Union Theological Seminary Academics
 

Academics

Degree Programs with Columbia University


The Seminary is also a university faculty of theology and, while remaining an independent institution, takes its place in the educational program of Columbia University.

For an instructor who is expected to teach the literature and history of religion as well as offer courses in general history or philosophy, a university degree is often desirable. Ordinarily a teacher in a secondary school is expected to hold the Master of Arts degree, and a college teacher a doctoral degree. Those who plan to teach religious education or assume professional leadership in churches and allied agencies connected with colleges and universities may prefer to have an advanced university degree. For such students, the Seminary, through its association with Columbia, aims to provide an opportunity for advanced study, research, and teacher training in the various subjects that are included in the study of religion.

Degree of Master of Arts in the Field of Religion


(Under the Committee on Graduate Instruction of the Department of Religion of Columbia University)

Columbia University awards the M.A. in the general field of Religion upon recommendation of the Committee on Graduate Instruction of the Department of Religion. This Committee, jointly staffed by faculty members of the University and of the Seminary, includes the chairperson of the Department of Religion and a faculty representative from the Seminary.  Application to the program is done via Columbia's Admissions Office.

General Requirements


The candidate must be able to meet the requirements for admission to Union Theological Seminary and to The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences of Columbia University.

The student must hold a bachelor’s degree with a record indicating a capacity for graduate work of high quality. Preparation should include a reading knowledge of French or German along with such additional foundational language study as may be required for work in the proposed area of specialization. There should be extensive work in the liberal arts, including history, literature, and philosophy, as well as in the social sciences if the proposed area of concentration is a social-scientific approach to the study of religion. More than the required year of residence is usually needed to complete the M.A. program. Although study may be terminated with the M.A. for specific vocational purposes or at the discretion of the department, the M.A. in Religion is sometimes earned as part of the program for the doctoral degree in Religion, unlike the M.A. under the Seminary faculty, which never automatically leads to doctoral candidacy.

Application for the Master of Arts degree must be made in advance of the conferring of the degree. See the appropriate dates in The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Bulletin of Columbia University.

Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Field of Religion


(Under the Committee on Graduate Instruction of the Department of Religion of Columbia University)

Students who plan to become college teachers in the field of religion may find it desirable to work toward the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in religion at Columbia University. It requires a considerable knowledge of non-Christian religions, although the student may specialize in the Christian tradition. In his or her program of study the student may choose courses in several departments of the University and at the Seminary. This allows a wide choice and an extensive field within which the doctoral candidate may select a subject of special study and prepare a dissertation.

Graduate work toward the Ph.D. in the field of religion is administered by the Committee on Graduate Instruction of the Department of Religion of Columbia University. This committee, jointly staffed by faculty members of the University and of the Seminary, includes the chairperson of the Department of Religion and a faculty representative from the Seminary.

For the general faculty regulations and fees governing graduate study in the University, the student is referred to The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Bulletin of Columbia University. In addition to the general requirements of the University, the following special requirements are prescribed for applicants undertaking to qualify for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the field of religion.

Admission as a Regular Graduate Student


The Committee will welcome applicants for admission who, having earned an excellent undergraduate record, meet the requirements for admission to Union Theological Seminary and to The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences of Columbia University and, in addition, have reading knowledge of French or German and at least one additional language. It is desirable that the student have completed basic courses in the following fields: natural sciences (at least one), history (especially the history of religion), literature (especially biblical literature), and philosophy. Those specializing in religion and society should have preparation in the social sciences.

Since the number of candidates accepted for research in this field must be limited, students should apply for admission to the Columbia Graduate School of Arts and Sciences as early as possible. Applicants for admission who are also applicants for fellowships or scholarships must submit their application pursuant to dates established by the University.

Application for the Doctor of Philosophy degree must be made in advance of the conferring of the degree. See the appropriate dates in The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Bulletin of Columbia University.

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