Master of Arts in Religion (M.A.R.)

M.A.R. students in the ISM prepare themselves for a variety of careers: teaching, work in arts-related organizations, or other kinds of lay ministries. Many also go on for further doctoral work in music, art history, literature, or liturgy. The M.A.R. is a two-year degree program; however, students who apply to the ISM in their second year of study at Yale Divinity School may be granted a third year of study in special circumstances.

Master of Arts in Religion, Comprehensive

By the time of graduation, all ISM/YDS students in the Master of Arts in Religion comprehensive program will have taken four 3-credit courses from ISM faculty. One course may be substituted with participation for one year in one of the following vocal ensembles:

Marquand Choir
Marquand Gospel and Inspiration Choir
Recital Chorus
Repertory Chorus
Yale Schola Cantorum
Yale Camerata

In addition to the comprehensive Master of Arts in Religion program, students may pursue M.A.R. degree programs with a concentration in liturgical studies or religion and the arts.

Master of Arts in Religion, Concentration in Liturgical Studies

This concentration requires eighteen credit hours of study in the major area, including the introductory core course of the program, Foundations of Christian Worship, REL 682. Students must take nine credit hours of limited electives in liturgical studies: three with an historical focus, three with a theological focus, and three with a strong methodological or practical component. The remaining six credits may be taken as electives, but students are strongly encouraged to seek out a course in their own denominational worship tradition.

The remaining thirty credits required for the M.A.R. with a concentration in liturgical studies will be taken in the various areas of study of the Divinity School and Institute curricula, according to a student’s academic interests and professional goals and in consultation with faculty in the area of concentration.


Master of Arts in Religion, Concentration in Religion and the Arts

The program enables students to pursue concentrated study in

  • religion and literature, or
  • religion and music, or
  • religion and the visual arts and material culture.

Students declare their concentration at the time of application. Courses in these areas are taken principally from faculty in the Divinity School and Institute of Sacred Music; electives are taken elsewhere in the University: in the Graduate School (e.g., the departments of English, Comparative Literature, Music, American Studies, History of Art) or in the schools of Art and Architecture. In addition, students study the traditional curriculum of divinity: Bible, theology, history of Christianity, liturgics.

The emphasis in each track is upon history, criticism, and analysis of past and present practice. Each requires twenty-one credits in the area of concentration: in visual arts or music, twelve of these credits must be taken with ISM faculty; in literature, six must be taken with ISM faculty. In addition, at least fifteen credits shall be devoted to general theological studies: six credits in Area I, six credits in Area II, and three credits in Area III. Twelve credits of electives may be taken from anywhere in the University, though the number of electives allowed in studio art, creative writing, or musical performance is at the discretion of the adviser and permission of the instructor. In total, one-half of the student’s course load must be Divinity School credits. An undergraduate major in the field of concentration or its equivalent is required.

A limited number of studio art classes may be taken for academic credit by students in the visual arts track, and they must demonstrate the relevance of this study to theology. Admission to studio art courses depends entirely on the permission of the studio teacher and is customarily granted only to those with strong portfolios.

Students preparing for doctoral work will be encouraged to develop strong writing samples and foreign language skills. ISM students may apply to the Institute for study in Yale’s summer language program.


Master of Arts in Religion, Other Concentrations

Occasionally, the ISM will accept an MAR student in one of the other concentrations (theology, ethics, gender studies, etc.) who have a particular interest in sacred music, worship and the related arts. By the time of graduation, all ISM/YDS students in all concentrations other than Liturgical Studies or Religion and the Arts will have taken at least two 3-credit courses from ISM faculty. (Participation in a vocal ensemble does not count toward this requirement.)