Combined M.A. in Religious Studies + Ph.D. in IR Degree Pathway

The combined M.A. in Religious Studies/Ph.D. in International Relations pathway allows qualified graduate students to pursue both degrees simultaneously. Students must fulfill the requirements for both programs, and up to 36 credits completed as part of the M.A. in Religious Studies will be counted toward the 75 credit Ph.D. in International Relations.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must meet the following minimum requirements to be considered for admission.

1. Baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution for higher education (or equivalent);

2. Minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.2 on a 4.0 scale (or equivalent) for the last two years of undergraduate work and/or a GPA of 3.5 on any previous graduate work;

3. Verbal and Quantitative portions of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE);

4. Minimum 156 GRE verbal score or a minimum 3.5 on a 4.0 scale (or equivalent) for the last two years of undergraduate work.

5. International graduate student applicants whose native language is not English and who have not obtained a degree from an English-speaking academic institution are required to submit a score for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or for the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). A total score of 90 on the internet-based TOEFL (equivalent to 575 on the paper-based version) or 6.5 overall on the IELTS is required.

Although admissions decisions typically are made in the spring, decisions for students who have not yet received their bachelor’s degree will be conditional, pending confirmation of the B.A. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission into the program. All applications are subject to review by the members of the Department of Politics and International Relations and the Religious Studies Department.

Admission Procedures

To be accepted into this pathway, students must submit an application to the Ph.D. in International Relations with a sub-plan for a M.A. in Religious Studies. This designation will appear in the menu of programs in the graduate application. The application must be submitted by January 15 in the year in which they wish to begin their studies.

The following documents must be submitted and will be reviewed by the Admissions Committees from both units.

The following must be submitted as part of the on-line application:

  • Online application and application fee;
  • Official transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate coursework;
  • Official GRE scores;
  • Official TOEFL scores, if applicable;
  • A statement of research interests, including reasons for seeking the M.A./Ph.D., future career goals, and a summary of scholarly preparation for this pathway;
  • Three letters of reference from academic sources or others able to judge academic abilities and potential; and
  • A curriculum vitae

Master of Arts in Religious Studies Degree Requirements (36 credits)

REL 6935 Seminar in Sacred Sources (3 credits)

RLG 6013 Modern Analysis of Religion (3 credits)

RLG 5038 Advanced Fieldwork in Religious Studies (3 credits)

12 credit hours of electives approved by the Graduate Program Director

RLG 6971 Thesis (6 credits) or 6 additional hours of elective credits 

INR 5615 Research Design in International Relations (3 credits)

INR 5609 Contemporary Dynamics of International Relations (3 credits)

INR 6706 Political Economy of International Relations (3 credits)

Students who choose the thesis exit option must include at least one Politics and International Relations faculty member, though the majority must be from Religious Studies.

Doctor of Philosophy in International Relations Degree Requirements

Students will begin study towards the Ph.D. in International Relations immediately following their satisfactory completion of M.A. in Religious Studies requirements. A minimum of 39 credits beyond the M.A. degree in Religious Studies will be necessary to satisfy the requirements of the Ph.D. Program in International Relations.

Degree Requirements beyond the M.A. in Religious Studies are the following:

9 Core Course credits:

GEO 6473 Space, Place and Identity (3 credits)

INR 6604 International Relations Theory I (3 credits)

INR 6608 Contemporary International Relations Theory (3 credits)

Second methods course from the following list (or another methods course Director):

INR 5616 Qualitative and Interpretive Methods in International Relations

POS 5706 Graduate Seminar in Political Science Research Methods

ECO 7424 Econometric methods I

ANG 6480 Ethnohistorical Research Methods

ANG 6497 Qualitative Research Methods

GIS 5935 Topics in GIS

PAD 7705 Applied Quantitative Analysis I

PAD 7707 Applied Quantitative Analysis II

PAD 7703C Empirical Methods in Public Administration

Gateway courses (6 credits)

Two out of INR 5017 Approaches to Area Studies, INR 6338 Strategic Studies, and either INR 5409 International Law I or INR 5507 International Organizations.

9 Major Field credits in either:

1. Global Political Economy and Development

2. Comparative Area Studies

3. Foreign Policy and Security Studies, or

4. Global Governance, International Law, and International Ethics.

With advisor approval, these may include 3 credits taken in satisfaction of the requirements for the M.A. in Religious Studies.

6 Minor Field credits in either:

1. a second field from the above major field list, or

2. a field offered within another Ph.D. program at FIU (with approval of the Graduate Program Director), or

3. a petition field (with approval of the Graduate Program Director). With advisor approval, these may include 3 credits taken in satisfaction of the requirements for the M.A. in Religious Studies.

Elective Credits:

Elective credits necessary to bring total credits earned beyond the M.A. in Religious Studies to a minimum of 24.

Dissertation Credits:

15 credits of dissertation research.

Comprehensive Exams (6 credits)

After completing 60 hours of course work (or in the semester in which they expect to do so), students may take their written comprehensive examinations on the core sequence and in both of their fields. Students must sit for these examinations within 6 months of completing the minimum 60 hours of coursework unless granted an extension by the International Relations Graduate Program Director. Before advancing to candidacy, students must also demonstrate an ability to use a foreign language other than English for scholarly purposes.


Within 3 months of passing the comprehensive examinations, students should publicly present a dissertation proposal that is acceptable to a committee of at least four qualified scholars. Three members of the committee, including the dissertation supervisor, must be graduate faculty members of the Department of Politics and International Relations. One must be from outside the department but inside FIU. Other members must be approved by the International Relations Graduate Program Director. To complete program requirements, Ph.D. degree candidates must enroll for a minimum of 15 dissertation credits and maintain enrollment for 3 credits every semester until the degree is awarded.