M.A. in the Department of Religion The M.A. in Religion is a terminal degree program housed in the Department of Religion. It is designed to give post-baccalaureate students training in the basic methods of Religious Studies and exposure to the principal fields of scholarly interest within the Department. Likely applicants may include recent Religion graduates who have not yet decided on their careers, graduates in other fields who have an interest in Religion, prospective Ph.D. students on a "probationary" track, and local professionals who wish to expand their horizons by pursuing graduate studies in Religion. While some graduates of this program may choose to apply for Ph.D. studies in Religion at Duke, application to the Ph.D. program is a separate process. No guarantees for admission to the Ph.D. program are granted or implied by completion of the M.A. Program in Religion. Although some students may complete it in less time, the M.A. in Religion is normally a two-year program. In such a course of study, students would normally register for three courses (nine units) for two semesters, for two courses (six units) and one research component (three units) during the third semester, and for one research component (three units) during the fourth semester. The two research components are devoted to completing and defending a master's thesis. Students who choose not to write a master's thesis may instead do a total of 10 courses (rather than 8), two of which must include the writing of a major research paper. These two papers (graded “B” or better in the respective courses) must be defended before a committee consisting of at least three faculty members.