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Religious Studies

What is Religious Studies?

Religious Studies is the study of religious belief systems from various disciplinary perspectives (sociology, anthropology, comparative cultural studies, philosophy, literature, art and architecture, political science, etc.) It is not a degree in theology per se, though the study of scriptural traditions is integral to the major. Rather, Religious Studies focuses on religions as they operate in cultures and societies, and as they influence events and attitudes in local communities and global contexts.

The Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies provides students with a well-rounded understanding of major religious traditions and practices while also offering specialization in particular religions, regions, and/or theoretical approaches to the study of religion in historical, global and comparative contexts.

In addition to fulfilling College and University requirements for the Bachelor of Arts degree, students declaring the major in Religious Studies must have a minimum GPA of 2.0 and complete 30 credit hours in the major, which may include a 3 hour Practicum according to the criteria below. For successful completion of the major, 18 credit hours of coursework must be at the advanced level, 15 credit hours in residence, and a final minimum GPA of 2.0 in coursework. Note: no course taken to fulfill the major may be applied towards a student’s minor.

Requirements for the B.A. in Religious Studies:

All of the following are required:

A) Required Course (3 credit hours)

  • RELS 1301 Introduction to Religious Studies (Humanities Core)

B) From each of the THREE following clusters

  1. Judaic, Christian, and Islamic traditions  (9 credit hours)
  2. Asian, African, and Native American religions and world mythologies  (6 credit hours)
  3.  Religions in Global Perspective: Theoretical and thematic topics from the Humanities and/or Social Sciences  (6 credit hours)

C) TWO more courses in any of the above clusters (6 credit hours). Course list, by cluster, below.

Course Clusters

    1. Judaic, Christian, and Islamic traditions
      • ARAB 3313 Qur’an as Literature
      • ENGL 4360 Bible as Literature
      • RELS 2310 The Bible and Western Culture 1 (Humanities Core)
      • RELS 2311 The Bible and Western Culture 2 (Humanities Core)
      • RELS 2330 Judaism (Humanities Core)
      • RELS 2335 Rabbinic Biblical Interpretation (WID)
      • RELS 2350 Introduction to Islam (WID)
      • RELS 3323 Continuities: Jewish and Christian Texts and Tradition
      • RELS 3325 Paul of Tarsus: His Life and Letters
      • RELS 3330 Christianity
      • RELS 3371 Women in Bible/ Old Testament
      • RELS 3373 Jews in the Ancient World
      • RELS 3375 Christianity and Ethics
      • WCL 3341 Early Islamic Society: Literature and Thought
    2. Asian, African, and Native American religions, and world mythologies
      • AAS 2322 Introduction to African Religions and Philosophy
      • ANTH 2365 Aztec and Maya Beliefs and Cosmologies
      • CLAS 3306 Greek and Roman Myths
      • CLAS 3308 Myths and Cults of Greek Gods (Humanities Core)
      • ENGL 4370 Folktale
      • RELS 2340 Introduction to Hinduism (WID)
      • RELS 2345 Sacred Texts and Mythologies of India
      • RELS 2360 Introduction to Buddhism(WID)
      • RELS 3335 Black Atlantic Religions
      • RELS 3380 Asian Religions
      • RELS 3381 Global Hinduism (WID)
      • RELS 3390 Hinduism and Jainism

  1. Religions in Global Perspective: Theoretical and thematic topics from the Humanities and/or Social Sciences
    • AAS 2330 Black Liberation Theology
    • AAS 4330 The Black Church in America
    • ANTH 3315 Muslim Peoples of the Middle East
    • ANTH 3338 Peoples of Africa
    • ANTH 3348 Anthropology of Religion (WID)
    • ANTH 3381 Global Hinduism
    • ARAB 3306 Introduction to Arabic Culture, Language, and Islam
    • ARAB 3314 Women and Gender in Arab Literature (WID)
    • ARAB 3340 Modernity and Rationalism in Islamic Tradition (Humanities Core)
    • ARTH 2382 Medieval Art
    • ARTH 3312 Pre-Columbian Art (WID)
    • ARTH 3318 Art and Architecture of India
    • CCS 3351 African Religious Practices in the Americas
    • CCS 3393 Comparative Approaches to Indigenous Cultures in the Americas
    • CLAS 3307 Greek and Roman Myths of Heroes (Humanities Core)
    • CLAS 3375 Roman, Jew, and Christian: The Politics and Sociology of Religion in the First Century A.D.
    • ENGL 4360 Bible as Literature
    • HIST 2365 Modern India: History, Religion, and Culture
    • HIST 3378 Modern Middle East
    • HIST 3391 Africa and the Indian Ocean World
    • HIST 4332 The Crusades
    • HIST 4334 The Reformation in Europe
    • HIST 4375 Religions of Modern Latin America
    • ITAL 4308 Dante and His World
    • JWST 2380 Introduction to Jewish Studies
    • JWST 3380 American Jewish Culture
    • PHIL 3348 Philosophy and Evolution
    • PHIL 3374 Science and Religion
    • PHIL 3377 Philosophy of Religion
    • POLS 4333 Islam and Democracy
    • POLS 4347 Religion and Politics
    • POLS 4348 Contemporary Islamic Political Thought
    • RELS 2380 Religion and Film (VPA Core)
    • RELS 3322 The Catholic Intellectual Tradition
    • RELS 3333 Religion and Literature
    • RELS 3334 Us and Them: Ethical Decision-Making in Complex Cultures
    • RELS 3336 Caribbean Societies and Cultures
    • RELS 3360 Muslim-Christian Relations
    • RELS 3366 History of Magic, Witchcraft and the Occult
    • RELS 3370 Bible and Modern Science (WID)
    • RELS 3376 Themes in Comparative Religion
    • RELS 3377 Belief and Unbelief
    • RELS 3382 Politics and Religion in South Asia
    • RELS 4320 Religion and Personality
    • RELS 4360 Clash of Civilizations
    • SOC 3355 Sociology of India
    • SOC 3362 Sociology of Religions in India
    • SOC 3375 Religion and Society
    • SOC 3385 Sociology of World Religions
    • WCL 2370 Cultures of India
    • WCL 3355 Women East and West: Global Representation of Female Divinities
    • WCL 3380 American Jewish Culture

Religious Studies Practicum (3 credit hours) that may be satisfied by:

  1. an approved internship program, or
  2. a designated capstone research project or honors thesis, or
  3. an approved study abroad program.

Note: RELS Selected Topics courses (e.g. RELS 2396, 2397, 3396, 3397, 4396) or RELS Independent Study courses (e.g. RELS 3398, 4398) will be assigned to a category ad hoc per the Director of Religious Studies based on content.