Collaborative agreement between GVSU, WMU aids students seeking master's in religion

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An agreement between GVSU and WMU puts students on a fast track to a master's degree in comparative religion.
Image Credit: University Communications

A unique partnership between Grand Valley and Western Michigan University will allow GVSU undergraduate students to transfer credits toward a master's degree in comparative religion at WMU.

The agreement, "WMU 4+1 and GVSU," allows Grand Valley undergraduates to transfer credits from upper-division coursework in religion toward the master's degree program.

Melanie Shell-Weiss, chair and associate professor of liberal studies at Grand Valley, said the agreement puts students on a fast-track to a master's degree.

"This is one more way that Grand Valley's Religious Studies Program provides attractive, relevant opportunities for students of all fields and backgrounds while helping them maximize their tuition investment," Shell-Weiss said. 

Stephen Covell, chair and professor of comparative religion at WMU, called the program a wonderful opportunity for Grand Valley students and added that students enrolled through the 4+1 program could bring up to 12 credit hours, putting them two semesters ahead of a student working toward a master's degree the traditional way.

"The 4+1 program saves students time and money on their way to a master's degree," Covell said. "Graduates of our master's program go on to Ph.D. programs in the humanities and social sciences, law school, education and nonprofit work. For students looking to go into these the fields the MA gives them a strong foundation to succeed."

For more information about the program, visit and