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Coterm Program

For undergraduates enrolled at Stanford, the department offers a Coterminal Master’s Degree.

For details of what this program entails, see the Coterminal Master’s Degree page in Religious Studies in the Stanford Bulletin. The departmental deadline for applications is the end of the second week of classes, winter quarter.

Coterm Admissions

At this time, eligibility for admission to the master's program is restricted to current Stanford undergraduates and graduate students. The Department admits a limited number of students to the Coterminal Master’s Degree program. Preference is given to students who have majored or minored in Religious Studies or in the combined Religious Studies/ Philosophy program, but students from other majors whose course work has focused on religion will also be considered.


Co-term applications are accepted in Winter quarter only, for Spring admission.
The application deadline is: second week of winter quarter. The deadline for 2025 is: January 17, 2025.


Meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies before submitting your application.

Religious Studies accepts coterm applications in Winter Quarter (due end of the second week of classes) for admission starting Spring Quarter. Only complete applications submitted by the deadline are reviewed. A complete application includes the following:

  • A completed online coterminal program application. See the Registrar's site for additional information.
  • Coterm application
  • Two confidential letters of recommendation, one of which must be from a Stanford faculty member affiliated with the Religious Studies Department.
  • Statement of purpose, not to exceed two pages
  • Undergraduate transcript(s)
  • Preliminary program proposal


No financial aid is available from the department for the coterm degree, and coterm students are normally not eligible for teaching assistantships.

Decision and Acceptances

A decision on applicants is made in mid-February, with acceptances due in mid-March.

Core Program Requirements

Completion requirement

University requirements for the M.A. are described in the "Graduate Degrees" section of the registrar's site. For the most up to date Religious Studies requirements, check the bulletin.

The department requires the completion of nine courses (totaling not less than 45 units) of graduate work (courses numbered 200 and above); seven courses of this work must be Department of Religious Studies courses. Directed reading at the 300 level may be counted for a maximum of 10 units. A candidate whose undergraduate training in religious studies is deemed inadequate must complete nine courses of graduate work in the department. The department does not recognize for credit toward the M.A. degree any work that has not received the grade of 'A' or 'B.'

The student must take RELIGST290 “Majors' Seminar: Theories of Religion.” Students who have taken this course as part of the B.A. need not take it again, but also cannot count it towards their co-term degree unit requirements. After admission to the coterminal program, students should register at the 300 level for any courses that are cross-listed at both the 200 and 300 level.

The student's plan of courses is subject to approval by the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS). No field of specialization is expected, but students may focus work in particular areas. Advanced and graduate courses in other departments may be taken with the approval of the advisor and the DGS. No thesis is required; a thesis, if elected, may count for as many as 10 units.

The department allows coterms to count Religious Studies courses numbered 200 and above taken as early as their first quarter of sophomore year toward their coterminal master's degree. Course transfers require department approval and cannot be processed after the bachelor's degree has been conferred. All University coterm policies apply.