Graduate Programs

Director of Graduate Studies:
Associate Professor Angela Zito

The Masters Degree in Religious Studies introduces students to some of the primary areas in the contemporary academic study of religion. Our interests include religion and media, secularity and religious pluralism, and the transformation of religious traditions in modernity. After graduating our students typically go on to PhD programs or jobs in a number of fields, including journalism, publishing, education, and non-profit work.

Students take courses in two areas: 1) our MA seminars, which provide rigorous training in social theory and the formal study of religion, and 2) seminars students select in consultation with us in empirical or disciplinary areas covered by the wide range of courses offered across graduate school. The MA thesis (or exam), which is planned with our faculty and those faculty members in relevant fields, allows students to develop some of the ideas and skills they have acquired during their time in residence with us.

The Master's Degree in Religious Studies

Masters Seminars

Our faculty regularly offer the following seminars:

Theories and Methods in the Study of Religion  (instructor changes each year)

Secularism (Becker)

Religion as Media (Zito)

The program also offers seminars in American Religious History as well as other areas depending on student need and program resources.


We encourage our students to work within a track of their choosing, taking introductory graduate seminars in related fields in tandem with their coursework in Religious Studies. Tracks that students may pursue include:

   1. Middle Eastern Studies
   2. Latin American and Caribbean Studies
   3. Jewish Studies
   4. Gender and Sexuality
   5. Literature and Literary Studies
   6. Contemporary US cultural studies
   7. Religion and Media
   8. Cinema Studies

NYU also has resources in East Asian Studies, Classics, and a number of other fields of interest to religious studies students. We allow for up to two semesters of language credit to count towards the degree.

Concentration in Journalism and Religion

In close coordination with the Carter Journalism Institute the Program in Religious Studies offers an MA in Religious Studies with a concentration in Journalism and Religion. This degree provides education and training for students seeking careers as professional newspaper, magazine, or broadcast journalists with an expertise on religion.   For more information visit the MA in Religious Studies with a Concentration in Journalism and Religion

Program Objectives

By completing a masters in religious studies, students should:

  • be conversant in the theoretical conversation concerning religion that has taken place since the Enlightenment.
  • be able to read difficult texts closely, speak about them in a seminar setting, and engage in academic-style research and writing.
  • have a developed empirical commitment for future study after completion of the degree.

Many of our students are able to link the theoretical concerns of the field with contemporary interests through participation in a variety of events hosted by the Center for Religion and Media and through their work as contributors to the Revealer.

For some students the degree provides an opportunity to work on areas they need to develop to improve their preparation for PhD programs. The program is small and the focus is on contemporary issues; however, we have had students interested in working individually with our faculty to develop their skills in a particular field (for example, reading Greek or Syriac texts with Prof. Becker).   Please inquire.

Please note, we do not have a Ph.D program at this time. If you have any questions about the Religious Studies Master's Program please contact the program administrator of Religious Studies.

If you would like to speak to the director of the program, please email to arrange a convenient time to speak either by phone or in person.