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Department of Religious Studies

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Major in Religious Studies

Students majoring in religious studies gain a deep knowledge of a single tradition, region, or theme and a broad understanding of religions around the world. Successful students develop a highly portable analytical skill set that equips them to pursue graduate degrees in religion or cognate disciplines, as well as professional degrees and careers in fields such as Law, Diplomacy, Medicine, and Business. Majors will gain the ability to reason intelligently about one of the most difficult and sensitive topics in any society. By virtue of the variety of religious cultures studied, the training will deepen students’ mutual understanding and sensitivity to prepare them to become truly responsible global citizens.


Program of Concentration in Religious Studies                              

31 Credit Hours.  The Program of Concentration in Religious Studies seeks to introduce students to the rich diversity of religious traditions in the world (BREADTH component) and to build depth of study in areas of specific interest to the student (DEPTH component). In addition, the curriculum includes instruction in the range of theories and methods used to approach religious traditions academically (TOOLS OF THE DISCIPLINE component). The student will then be able to pursue individual interests (ELECTIVES component).

 

BREADTH COMPONENT (9 Credit Hours) - ensures a familiarity with the rich diversity of religious traditions in the world.

A. Encountering Religious Diversity  (3 credit hours). RLST 1010. An introduction to the field of religious studies and select traditions. 

B. Introductory Course in African or Western Traditions (3 credit hours). Introductory course in a religious tradition originating in the Mediterranean, Middle East, Africa, or the Americas (including but not limited to Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Egyptian religions, traditions of Sub-Saharan Africa, Native American traditions).  

C. Introductory Course in Asian or Non-Western Traditions (3 credit hours). Introductory course in a religious tradition originating in Asia or the pacific (including but not limited to Hindu and Buddhist traditions and those traditions originating in East and South Asia).   

 

DEPTH COMPONENT (9 Credit Hours) -  organized according to three tracks: traditions, geographies, and theories and themes. 9 credit hours must be chosen from ONE of these tracks.

A. Traditions.
Buddhist Traditions
Christian Traditions 
Hindu Traditions
Indigenous Traditions

Islamic Traditions
Jewish Traditions

B. Geographies.  
Africa, West Asia, and the Mediterranean
The Americas
East Asia
South/Southeast Asia

C. Theories and Themes.
Religion in the Literary and Visual Arts
Theories of Religion, Science, and/or Psychology

 

TOOLS OF THE DISCIPLINE COMPONENT (4-6 Credit Hours) - introduction to key issues and theories and methods in the academic study of religion.  

A. Theory and Method (3 credit hours). RLST 4960W, "Approaches to the Academic Study of Religion." 

B. Majors Colloquium (1 credit hour, may be taken a total of three times). RLST 4970, "Majors Colloquium."
[Course Guide]

 

ELECTIVES (9 Credit Hours) - may be drawn from any of the courses listed under the Breadth, Depth, or Tools of the Discipline component of the major.

A.  Note: Students may elect to deepen an area of study or they may build additional breadth in other traditions, regions, or themes.

B Note: One relevant language course (3 credit hours) may count, with approval from the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Religious Studies. This course is not subject to the two course limit (6 credit hours) on courses taken outside the department.  

 

Majors Worksheet Tool - Use to plan and detail courses to date toward the fulfillment of a major


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