Graduate Program

Cates, Diana


Graduate Director

Diana Cates

Graduate study in the Department of Religious Studies analyze the ways in which diverse religious traditions originate, develop, and interact over time. Students learn to identify and use multiple methods for the study of religion, including historical, philosophical, ethical, literary, linguistic, psychological, ethnographic, and digital approaches. Students can draw on the expertise of the entire religious studies faculty and are also encouraged to work with faculty members in other UI departments who specialize in their areas of interest. Many religious studies graduate students work, for example, with faculty in Anthropology, English, History, and Asian and Slavic Languages and Literatures, as well as Classics and Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies.

Graduate study in the department is flexible. It can accommodate individual students’ interests within the limits of existing faculty expertise. Sample plans of study for MA and PhD coursework can be found here.

Programs of graduate study are often developed in relation to one of the following traditional areas of concentration: 

Religions in the Middle East, Ancient Near-East and Mediterranean

  • Religion, law, and politics in the Islamic world; the history of interpretation of the texts and traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; Greco-Roman and Egyptian religion and culture; digital humanities

Religions in Asia

  • Religions of India, China, and Korea in the context of political, social, and economic factors; religion and gender in transnational perspective; religion and empire

Religions of Europe and the Americas

  • The Reformation; the Reformed tradition; history and ethnography of religion in the U.S.; African American Christianity and Islam; religion, media, and the negotiation of technological change 

Religion, Ethics, and Society

  • Religion and morality; human rights; religion’s relationships to gender, race, and ethnicity; ethics of medicine and biotechnology

Programs of graduate study are developed also by theme. Popular themes include religions’ relationships to:

         Public life, gender, race, media and technology, and human health and well-being.

Click here for requirements of the Master of Arts Degree

Click here for requirements of the Doctor of Philosophy Degree.

Click here for faculty profiles.

For specific inquiries about graduate study, please contact the Director of Graduate Studies: Professor Diana Cates.