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Master of Arts in
Interreligious Studies

From examining the terminology used by different religions to experiencing faith communities other than your own, our students are immersed in a collective – rather than comparative – application of theological education.

The MA in Interreligious Studies program is an interdisciplinary study of contemporary religious communities in a multifaith classroom. You will graduate with confidence in your knowledge of the foundational concepts of Abrahamic religions and the role of faith in local, social, and political contexts, as well as advanced-level research experience that enables you to articulate this understanding.

Our students see that learning about the religious foundations and insights that distinguish us makes for better, more empathetic religious leaders who care for all faith communities – and in doing so, strengthen their devotion to their own.

Program Structure

The MA in Interreligious Studies (MAIRS) is a 36-credit-hour academic graduate degree curriculum built around the engagement of students from different religious traditions who study the various topics and disciplines of religion, and develop skills in religious performance. Students complete core interreligious coursework, choose a specialization, and complete a final capstone project or thesis.

Students choose one of three specializations:

  • Interreligious Studies
  • Islamic Studies
  • Ministerial Studies

Language Proficiency in reading scriptural texts, such as Hebrew, New Testament Greek, or Qur’anic Arabic is highly recommended for students in the Ministerial Studies specialization or the Islamic Studies specialization.

The Value of Experience

Capstone projects, speakers, and opportunities to go into different faith communities give our students a firm grasp of the lived reality of religion.

Students have used their capstone projects to create interfaith clergy networks and research projects to examine questions of religion in contemporary society like “When Did Black Lives Begin to Matter? Race Dynamics and American Muslims” and “Spiritual Connections Between Christians and Muslims in a Hospital Chaplaincy Context.”

Where Your Journey May Lead

MA in Interreligious Studies Career Paths

Social Service Ministry

Start a Non-Profit or NGO

Teaching Religion in Private Schools

Pathway into Chaplaincy

Preparation for a PhD

Who Thrives Here?

Our MA in Interreligious Studies is designed for students inspired by their faith – and its personal importance – along with a devotion to overcome our differences and nurture the human spirit that brings us together. The students who thrive here are characterized by an openness and see faiths of all kinds as a means to connect with and care for others. They become the kind of religious leaders who see the practices of another faith and ask the question, how can my community experience this knowledge, too?

Meet Our Program Director

David D. Grafton

David D. Grafton, PhD

Academic Dean, Professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations

I’ve been an educator in Muslim-Christian relations since 1985 and bring years of practical experience in the contemporary interfaith and multifaith world as an ordained Protestant pastor and through living and teaching in Egypt. My courses at Hartford familiarize students with the history, scriptures, and perspectives of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, and require that they engage in conversations over those traditions and explore perspectives other than their own. My goal is for students to be comfortable leading their own faith communities into relationships with one another. If there’s one thing that I teach all of my students it’s that people of other religious traditions are human beings who have their own hopes, dreams, and experiences of life and belief based on their own cultural, communal, and familial histories. They speak for themselves and do not speak for a monolithic religion, of which there is no such thing.

Learn more about the Hartford experience »

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