Rather than organizing the degree around traditions and “theory,” the Religious Studies major is organized around the modes of inquiry used by scholars of religion: Cultural Analysis, Historical Analysis and Textual Analysis. This organization is intended to help students see commonalities across their coursework. Despite significant differences in subject matter, in both a course on "the monstrous" in the Bible and a course on Jesus films, students are learning to read texts carefully. Similarly, whether it is a course on Religious Art and Architecture in India or a course on Religion in America, students are learning to think carefully about historical and cultural context. Although the Department’s faculty specializes in a wide range of disparate subject matter, we share a much narrower set of approaches for analyzing our respective areas of expertise. By focusing the major on these commonalities, students and faculty will better be able to talk across our different interests.
In addition, the Religious Studies major gives students great flexibility in terms of how they meet the requirements of the degree. This will allow students to complete the major more quickly and more easily.
The major in Religious Studies consists of 30 course credit hours, with at least 15 hours at the 3000-level or above. Students must take RELS 2600: Introduction to the Study of Religion as the foundational couse in theories of religion. Students must take two (2) historical analysis, two (2) textual analysis, and two (2) cultural analysis classes. Along with these students must take two elective classes in the Department of Religious Studies. The final required course is RELS 4600: Senior Seminar which works as a capstone course to round out the major.
The minor in Religious Studies offers a flexible minor only requiring 15 hours of course work, with at least 6 hours at the 3000-level or above.