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Master of Religion and Public Life (MRPL)

The Master of Religion and Public Life is designed for professionals in law, health care, social work, education and other fields whose work requires them to negotiate issues of faith.

The program is not for those interested in ordination but rather individuals who seek specialized training to enhance their ability to serve the church and the world in other capacities. The degree is ideal for professionals who desire improved understanding of the specific demands and concerns of religious traditions they encounter at work, as well as to gain a more general appreciation for the ways in which religion shapes the public landscape of 21st century North America.

Through their study for a Master of Religion and Public Life degree, students will gain:

  • Basic understanding of the roles of religion in American society.
  • Familiarity with the basic beliefs and practices of Christianity and at least one other religious tradition.
  • Understanding of some of the ways in which basic beliefs of a tradition impact adherents’ attitudes and practices.

Students enrolled in the Candler MRPL program will upon completion of their degree be able to: 

  • Articulate some of the basic methodological approaches to the sociology of religion.
  • Describe the basic beliefs of Christianity and articulate some of the ways in which they bear on the attitudes and/or social practice of Christians.
  • Describe the basic beliefs of one non-Christian religious tradition and articulate some of the ways in which they bear on the attitudes and/or social practice of adherents to that tradition. 

Degree Requirements

Credit hours
The MRPL is a 30 credit-hour, residential degree program including coursework and the completion of a final integrative paper worth three credits. It is designed for completion by a part-time or a full-time student in one-to-four years. Classes will be held on the Emory campus at Candler, but a number of classes will be offered in the evening to accommodate career professionals with full-time work commitments.

In consultation with the program director, students are free to choose courses that are of most interest to them and of greatest relevance to their professional contexts. The integrative paper will integrate themes from the student’s full course of study, with the topic chosen in consultation with the program director and paper adviser.

For more information about the MRPL program, contact Candler’s Admissions Office at 404.727.6326 or