Major in Religious Studies

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 & Islam

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:1323       Life in the Biblical World

RELS:1410       Intro to Indian Religions

RELS:1430       The Bible: Frequently Asked Questions

RELS:1502       Asian Humanities: India

RELS:1506       Intro to Buddhism

RELS:1510       Past & Present of Chinese Religions

RELS:1610       Japanese Religions

RELS:1620       Bhagavad Gita: India’s Greatest Teaching

RELS:1765       U.S. Latino Religions

RELS:2041       Understanding “The Muslim World”

RELS:2064       Tricksters, Fools, and Creators

RELS:2068       Jews in Popular Culture

RELS:2182       Ancient Mediterranean Religions

RELS:2225       Messianic & Apocalyptic Bible Prophecy

RELS:2320       Jesus & The Gospels

RELS:2361       Middle East & Mediterranean Alexander-Suleiman

RELS:2475       Islam in America

RELS:2552       Atheism, Agnosticism, & Religion

RELS:2674       You Are What You Eat: Food/Belief/Identity

RELS:2700       Sacred World of Native Americans

RELS:2877       Sport and Religion in America

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

RELS:3003       Classical and Hellenistic Periods I

RELS:3055       Death, Dying & Beyond Asian Religions

RELS:3103       Biblical Archaeology

RELS:3105       The World of the Old Testament

RELS:3129       Native American Prophets and Prophecy

RELS:3190       Medieval-Modern: Birth of Protestantism

RELS:3243       Pagans & Christians: The Early Church

RELS:3245       Mythology of Otherworldly Journeys

RELS:3247       Banned from the Bible:   Pseudepigrapha

RELS:3375       Birth of the Holy Land: Ancient Mid East Art

RELS:3385       Early Modern Catholicism

RELS:3448       Allure of Krishna: Sacred Sexuality

RELS:3524       The Devil in Judaism and Christianity

RELS:3655       Zen Buddhism

RELS:3660       Japanese Religion and Thought

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

RELS:3704       Egyptian Art

RELS:3716       Greek Religion and Society

RELS:3834       Arab Spring in Context: Media

RELS:3845       Islam in Africa

RELS:4001       Biblical Hebrew I

RELS:4002       Biblical Hebrew II

RELS:4155       Religious Conflict/Early-Modern Period

RELS:4181       Special Topics in Western Religion

RELS:4352       The Dead Sea Scrolls

RELS:4870       Islamic Cultural Presence in Spain

RELS:4893       Classic Arabic: Vocab, Syntax, & Grammar

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:1010        CLAS Master Class

RELS:1050        Big Ideas: Information, Society, Culture

RELS:1350        Intro to African-American Religions

RELS:1404        Living Religions of the East

RELS:1606        Civilizations of Asia: South Asia

RELS:1702        Religion in America Today

RELS:1725        Gender & Religions/Visual Culture: Korea

RELS:1810        Longing for Freedom

RELS:1903        Quest for Human Destiny

RELS:1997        Harry Potter: Mystery & Magic of Life

RELS:2080        Public Life in US: Religion and Media

RELS:2087        Narnia & Beyond: Writings of CS Lewis

RELS:2090        Issues in American Catholicism

RELS:2110        Diverse American Religions: Gender/Sexuality

RELS:2260        Hard Cases in Healthcare: Life and Death

RELS:2265        Hard Cases Healthcare: Ethics at the Beginning of Life

RELS:2272        Religion and Film

RELS:2289        Jerusalem: The Holy City

RELS:2333        Economics & Religion

RELS:2353        Love: Journey of an Idea Through Time

RELS:2420        Human Identity in Science Fiction

RELS:2486        Religious Coexistence in the Middle East

RELS:2510        Fed Up With Organized Religion

RELS:2540        The Walls Between Us/The Bible Defines the Other

RELS:2620        Politics, Sex, and the Bible

RELS:2730        African American Islam

RELS:2771        Sexual Ethics

RELS:2775        The Bible and the Holocaust

RELS:2778        Am Indian Women: Myth, Ritual, and Sacred Power

RELS:2791         Religion & Social Life

RELS:2834         Philosophy of Religion

RELS:2852         Women in Islam and the Middle East

RELS:2855         Human Rights, Law, Religion & Culture

RELS:2912         The Bible in Film: Hollywood and Moses

RELS:2930         Digital Media and Religion

RELS:2980         Religion & Contemporary Popular Culture

RELS:2986         Religion & Women

RELS:3020          Religion and Politics

RELS:3333          Economics & Islam

RELS:3340          Recovering Eden: Afterlife Judaism/Xnty

RELS:3360          Religion Beyond Reason: Emotion & Communication

RELS:3431          Gender and Sexuality in Asia

RELS:3520           Dying for the Promised Land: Martyrdom

RELS:3550           Social Justice, Religion, & Spirituality

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

RELS:3644           Ghandi & His Legacy

RELS:3645           Buddhist Philosophy

RELS:3700           Nonprofit Organizational Effectiveness I

RELS:3701           Nonprofit Organizational Effectiveness II

RELS:3714           Anthropology of Religion

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

RELS:3808           Malcolm X, King & Human Rights

RELS:3855           Human Rights and Islam

RELS:3976           American Indian Environmentalism

RELS:4124           Digital Archaeological Modeling

RELS:4153           Magic Machines: Tech & Social Change

RELS:4730           Religion and Environmental Ethics

RELS:4741           Varieties of American Religion

RELS:4960           Individual Study Undergraduates

RELS:4970           Honors Tutorial

RELS:4975           Honors Essay