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Religious Studies

Religious Studies Program

Religious Studies uses the tools of many academic fields to study religion, one of the oldest, most universal, most varied, most compelling, and most radical aspects of human experience.

Religious Studies students will both analyse from the outside many of the world’s religions and their role in society and culture, and study critically and open-mindedly the experiences and beliefs of people within those religions.

Electives allow students to tailor our program to their own goals, for example whether they seek a more theoretical understanding of religion, or they wish to include experience with religious institutions in their practical or activist life.

The Religious Studies Program offers an interdisciplinary major and minor. ‘Interdisciplinary’ here means that students take a short list of required core courses, and they also choose from a long list of elective courses on religion taught in many parts of the University.

Students will count towards the major or minor many courses not listed in the Catalog under Religious Studies. Students should consult the ‘Degree Requirements’ dropdowns under the ‘Major’ and ‘Minor’ tabs below for pre-approved classes, and the ‘Courses’ tab for lists of current or recent classes. Students may suggest other classes for approval (email wlc-advising@utah.edu before registering to ask for pre-approval). 

Any questions? Please contact the Religious Studies Program Director, Professor John Wynne, at john.wynne@utah.edu or the WLC Department Academic Advisors at wlc-advising@utah.edu

Eligible classes include (but are not limited to):

Early Christian Literature
Biblical Hebrew Poetry
Qur'anic Studies
Philosophy of Religion
Muslim-Americans in the US
Ancient Myth and Religion
Traditional Asian Medicine
Classical Chinese Philosophy
Sociology of Religion
Spirituality in Social Work
Baroque Art in Europe
Myth, Magic & Religion
Arts of Buddhism
God, Love, and Mysticism
Mormonism and the
     American Experience

Native American Religion
Religions of India
Islam and Politics
World Religions Medieval England
Sex and the Bible
Global Islam
The Bible as Literature

 

Religious Studies Major (BA)

The Religious Studies (RELS) Major consists of a minimum of 31 credit hours of course work.   This includes: four (4) Required Courses (12 credits), six (6) Upper Division Enrichment Courses selected from our approved course list (18 credits), and one WLC Signature Practicum Experience (1 or more credits).  Students must pass all class requirements with a "C-" or better. Of the 31 credit hours at least 21 must be taken at the U of U (including Faculty-Led Learning Abroad programs). 

Exceptions to the major requirements are made at the discretion of the Program Director.

Any questions? Please contact the Religious Studies Program Director, Professor John Wynne, at john.wynne@utah.edu or the WLC Department Academic Advisors at wlc-advising@utah.edu

  1. Students will be able to analyze and interpret religious phenomena and identities and be able to make an informed assessment of their role in current social institutions as well as past historical events. They will identify and discuss disciplinary perspectives on religion, including those of anthropology, sociology, history, art history, philosophy, literature, political science, psychology, social work, and theater. This outcome supports the Essential Learning Outcomes (Association of American Colleges and Universities, 2002), including the knowledge of human cultures and the physical and natural world; the thorough study of the social sciences, humanities, histories, languages, and the arts; and foundations and skills for lifelong learning.

  2. Students will be able to acquire cultural and religious literacy in order to better understand world religions and their history, practices, and beliefs. They will use this literacy to develop practices of intercultural dialogue and exchange, including in some cases, the ability to read and translate other languages. This outcome supports the Essential Learning Outcomes (Association of American Colleges and Universities, 2002), including inquiry and analysis and critical and creative thinking, anchored through active involvement with diverse communities and real-world challenges.

  3. Students will be able to critically assess and synthesize the approaches to religion that are presented in different disciplines. Ultimately, students are encouraged to formulate personal approaches to understanding and interpreting religious phenomena and religious identities, bringing together their scholarly investigations, discussions with peers, and personal experiences. This outcome supports the Essential Learning Outcomes (Association of American Colleges and Universities, 2002), including integrative and applied learning, synthesis and advanced accomplishment across general and specialized studies, demonstrated through the application of knowledge, skills, and responsibilities to new settings and complex problems.

Required Courses

12 Total Credits

Complete all of the following

PHIL3640 World Religions (3)
RELS3620 Thinking about Religion (3)
CL CV1550 Classical Mythology (3)

Complete at least 1 of the following

HINDI4610 South Asian Literature & Culture (3)
HEBR3880 Special Topics in Hebrew Studies (3)
PERS4325 Hyphenated Lives: Muslim-Americans in the U.S. (3)

Electives

18 Total Credits

Complete at least 18 credits from Approved Courses

For listings of recently approved courses, see the Approved Courses tab. Approved Courses for upcoming terms are added to the Approved Courses tab shortly after the Class Schedule for the upcoming term is released. 

Students may suggest courses for approval (email wlc-advising@utah.edu before registering for the course to ask for pre-approval). 

Practicum

1+ TOTAL CREDITS 

Choose and complete one of the Practicum Options for 1 or more credits

Contact the Religious Studies Program Director Professor John Wynne (john.wynne@utah.edu) to discuss practicum options before choosing. 

CLCS3940 Community Engaged Learning (3)
WLC3910 Undergraduate Research (1 - 3)
UGS4820 Capstone Projects (3 - 4)
HNKLY4903 Internship (3 - 12)
Any 3-credit upper-division course on a Learning Abroad program (3)
Honors Thesis

View All Practicum Options

Minimum Degree Hours

122 Total Credits

Minimum Major Hours

31 Total Credits

Only course work taken for a letter grade will contribute to major requirements; CR/NC course work will not count.

Only 12 credits from a dual major can count toward Religious Studies and all courses must be classes at the 3000-level or above.

A maximum of 12 transfer credit hours may be applied to the major.  

The overall grade-point average (GPA) for courses meeting the above requirements must be at 2.0.

No individual course receiving a grade lower than C- will count for any of the requirements.

  Religious Studies MAJOR REQUIREMENTS     WLC Practicum Options

Religious Studies Minor

The Religious Studies (RELS) Minor consists of 18 credit hours of course work.   This includes: two (2) Required Courses (6 credits) and four (4) Upper Division Enrichment Courses (12 credits) selected from our Approved Course list.  Students must pass all class requirements with a "C-" or better.

Exceptions to the minor requirements are made at the discretion of the Program Director.

Any questions? Please contact the Religious Studies Program Director, Professor John Wynne, at john.wynne@utah.edu or the WLC Department Academic Advisors at wlc-advising@utah.edu

Required Courses

TOTAL CREDITS

Complete both of the following

RELS3620 Thinking about Religion (3)
PHIL3640 World Religions (3)

Electives

12 TOTAL CREDITS

Complete at least 12 credits from the Approved Courses

For listings of recently approved courses, see the Approved Courses tab. Approved Courses for upcoming terms are added to the Approved Courses tab shortly after the Class Schedule for the upcoming term is released. 

Students may suggest courses for approval (email wlc-advising@utah.edu before registering for the course to ask for pre-approval). 

Minimum Minor Hours

18 TOTAL CREDITS

Only course work taken for a letter grade will contribute to the above requirements; CR/NC course work will not count.

No individual course receiving a grade lower than "C-" will count for any of the requirements.

The overall grade-point average (GPA) for courses meeting the above requirements must be at 2.0.

  Religious Studies mINOR REQUIREMENTS 

Approved Courses

Students may suggest courses other than those already listed for approval (email wlc-advising@utah.edu before registering for the class to ask for pre-approval). 

Two lower-division transfer courses from Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) may be approved for the Religious Studies major. One lower-division transfer course from SLCC may be approved for the Religious Studies minor. Please contact wlc-advising@utah.edu for details.

2022

ARTH 3180-001: Islamic Art

CLCV 1550-001: Classical Mythology

CLCS 4900-002 / PERS 4880-002: Gold, Love, & Mysticism

ENGL 3030-001: Bible As Literature

ENGL 5721-001: John Milton

ETHNC 4730-001: Race, Religion, Spirituality

MID E 2780-090: Religiosity in ME/USA

PHIL 3012-004: Problem of Evil

PHIL 3110-001: Survey of Medieval Philosophy

PHIL 3600-001: Phil of Religion

SOC 3440-090: Sociology of Religion

HIST 3400: History of the Middle East

HINDI 4610: Subversive Indian/Pakistani film

ARAB 4880: Classical Arabic (need at least 1st year Arabic to register)

HIST 3005/MIDE 3500: Ancient Empires

HIST 3910: God and Money

PHIL 3640: World Religions

MID E 3753: Anthropological Archaeology of Ancient Egypt

ARAB 4880-003 / CLCS 4900-004 Visions of Islam

ANTH 3321 Classic Maya

HIST 3040 Early Medieval England

HIST 3400 / MID E 3540 Middle East Since 1914

HIST 4660 History of Utah

HIST 4130 Early Medieval Social and Cultural History

MID E 3880-090 Religion & Fashion in Mid E

NAVJO 4550-002 Navajo Culture & Tradition

PERS 4325 / CLCS 4325 Muslim-Americans in US

PHIL 3600 Philosophy of Religion

PHIL 3820 Meaning of Life

POLS 4400 / HIST 4400 / MID E 4510 Introduction to Islam

THEA 3001 Zen, Eastern Theatre

 

Career Opportunities - Why Study Religion?

The skills you will gain in this program will prepare you for careers in a host of fields including, international relations, medical vocations, education-–just to name a few. Listed below are other career opportunities that open up with a religious studies degree.

Curator
Chaplain
Attorney
Historian

Anthropologist
Freelance Writer
Campus Ministry
Teacher/Professor

Humanitarian Work
Social Justice Advocacy
Economic Development


Why Study Religion?

Fear of the “other” (marked as ethnic, racial, and of course, religious difference) is at the heart of so many of the conflicts that currently afflict the world. Students of Religious Studies learn about the sociological and psychological factors which shape belief and often inform global conflict. They also study the history and theology of multiple religious traditions.

We focus on teaching students ways of engaging religious difference in complex ways and learning to talk thoughtfully, and respectfully about these differences. With this training place they are uniquely able not only to analyze how religious discourse informs divisive situations, but more importantly how to actively foster civil dialogue that honestly honors, rather than mitigates religious difference.

Huffpost Religion Logo
The Top Five Reasons to Study Religion

Chronicle of Higher Education
The Value of Teaching Religious Literacy 

Student Opportunities

Aziz Atiya Comparative Religion Research Awards

The Religious Studies Program of the Department of World Languages and Cultures is pleased to announce an annual competition for faculty and graduate student research awards for 2019-2020. The competition supports activities that enhance research productivity connected to the study of religion, broadly defined.

Click Here for Details

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Last Updated: 4/21/22