The Religious Studies Minor is an interdisciplinary minor devoted to the academic study of religions and spiritualities which is housed in the History Department. The goal of the program is to educate students in the scholarly interpretation of religion and to cultivate understanding of and respect for religious diversity (and secular perspectives) cross-culturally and historically. It also encourages students to become reflective and informed citizens who can constructively engage in broader dialogue and debate on the role of religion in our communities and the world.
The core curriculum of the Religious Studies minor introduces students to the different disciplinary approaches (historical, social, political, intellectual, philosophical, scientific, literary and artistic) most useful in the study of religion. REL 201 exposes students to the variety of academic methods employed by scholars of religious studies and sacred literature to engage critically with belief systems and oral/written traditions. REL 395, World Religions and Spiritualities, explores different religious and spiritual traditions, providing study of the continuities and changes within cultural traditions and the operation of religions in particular social contexts.
Religious Studies provides an excellent background for students pursuing graduate programs in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences, especially nursing; and professional programs in business, law and foreign service. At the same time, Religious Studies prepares future teachers, business leaders, scholars, social workers, health care professionals, authors, journalists, and artists to reflectively situate religion or spirituality in their own lives and appreciate the complexities of religious differences in a pluralistic society and world.
The Religious Studies minor is open to ALL students. To earn a minor, students are required to take18 credits, consisting of 2 core courses and 4 electives. The core courses are REL 201, Introduction to Religious Studies; and REL 395, World Religions and Spirituality (REL 395/HST 395). Of the 12 elective credits, 6 credits must be at or above the 300-level.
For the electives, students will receive personal advising as to choices of elective courses from different disciplines that reflect their individual interests and academic goals. Independent study (REL 495) with Religious Studies affiliate faculty members is also available.
A minor must be completed at the time of the degree and will be so noted on the student’s transcript. A student cannot be readmitted to the University to complete only a minor.