Study of religious traditions will be approached in a way that understands religions as distinct forms of life, lived out through interacting communities. Deep convictions, core values, organic practices, and cultural contexts – these will all be considered.
In addition, students will experience and develop skills for working across religious traditions. This begins in the one required course, Interreligious Dialogue and Leadership, where students begin working on skills such as dialogical competencies, participant observation, interpersonal and affective learning, values assessment, the ability to see similarities and differences across broad traditions of belief and practice, and the ability to lead multi-religious projects in multi-religious contexts.
In order to strengthen dialogical skills, students will be expected to work in an interreligious situation sometime during their program. This can be accomplished by a practicum or internship experience, counted as elective credit. The summative exercise can be an interreligious project.
Students are encouraged to choose ethics classes and electives that emphasize engagement and action, strengthening skills for understanding and communicating across differences. Advisors will help students select issues that bridge across two or more religious communities.
The Integrative Seminar is taken for two semesters, with one unit of credit being awarded each semester, and one unit awarded during the final semester as the summative exercise is finalized and orally defended. Full time students begin the Integrative Seminar course in the second semester. The course is designed to help them design their summative exercise.
As appropriate to a student’s vocational goals and with his or her advisor’s consent, a student may choose to write an academic thesis as a summative exercise. In that case, the student will take the MA Research Colloquium class as a substitute for the Integrative Seminar. The requirement for interreligious engagement would then be met by an internship or other project, again with the advisor’s consent.
Students select courses from Claremont School of Theology, the Academy for Jewish Religion, California, Bayan Claremont, the University of the West, and Claremont Graduate University to customize their degree programs to their interests and contexts.