plan provides coverage beyond that provided by basic provincial health coverage (e.g., the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Coverage Plan (MCP)).


Graduate Students have from May 1st to August 30th to apply for parking. Students must come in person and have their car registration and student ID. Students must be enrolled in graduate registration 9000 through Memorial’s online self-service program. Students should be able to register upon confirmation of acceptance.

Parking permits are available on a first come, first served basis. They are purchased for the year and costs range from $51 - $300 depending on the lot. Please contact the Assistant Manager of CEP at 864-2046 or in FM1018, or visit the CEP Parking (Students) website.

Graduate Student Library

Arts & Administration 5033 (please see Annette for your key)

The door to A5033 MUST be kept locked at all times. Use of the space is restricted to graduate students only.

All incoming mail and internal memos, telephone messages, returned assignments, etc., will be placed in A5033 in individual mail trays, which should be checked frequently.


Graduate students may use the photocopier in A5006; the key may be obtained from the departmental administrative assistant when required. The photocopier has an electronic auditron; students will need a 4-digit personal identification number in order to access the machine. Students will be charged for photocopying periodically at a minimal rate per copy. Photocopying required for distribution to an undergraduate class is not charged to the student’s PIN but to the department or the instructor of the course.

Useful Resources

School of Graduate Studies

Bruno Centre 2012

Graduate Student' Union

Feild Hall 2007

Women's Resource Centre (MUN)

University Centre 1009

The Women's Resource Centre (WRC) is a student-run, feminist organization on campus that is funded by the MUN Students' Union and Student Affairs and Services. The WRC consists of a collective of active, committed volunteers dedicated to the physical, emotional, and psychological wellness of all women. This purpose spans a broad spectrum of programs to meet the individual needs of female
and male visitors to the Centre.

International Students’ Association

University Centre 6002
The International Student Advising Office (ISA) provides support to new and continuing international students, undergraduate, graduate, visiting students, exchange students and English as a Second Language students. Health Sciences Centre 2720 (777-7280)

Campus Enforcement and Patrol

FM 1018 (864-8561)

24 Hour Parking Information

864-4300 FM1021
Services include:
• Campus patrol
• Emergency response
• Traffic and parking control including accident response, permit issue, parking meters, bicycle parking, patrolling and ticketing functions
• Transportation for persons with disabilities
• Lost and found services

Walk-Safe and Drive-Safe Programs

If you are on campus at night and would prefer someone to walk you to your car or to another building, or to drive you home, you can contact Walk-Safe at 864-3737 during advertised hours of operation. Walk-Safe and Drive-Safe are staffed entirely by student volunteers and coordinated by the Students' Union. For more information, visit the GSU website.

The Works

The Works is an on campus sports facility that includes a fitness centre, track, multiple sport courts and swimming facilities that include the Aquarena. A membership to The Works is included in your tuition and you will have full access to all The Works facilities and classes.

Email Account

All MUN students are required to hold a Memorial University email account. The department and university cannot send email to commercial accounts. You will find a link to set up your account at