Religious Studies

The religious studies major introduces you to the academic study of religion and religious traditions. This program shows you ways to read and interpret major texts from the world’s religions. Our courses give you opportunities to deepen your thinking about religious topics that are relevant to all religions, such as the sacred, the human condition, and the values, virtues and ethical demands associated with living a good life. You are encouraged to expand their approaches to religion by interpreting religious traditions in their historical, social, cultural, linguistic and political settings.

Preparing You for Success

As a religious studies major, you can tailor your study by taking a wide variety of courses on religion or by choosing a concentration in which you focus on a specific area of study such as: Asian religions, Judaism, American religions, early Christianity or Islam. The department has scholars with expertise in these areas. A major in religious studies presents many opportunities for you to become more competent in many walks of life. For one thing, you develop valuable skills of critical thinking and clear and persuasive writing. Moreover, the religious studies degree provides cross-cultural, inter-religious knowledge that is an excellent foundation for understanding the diverse people of the world.

Making your Mark

Religious studies majors can also pursue this major along with a second major not only from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, but from other colleges in the university, too. Likewise, religious studies majors go to pursue graduate degrees in many different areas (including in religious studies departments or at seminaries) as well as a vast array of careers after graduation.

Sample Program Plan

Elective Courses (choose eight) - 24 hrs.

  • RLS 101: Comparative Religion - 3 hrs.
  • RLS 105: Church History - 3 hrs.
  • RLS 114: Introduction to Judaism - 3 hrs.
  • RLS 121: Islamic Civilization - 3 hrs.
  • RLS 200: Contemporary Religion in the United States - 3 hrs.
  • RLS 225: Arabic Christianity - 3 hrs.
  • RLS 280: Psychology of Religion - 3 hrs.
  • RLS 300: Hebrew Bible/Old Testament - 3 hrs.
  • RLS 302: New Testament - 3 hrs.
  • RLS 305: Early Christianity: Monasticism - 3 hrs.
  • RLS 310: Religion and Society - 3 hrs.
  • RLS 313: Introduction to Rabbinic Judaism - 3 hrs.
  • RLS 320: Muslim-Christian Relations - 3 hrs.
  • RLS 321: Islam & the West: Clash of Civilizations? - 3 hrs.
  • RLS 330: The Human Condition - 3 hrs.
  • RLS 331: Religions of the Eastern World - 3 hrs.
  • RLS 332: Religions of the World II - 3 hrs.
  • RLS 336: Buddhism and Asian Civilizations - 3 hrs.
  • RLS 338: China: Religion and Culture - 3 hrs.
  • RLS 340: Japan: Religion and Culture - 3 hrs.
  • RLS 344: Philosophy of Religion - 3 hrs.
  • RLS 350: Topics in Religious Studies - 3 hrs.
  • RLS 497: Problems in Religious Studies - 1-3 hrs.
  • RLS 498: Problems in Religious Studies - 1-3 hrs.