Religious Studies Concentration

Inquiry into religion as an organizing principle within society


Religion shapes the world. It is an organizing principle within every society and a frequent source of conflict, both in historic times and at present. Many of the world’s most pressing issues and problems—from fostering sustainable and equitable development, to peacemaking and the protection of human rights, to assessing the full ramifications of scientific and technological developments on all forms of life—require new moral philosophies and ethical responses that can reach across cultural and religious differences, while drawing upon the fundamental values, beliefs, and traditions that continue to guide human beings across the globe. A master's degree in interdisciplinary religious studies explores the role of religion in cultural life, the connections between religion and social justice, and the social impact of religious traditions.

Who's in the Program

Students are from all walks of life and backgrounds, but a unifying characteristic is an interest in the role of religion in global affairs, anthropology, sociology, history, philosophy, or conflict analysis and resolution. Students are challenged to think critically and constructively about the religious foundations of values and ethics, as well as the important—but often misunderstood—role that religions play in today’s complex world.

Career Paths

The MAIS concentration in religious studies is particularly relevant for students who are interested in careers in law, national and international government, print and media journalism, library sciences, archives and museums, public and social service, teaching, advanced graduate studies, religious communities and institutions, and organizations that address conflict and its aftermath.

Why Mason

The Washington, DC metropolitan area is rich in the presence of many major religious traditions and their places of worship as well as abundant non-profits, service organizations, and research opportunities.