Postgraduate Study in Religion

Study image
Read about one recent postgraduate in Religion at Otago.

Graduate students engaged in research on various aspects of religion form a vital part of the life and work of our department, and work closely with teaching staff (see the list of current and recent graduate theses in Religion). There are several options for postgraduate study - including by distance and part-time - which one is right for you will depend on your previous study and your aim in undertaking research. The opportunities for postgraduate study are described below - having read these please contact the Postgraduate Co-ordinator for Religion, Dr John Shaver, to discuss your plans.

For details of research interests and preferred areas of supervision for each member of staff see the staff pages. Members of the department are also involved in a number of research groups both within and beyond the University of Otago, including Comparative and Cross-Cultural Studies and Asian Migrations Research Themes.

The First Year of Postgraduate Study

The first year of postgraduate study in Religious Studies consists of four papers. Three of these are taught papers, the fourth is a dissertation of a maximum 20,000 words (RELS 490). An approved paper may be substituted for one of the taught papers. This year of study can be the fourth and final year of a BA (Hons), a stand-alone year called a Postgraduate Diploma in Arts (PGDipArts) or the first year of a two year Master of Arts degree. With the two year MA, the second year of the degree is a thesis, which is discussed below. Students who have already taken an honours degree can apply for direct admission to the MA by thesis. Further information about the Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Subjects (PGDipArts) is available on the University website.

Taught papers at 400 level offered in 2017

Click on the paper code for further information about the paper, including prescriptions and timetables.

First semester
Religion and Identity
Life of the Buddha
Second semester
Method & Theory in the Study of Religion
Full year
Research Essay

^ Top of page

Master of Arts in Religious Studies by thesis alone

If a student has an Honours degree in Religious Studies or has done a PGDipArts, they may proceed to an MA by thesis alone. The thesis is 40,000 words, written over a minimum of one year and a maximum of four years part-time. Supervision is provided for by the Department. Students do not have to be in Dunedin to do these degrees, but where they are outside of Dunedin satisfactory supervision arrangements must be made.

Further information about the Master of Arts (MA) is available on the University website.

^ Top of page

Religious Studies imageDoctoral research

The Department also offers the PhD degree in Religious Studies. This is by thesis only, with the thesis being 100,000 words. Again students need not be in Dunedin, but satisfactory supervision arrangements must be made.

Further information about the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is available on the University website.

Postgraduate Scholarships

The University of Otago offers a range of scholarships for students from New Zealand and overseas. Further information about these scholarships is available elsewhere on the University website.

Further information

For more information about graduate study in Religion download the Department Postgraduate Research Guide. University Handbooks for Research Masters Degrees and PhD Study are available elsewhere on the University website. Postgrad students are also encouraged to check out these useful links and resources.

To discuss your options for graduate study in religion at Otago, contact the Postgraduate Co-ordinator for Religious Studies, Dr John Shaver.

University of Otago Religious Studies Programme