Joint Master's Program

The Department of Religion at the University of Manitoba and the Department of Religion & Culture at the University of Winnipeg offer a Joint Master of Arts Program (JMP) in Religion. This program is administered by the Joint Discipline Committee (JDC). The Chair of the JDC is the Graduate Chair in Religion at the University of Manitoba. Administration of the JMP takes place at the University of Manitoba through the Chair of the JDC.

Entrance Requirements

Eligible for admission to the JMP in Religion are graduates of the University of Manitoba holding a B. A. (Honours) degree in Religion; graduates of the University of Winnipeg holding a B.A. (four-year) in Religious Studies; students who hold degrees equivalent to the B.A. (Honours) in Religion from other recognized universities or colleges; students who have completed a recognized Pre-Master's program in Religion. Students who have courses with equivalent content or cognate courses in recognized departments or faculties other than Religion or Religious Studies may be given credit for up to 12 credit hours towards admission.

To be eligible for admission, applicants must have the following:

  • a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 in their last two (2) full years (60 credit hours) of study;
  • a four-year BA (Honours) in Religion*, or;
  • a recognized pre-Master's program in Religion following completion of a 3 or 4 year BA;

*BA (Honours) in other cognate disciplines including, for example, Anthropology, History, or Asian Studies, with a strong background in the study of Religion will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

NOTE: Students admitted to the MA program without current methodology credits will be required to complete these in addition to credit hours specified for completion of MA program of study.

Financial Assistance

Graduate students may apply to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Research Grant. Application forms and further information can be obtained from:  http://www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca/

All eligible applicants to the department will be considered for the University of Manitoba Graduate Scholarship (UMGF) if their application has be received by January 15th.

Student wishing to apply for university-funded financial assistance should log onto the Faculty of Graduate Studies website at: http://umanitoba.ca/faculties/graduate_studies/funding/index.html. Students can also check the awards database website at http:webapps.cc.umanitoba.ca/gradawards/.

Students interested in applying for Teaching Assistant, Grader Marker, or Research Assistant positions can search for employment postings by visiting UMCareers

https://umanitoba.ca/admin/human_resources/employment/employment_opportunities.html

NOTE: The above noted employment opportunities are posted usually within several weeks prior to the start of the academic year in September. 

Students in the J.M.P. program in Religion are also eligible for the following:

  • The Ruth and Gordon Harland Fellowship (application not required; students are nominated for this departmental award)
  • The August Dyck Fellowship (application not required; students are nominated for this departmental award)
  • The Donald Snider Fellowship (application required)
  • The Moshe Stern Award (application required)

Course Approval and Registration

There are no required courses common to all M.A. programs of study in Religion. Each student has required and elective courses specified in accordance with her/his program of study. Thus the same course could be considered a required course in one student’s program and an elective course in another’s.

The appropriate program of courses for each MA candidate will be determined in consultation with their JMP advisor and the JDC that reflects their particular area or program of study. Approval is established by signature on the Graduate Student Registration Approval Form, a copy of which becomes part of the student’s permanent file in the Religion Department. Any unusual variations from the normal program will be noted in this file by the JDC Chair.

A student will normally register full-time in the JMP program and should take no longer than two years to complete the degree. Normally, coursework is completed in the first academic year, with language requirements, thesis proposal, and thesis completed in the second academic year.

Students who wish to register part-time in the JMP program may do so in consultation with the JDC Chair, but should be advised that part-time registration will make them ineligible for most graduate fellowships and awards.

MA Options (Routes)

Students in the JMP may elect to receive their degrees from either of the two participating universities. They may pursue their degree via one of two routes: the thesis MA route, or the Coursework/Comprehensive MA route.

Language Requirement

All students in the JMP must demonstrate competence in a second language that is relevant to their program of study. Language requirements are set by the Advisor in consultation with student and the JDC. In most cases, this competence is demonstrated by passing a language translation exam or the successful completion of 6 credit hours of coursework in the selected language that is beyond the 1000-level. If a required language is a student’s native or near-native language, the advisory committee may waive the translation exam requirement. The language requirement must be satisfied prior to submission of the MA thesis proposal.

1) COURSEWORK /  COMPREHENSIVE MA

Coursework: Students who choose this route must complete a minimum of 24 credit hours of graduate coursework offered through the U of M or the U of W, or a combination thereof. OF the required 24 credit hours, at least 18 credit hours must be in Religion at the 7000-level. Up to 6 credit hours at the 7000-level may be taken in another department.

Students are encouraged in the coursework/Comprehensive route are encouraged to have 6 credit hours in method and theory prior to admission. Students admitted to the MA program without method and theory credits will be required to complete these as auxiliary courses (or an auxiliary course) in addition to the to the 24 credit hours that have been specified for completion of the MA program of study.

Students choosing the course and comprehensive option should approach a potential Advisor at an early stage in their program, certainly during the first year of study. Once an Advisor has been selected the student and advisor are required to complete the Advisor Student Guidelines through JUMP.

All returning graduate students are required to meet with their Advisor on an annual basis, usually in early- to mid- April, to discuss the student’s progress during the current academic year, and to outline goals for the upcoming academic year. The Graduate Chair or designate will act as the student’s advisor until one has been chosen. The Progress Report form, which is completed and signed by both the student and Advisor, is required for submission to the Faculty of Graduate Studies. This form must be received by the Faculty of Graduate Studies before a student will be permitted to register for courses offered in September.

Comprehensive Examination: Upon completion of the coursework and language requirement, students in tge Coursework and Comprehensive route JMP will, in consultation with their Advisor, be required to submit a revised or original research paper that is a minimum of 20 pages in length excluding tables, figures, and references.

The Examining Committee that reviews the paper will include the student’s advisor, and two additional faculty members (either UM/UW), as well as one member of the JDC. At least two members of the examining committee must be members of the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

The oral examination is closed.

2) THE THESIS MA

Students must complete a minimum of 12 credit hours of coursework in Religion at the 7000-level, offered through the U of M or the U of W, or a combination thereof.

Once a student has completed all of their required coursework, and satisfied the language requirement, they develop a thesis proposal, in consultation with their Advisor; this normally occurs by the end of the first year. The final requirement of the Thesis MA is a thesis. (See MA thesis instructions below.)

All returning graduate students are required to meet with their Advisor on an annual basis, usually in early- to mid- April, to discuss the student’s progress during the current academic year, and to outline goals for the upcoming academic year. (The Graduate Chair or designate will act as the student’s advisor until one has been chosen.) The Annual Progress Report form, which is completed and signed by both the student and Advisor, is required for submission to the Faculty of Graduate Studies. This form must be received by the Faculty of Graduate Studies before a student will be permitted to register for courses offered in September.

The MA Thesis

Upon admission, Thesis stream JMP students normally indicate an advisor. If no advisor is indicated, or if the student’s first choice is unavailable, an alternate Advisor will be arranged in consultation with the University of Manitoba or University of Winnipeg Chair of the JMP at the time of course registration. Once an Advisor has been selected the student and advisor are required to complete the Advisor Student Guidelines through JUMP. The thesis topic is selected in consultation with this Advisor.

Once the student has completed all required courses and satisfied the language requirement, s/he develops a thesis proposal, in consultation with the Advisor. The proposal (800-1000 words plus bibliography) sets out the thesis topic, explains its research significance and it’s relation to other work in the field, describes the research methodology that will be used; and, provides a brief chapter-by-chapter outline of the thesis.

Upon approval by the Advisor, the thesis proposal is then submitted to the JMP Chair along with a letter from the Advisor indicating his/her approval of the thesis proposal, and a copy of the Master’s Thesis/Practicum Proposal Form on which the names of potential thesis examiners are suggested. The thesis proposal is submitted to the JDC through the Graduate Program Assistant. The JDC grants formal approval of the thesis proposal. If the thesis proposal is not approved, the student will have three months to revise and re-submit it. Final approval is granted by the consensus of the Advisor and JDC.

At this stage, the JDC Chair, in consultation with the UW or UM Department Head, formally appoints the Advisor and the other members of the Thesis Examining Committee, two of whom (the Advisor and a Department member) will be from the Department of Religion (UM) or/and Religion & Culture (UW). Ideally, the Examining Committee should include one member from the UM and one from the UW but the composition will be guided by the student’s research area in relation to faculty expertise. Therefore, in certain instances, both members may be from the same university, pending approval by the JDC. The Examining Committee must consists of a minimum of three (3) members (including the Advisor/Co-Advisor), at least two (2) of whom must be member of the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

The Master’s Thesis/ Practicum Title and Appointment of Examiners form, which contains the exact title of the thesis and the names of faculty members who have agreed to serve on the Thesis Examining Committee is completed and forwarded by Graduate Program Assistant to the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

In general, the MA thesis in Religion should show that the student has developed significant research competence in the thesis field(s), that is, is well-conversant with the relevant primary and secondary literature, and is well capable of writing a critical research paper of thesis-length and scope.

When the thesis is completed and, in the judgment of the Advisor, is ready for defense, the thesis is submitted to the JDC Chair for distribution to the members of the Examining Committee. The circulations of the thesis should to be at least two weeks prior to the proposed defense. The JDC Chair notifies the Faculty of Graduate Studies Office at this time that the thesis/practicum has been distributed for examination. It is the duty of all examiners to read the thesis/practicum and by the end of the two-week period a written approval must be received by each member of the examining committee indicating that they find the thesis ready to proceed to the oral examination according to the following categories:
1.      Acceptable without modification or with minor revision(s)
2.      Acceptable subject to modification and/or revision(s)
3.      Not acceptable

NOTE:

1.   The examining process should be completed within one month of distribution of the thesis.
2.   A student has the right to an examination of the thesis if he/she believes it to be ready for examination.
3.   Internal Deadlines for submission of MA theses: 3 months prior to FGS deadlines for expected May, October, and February graduation.

Further information and guidelines for the completion of thesis can be obtained from the Faculty of Graduate Studies website at: http://umanitoba.ca/faculties/graduate_studies/thesis/guidelines.html


Oral Examination: Students must pass an oral examination on the subject of the thesis and matters relating thereto. The oral examination is chaired by the JDC Chair or designate, and is conducted by all members of the thesis Examining Committee. The oral examination is open to all members of the University of Manitoba community, apart from exceptional cases. The duration of the oral examination is normally between 60-90 minutes in length. The structure of the oral examination consists of a 20 minute presentation by the student summarizing the research followed by a first round of questions by the examiners (approximately 15 minutes each), and a second round of questions (time permitting) of 5 minutes each. The decision is a pass/fail and must be unanimous.

Pass: The completion of the oral examination in successful (unanimous decision), the Advisor in consultation with the Examining Committee, will oversee any required revisions to the written thesis prior to final submission to the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

Fail: One or more of the examiners deems the oral exam unsuccessful. Students are granted a second attempt to pass within six-months of the first unsuccessful attempt. Student who fail their second attempt at the oral examination will be required to withdraw from the program and from the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

Final Report: The Examining Committee will report its decision to the Faculty of Graduate Studies by submitting the Master’s Thesis/Practicum Final Report signifying “approved” or “not approved”. Such verdicts must be unanimous, and each examiner must indicate, by his/her signature, concurrence with the verdict. Anything less than unanimity is considered a failure. In the case of a failure for the thesis at the Master’s level a detailed written report is prepared by the Chair and made available to the candidate and also submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

The candidate is recommended for the Master’s degree upon the receipt by the Faculty of Graduate Studies of favorable results of the Examining Committee and when the corrected copies of the thesis or practicum are submitted to MSpace, assuming all other program requirements have been met. Students are encouraged to provide a bound copy of the thesis to the Department of Religion (UM or UW).