Graduate Theological Union
Interreligious Studies at the GTU
Something new is happening at the GTU: a new M.A. area of
concentration in Interreligious Studies (IR) will begin in fall 2012.
Applications are due February 15 for the first class of students.
But wait! Hasn't the GTU been doing Interreligious Studies since we
were founded in 1962? Aren't we the largest partnership of ecumenical
and interreligious graduate schools and centers in the country? Yes, of
course. But this new M.A. area will give students the opportunity to
focus their courses and thesis research on an emerging field that is
growing in importance all across the world. Here is how the faculty
group that developed the proposal for the new IR area have described it:
"Broadly speaking, the purpose of the M.A. area of concentration in
Interreligious Studies is to foster the study of multiple religious
traditions, their practitioners, and their expressions in different
cultural contexts. This area is designed to be open to studies that are
oriented to fields within both theological studies and religious
studies. Topics of focus and methodologies might include historical and
contemporary relations between religious traditions, comparative
theology, comparative religion, interreligious dialogue, and
interreligious pastoral practices."
Students studying for the M.A. in Interreligious Studies from the GTU
could prepare themselves for multiple career tracks. Obviously, this
program would serve as foundational for a Ph.D. in a related field. Other
students might use this degree to prepare for forms of interreligious
ministry (this might be especially attractive for students pursuing dual
M.Div./M.A. degrees). Other students could use this degree to prepare for
teaching in religious education institutions at the secondary level.
Still others might use this degree for work with non-profit and
We are grateful to the faculty who have worked hard to develop the plan
for the new IR area: Deena Aranoff (CJS), Judith Bering (GTU), Thomas
Cattoi (JST), Ibrahim Farajaje (SKSM), Marianne Farina (DSPT), Marion
Grau (CDSP), Munir Jiwa (CIS), Dan Joslyn-Siemiatkoski (CDSP), and Heng
Sure (PSR). Their proposal received enthusiastic support from the
Council of Deans and the Core Doctoral Faculty on its way to approval by
the Academic Committee of the GTU Board of Trustees in October.
You've heard the saying that "everything old is new again!" The GTU's
"old" commitment to learning from religious differences has led us to
this exciting "new" academic area of concentration in our consortial M.A.
program. We look forward to the renewed energy that students in this area
will bring to our community as we continue to explore the richness of
our diverse religious traditions.