Programs of Study
Programs of study leading to the degrees of master of arts (MA) in religious studies and doctor of philosophy (PhD) in religious studies are offered.
The Department offers collaborative programs in Women’s Studies and in Medieval and Renaissance Studies at the M.A. level. For more information on these programs, see “Admission”.
The programs operate within the general framework of the general regulations of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (FGPS) of the University of Ottawa, which are posted on the FGPS website.
Objectives and Methods
The orientation of the Department of Classics and Religious Studies (sector: religious studies) is that of the "Science of Religions" or Religionswissenschaft. Thus, the study of the religious phenomenon is pursued through teaching and research in the same manner and on the same level as any other category of facts accessible to human experience and observation.
The disciplines that play a role in the study of religions are primarily of a historical, sociological, psychological and anthropological nature. Moreover, in the modern context, such a study must take into account the plurality of religious traditions and expressions in society and examine the relationships among them.
In light of the above, the Department of Classics and Religious Studies (sector: religious studies) takes a multidisciplinary approach to the study of religious phenomena using the perspectives of historical, sociological, psychological, anthropological and literary studies to arrive at a comprehensive understanding of people as religious beings. Research on the meaning of religious phenomena is accomplished through analysis and comparison of the various means of religious expression, both in the past and present. No tradition is considered normative.
Areas of Research
The master's program in religious studies focuses on religions in Canada, including Amerindian and Inuit traditions, and on religions in the comparative cultural context. The comparative cultural approach provides an opportunity to explore religious phenomena across different religious traditions expressly within their specific cultural contexts. The program favours the methods of anthropology, history, psychology and sociology.