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 – strengthened by interfaith dialogue with faculty and peers.
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 in professional roles across fields that apply faith as a means to care for others.
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 (Please select this specialization if you are interested in the Cooperative M.Div. pathway)
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.
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 in Ministry
Pathway into Chaplaincy
Courses you may take
Here is a small sample of courses students in the program take. To view the entire course listing, use the link below.
The Value of Experience
Research & Projects
Our 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.”
Our faculty bring years of academic and practical experience teaching and serving different faith communities across the globe. They are award-winning authors, scholars of religion, and passionate leaders in interreligious and religious relations, as well as higher education. They have spoken to their research on international stages, emphasizing sociological contexts, gender, and religion in the modern world.
With a foundation in interreligious thought, dialogue and critical thinking, our alumni are set on a path to many fields such as social justice, policy, human rights, foreign diplomacy, community organization, social work, nonprofit leadership and psychology – in addition to traditional religious roles.
The People Who Thrive Here
Our MA in Interreligious Studies is built by faculty and 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. They see faiths of all kinds as a means to connect with and care for others.
Dr. Hossein Kamaly, Associate Professor of Islamic Studies
Muslim women and their strength are the focus of Dr. Hossein Kamaly, Associate Professor of Islamic Studies book, A History of Islam in 21 Women. A compilation of 21 profiles of strong Muslim women who made their marks in history – when first published in 2019, A New York Times review referred to the women included as “a feisty and intrepid bunch.”
Kyra E. Jenney
Kyra is the Department Head of History, Philosophy, and Social Sciences at Choate Rosemary Hall, a private, college-preparatory boarding school for grades 9-12. She says, “We seek to employ interdisciplinary and individualized approaches to learning and to create spaces for students to develop the reflective practices of critical thinking, identity cultivation, and cultural humility.”
Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum ‘2000
President Emerita of Spelman College, a nationally recognized authority on racial issues in America, a thought leader in higher education, and a licensed clinical psychologist – while earning her MA in Religious Studies at Hartford International, she developed the idea for and wrote her best-selling book, Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations about Race.
Rochelle Bayless ‘13
While completing her degree at Hartford International, she wrote a master’s thesis called A Theology of Food as Acts of Grace. After graduating, Rochelle used her thesis as the blueprint for Grace Café in Danville, KY, which addresses hunger and food insecurity by serving people without regard for their ability to pay.
Opportunities & Highlights
Hartford International students can take classes through the Boston Theological Interreligious Consortium, a consortium of seminaries and theological schools including Boston College, Boston University, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Harvard Divinity School, Hebrew College, Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Seminary, and St. John’s Seminary & Theological Institute.Read More
A Pioneer for Muslim-Christian Relations
The Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations is the country’s oldest center for such study, opening in 1973.Read More
United States and Canada, the New England Commission of Higher Education and approved by the Office for Financial and Academic Affairs for Higher Education of the State of Connecticut.Read More