Major in Religious Studies

Please note that the requirements for the major officially changed in Fall 2013.  If you entered the program prior to Fall 2013 you may elect to graduate under the previous requirements found here

Bachelor of Arts

The Bachelor of Arts with a major in religious studies requires a minimum of 120 s.h., including 30 s.h.  of work for the major (6 s.h. of required courses and 24 s.h. of electives, as indicated below). Students must complete the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences General Education Program; they may count a maximum of three religious studies courses toward General Education Program requirements. Students must maintain a g.p.a. of at least 2.00 in the major. Courses for the major may not be taken pass/nonpass. Transfer students may count a maximum of 15 s.h. of transfer credit toward the major; transfer credit is evaluated individually.


The major in religious studies requires the following two courses, for a total of 6 s.h..

RELS:1015  Religions in a Global Context

  • This gateway course is an introduction to the study of the world’s religions, to be taken at a student’s earliest opportunityThis course is offered each spring semester.

RELS:4950  Senior Seminar

  • This capstone course is offered each spring semester. It is ideally to be taken during the senior year, but may be taken during the junior year.


The major in religious studies requires eight elective religious studies courses, for a total of 24 s.h., which must include:

  • at least 6 s.h. must be at the foundational level, 1000-1999;
  • at least 9 s.h. must be at more  advanced levels, 2000-4999;
  • the other 9 s.h. may be at any level.

Religious studies courses are organized into two categories—Religious Traditions and Critical Issues—but students may choose freely across the categories. The department recommends the study of diverse traditions and issues.  The available courses within these two categories are listed below:

Religious Traditions

Courses in this category generally focus on religious traditions or movements in historical perspective, within particular geographical areas or across regions. They may address foundational stories of creation and cosmic order, archeological findings, the compilation and interpretation of revered texts, religious doctrines, social norms, rituals and practices, or conflicts and schisms.

RELS:1000 - First-Year Seminar

RELS:1001 - Judaism, Christianity and Islam (now the Judeo-Christian Tradition)

RELS:1070 - Intro to the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament

RELS:1080 - Intro to the New Testament

RELS:1113 - Gateway to the Bible

RELS:1130 - Intro to Islamic Civilization

RELS:1225 - Medieval Religion and Culture

RELS:1250 - Modern Religion and Culture

RELS:1410 - Intro to Indian Religions

RELS:1506 - Intro to Buddhism

RELS:1510 – Gods, Buddhas, and Ghostly Officials: Past & Present of Chinese Religions

RELS:1610 - Japanese Religions

RELS:2050 - Liturgy & Devotion in Christian Tradition

RELS:2090 – Issues in American Catholicism

CLSA:2182 - Ancient Mediterranean Religions

RELS:2210 - Women and the Bible

RELS:2225 - Messianic & Apocalyptic Bible Prophecy

RELS:2320 - Jesus & His Interpreters

RELS:2340 - The Apostle Paul

RELS:2460 - Japanese Religion & Thought

RELS:2655 - Zen Buddhism

CLSA:2361 - Mid East & Mediter Alex-Suleiman

SOAS:2681 - Hindu Religion and Art

RELS:2700 - Sacred World of Native Americans

RELS:3003 - Classical and Hellenistic Periods I

RELS:3075 - Medieval & Ref Religious Thought

RELS:3103 - Biblical Archeology

RELS:3105 - The World of the Old Testament

RELS:3190 - Traditions of Religious Reform

RELS:3243 - Early Christianity: Jesus-Rise of Islam

CLSA:3245 - Mythology of Otherworldly Journeys

RELS:3247 - Banned from the Bible: Pseudepigrapha

RELS:3385 - Early Modern Catholicism

SOAS:3401 - Indian Literature

RELS:3560 - Topics in Asian Religions

RELS:3666 – History of Rel/Spiritual Practice: Yoga in Asia

ARTH:3704 - Egyptian Art

CLSA:3716 - Greek Religion and Society

RELS:4001 - Biblical Hebrew I

RELS:4002 - Biblical Hebrew II

RELS:4003 - Biblical Hebrew III

RELS:4155 - Religious Conflict/Early-Modern Period

RELS:4181 - Special Topics in Western Religion

RELS:4352 - Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls

RELS:4360 - Religious Identity Modern Secular State

SOAS:4404 - The Literature of Daoism

SPAN:4870 - Islamic Cultural Presence in Spain

RELS:4960 - Individual Study Undergraduates

RELS:4970 - Honors Tutorial

RELS:4975 - Honors Essay

Critical Issues

Courses in this category generally focus on ideas, arguments, or problems, often with reference to influential texts or oral traditions. They may explore religious perspectives on the nature of reality or the meaning of life. They may focus on issues of gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, class, globalization, human rights, or law and politics.

RELS:1000 - First-Year Seminar

RELS:1350 - Intro to African-American Religions

RELS:1404 - Living Religions of the East

RELS:1702 - Religion in America Today

RELS:1810 - Religion and Liberation

RELS:1825 - Intro to Religion and the Arts

RELS:1903 - Quest for Human Destiny

RELS:2090 – Issues in American Catholicism

RELS:2121 - The Bible and the Sacrifice of Animals

RELS:2289 - Jerusalem from the Bronze to Digital Age

RELS:2351 - Religious Thinkers of the West

RELS:2356 - Christianity & Enduring Human Experience

RELS:2720 - War & Peace in Religious Thought/Practice

RELS:2730 - African American Islam

RELS:2771 - Sexual Ethics

RELS:2775 - The Bible and the Holocaust

RELS:2778 - American Indian Women: Myth, Ritual, and Sacred Power

RELS:2791 - Religion and Social Life

PHIL:2834 - Philosophy of Religion

RELS:2852 - Women in Islam and the Middle East

RELS:2912 - The Bible in Film: Hollywood and Moses

RELS:2947 - Quest II: Sex, Love, and Death

RELS:2962 - Religion in the Public Sphere

RELS:2969 - Quest III: Heroes Lovers and Knaves

RELS:2980 - Religion & Contemporary Popular Culture

RELS:3020 - Religion and Politics

RELS:3237 - Modern Religious Thought: 19th Century

RELS:3320 - In Search of the Good Life

RELS:3340 - The Development of the Afterlife

RELS:3431 - Gender and Sexuality in East Asia

RELS:3448  The Allure of Krishna: Sacred Sexuality in Indian Culture

RELS:3572 - Comparative Ritual

RELS:3575 - East Meets West: West Reception of Eastern Religions

RELS:3580 - Religion and Healing

RELS:3582 - Enlightenment: Texts on Religious Realization

PHIL:3645 - Buddhist Philosophy

BUSN:3700 - Nonprofit Organizational Effectiveness I

BUSN:3701 - Nonprofit Organizational Effectiveness II

RELS:3711 - Religion and Women

ANTH:3714 - Anthropology of Religion

RELS:3745 - 20th C African-American Religion: Civil Rights to Hip Hop

RELS:3808 - Malcolm X, King & Human Rights

RELS:3855 - Human Rights and Islam

RELS:3953 - Religion and the Arts

RELS:3976 - American Indian Environmentalism

RELS:4133 - Spec Topics: Islamic & Middle East Society

RELS:4620 - Turning East

RELS:4660 - The Karma of Words

RELS:4730 - Religion and Env Ethics

RELS:4741 - Varieties of American Religion

RELS:4748  Religious Rhetoric: God and US Politics

RELS:4859 - Comparative Islamic Law

RELS:4920 - Native American Women & Religious Change

RELS:4939 - Religion and Violence in America

NEW:XXXX  Women and American Religion

NEW:XXXX  American Religion and Film

NEW:XXXX  Latino Religions

RELS:4960 - Individual Study Undergraduates

RELS:4970 - Honors Tutorial

RELS:4975 - Honors Essay