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Why Study at McMaster?

Apply now to begin a PhD or MA in one of the world’s leading programs in the study of Asian religions. Recent graduates of the program at McMaster University now teach in top universities in North America and Asia. Your studies will be guided by faculty members who are renowned experts in the field. James Benn, Shayne Clarke and, Mark Rowe can supervise your interdisciplinary research in the texts, traditions, and practices of Asian religions. You will be trained in the techniques of philology, ethnography, literary studies and textual criticism.

Getting Paid to Study

Did you know that you could get paid to be in graduate school? Financial support from the university is available to full-time students on a competitive basis. A minimum guaranteed funding for doctoral students is currently $17,500 a year for four years. Our MA students can receive anywhere from $6000 to $8000 a year.

In addition, McMaster's Department of Religious Studies offers numerous scholarships, teaching assistantships, external awards, travel scholarships, and bursaries.

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Conferences, summer internships, language programs, teaching opportunities, and research are just some of the ways that graduate students travel. Travel grants from the University and the Department support student initiatives overseas and locally, giving students the opportunity to conduct research and develop professional skills.

Discover Hamilton


Scholarly activities are only part of the total experience of being a grad student. Extra-curricular activities in the Department include summer softball, hockey leagues, departmental gatherings, writing seminars, professional development, and more. Boasting the largest university gym in Canada, graduate-only bar (where you’ll often find us after a seminar), an amazing array of restaurants, and kilometers of hiking trails, Hamilton offers plenty beyond the classroom.

McMaster is situated in Hamilton, Ontario, a city of more than half a million wrapped around the western most shore of Lake Ontario, approximately equal distance between the cities of Toronto and Buffalo, New York.

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Look to the Future

Of our more than 40 students who have received a PhD since 1996, approximately 60% have moved on to hold full-time academic positions, and another 20% to part-time teaching. Masters students have also gone on to careers in the private sector and have been accepted into prestigious PhD programs. Beyond academia, graduates have gone to positions in government, NGOs, and the private sector.

Recent Graduates

Stephanie Balkwill

Where has your graduate education taken you?

I was recently a fellow at the Center for Chinese Studies, National Library of Taiwan, Beijing University, and East China Normal University in Shanghai. Since then I have accepted a position as a Provost’s Postdoctoral Scholar in the Humanities at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Housed in the department of Religion, my position will allow me to teach three courses at USC over the next two years while doing my own research. The new research project that I am undertaking at USC is a book-length study titled “Because the Buddha is No Longer a Woman: Tracking the Ideal of Female-to-Male Sex Change in Mahāyāna Sūtras,” addressing the topic of female-to-male transformation inMahayana texts. I will be under the supervision of Dr. Lori Meeks. This is a topic that came to me during my dissertation research and I am very excited to get started.

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