Twin Cities campus
 
Twin Cities Campus

Religious Studies B.A.

Classical & Near Eastern Studies
College of Liberal Arts
  • Program Type: Baccalaureate
  • Requirements for this program are current for Spring 2018
  • Required credits to graduate with this degree: 120
  • Required credits within the major: 31 to 34
  • Degree: Bachelor of Arts
Students in religious studies are trained in the critical study of religious thought, practice, institutions, and communities throughout the world and across time periods. The subject of religion is by its very nature interdisciplinary, attracting interest from many perspectives, including textual and literary studies, history, sociology, anthropology, the arts, and philosophy. Students in the religious studies program select one of two tracks. The religion, culture, and society track is designed for students who seek to study religious traditions broadly or comparatively. The texts and traditions track is for students who seek to study a single tradition deeply, reading its foundational texts in their original language. Both tracks examine religion as a social and cultural force affecting fundamental issues of our world. All majors take courses in at least two religious traditions and develop an interdisciplinary concentration area consisting of four courses, selected from a variety of departments and focused on a theme, tradition, time period, location, practice, or set of questions. The concentration area must be approved by the major advisor.
Program Delivery
This program is available:
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
Admission Requirements
For information about University of Minnesota admission requirements, visit the Office of Admissions website.
General Requirements
All students in baccalaureate degree programs are required to complete general University and college requirements including writing and liberal education courses. For more information about University-wide requirements, see the liberal education requirements. Required courses for the major, minor or certificate in which a student receives a D grade (with or without plus or minus) do not count toward the major, minor or certificate (including transfer courses).
Program Requirements
Students are required to complete 4 semester(s) of Track I: Any language. Track II: Any language approved by the major adviser. with a grade of C-, or better, or S, or demonstrate proficiency in the language(s) as defined by the department or college.
CLA BA degrees require 4 semesters or the equivalent of a second language. CLA BA degrees require 18 upper-division (3xxx-level or higher) credits outside the major designator. These credits must be taken in designators different from the major designator and cannot include courses that are cross-listed with the major designator. The major designator for the Religious Studies BA is RELS. A minimum of 12 upper division program credits must be taken at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities campus. Students who double major and choose to complete the senior project requirement in their other CLA major are still required to take at least 30 credits in the religious studies program. Students may earn a BA or a minor in religious studies, but not both. The following restrictions apply to students also completing a major in Jewish studies or Biblical studies: (1) the Major Breadth Course requirement should be fulfilled using courses on traditions fully distinct from the focal tradition in the sub-plan and well outside of the scope of the other major in question; (2) the chosen sub-plan should include a comparative element that distinguishes it from the other major. All incoming CLA freshmen must complete the First Year Experience course sequence.
Preparatory Courses
The preparatory course ensures that students are introduced to the academic study of religion and understand how it is different from what they may have experienced in their own families or religious institutions. Courses that do not appear on this list may be accepted with prior consent by the major adviser.
Take exactly 1 course(s) totaling exactly 3 credit(s) from the following:
· RELS 1001 - Introduction to the Religions of the World [GP] (3.0 cr)
· RELS 1002 - Introduction to the Study of Religions [AH] (3.0 cr)
· AMST 1011 - Religions and American Identity in the United States from World War II to the Present [CIV] (3.0 cr)
or RELS 1011 - Religions and American Identity in the United States from World War II to the Present [CIV] (3.0 cr)
· JWST 1034 - Introduction to Jewish History and Cultures [HIS] (3.0 cr)
or RELS 1034 - Introduction to Jewish History and Cultures [HIS] (3.0 cr)
or HIST 1534 - Introduction to Jewish History and Cultures [HIS] (3.0 cr)
· CNES 1082 - Jesus in History [HIS] (3.0 cr)
or RELS 1082 - Jesus in History [HIS] (3.0 cr)
· CNES 1201 - The Bible: Context and Interpretation [LITR] (3.0 cr)
or RELS 1201 - The Bible: Context and Interpretation [LITR] (3.0 cr)
or JWST 1201 - The Bible: Context and Interpretation [LITR] (3.0 cr)
Theory and Methods
Take the following course for 3 credits.
RELS 3001W - Theory and Method in Religion: Critical Approaches to the Study of Religion [WI] (3.0 cr)
Senior Project
The senior project must be taken for 4 credits. Choose to enroll in RELS 4952 for 4 credits, or enroll in RELS 4952 concurrent with an adviser-approved upper-division course for a combined 4 credits. The program strongly recommends that students complete RELS 3001W at least one semester prior to enrolling in RELS 4952.
RELS 4952 - Capstone (1.0-4.0 cr)
or RELS 4952 - Capstone (1.0-4.0 cr)
with adviser-approved upper-division course (3 cr)
Upper Division Writing Intensive within the major
Students are required to take one upper division writing intensive course within the major. If that requirement has not been satisfied within the core major requirements, students must choose one course from the following list. Some of these courses may also fulfill other major requirements.
Take 0 - 1 course(s) from the following:
· RELS 3001W - Theory and Method in Religion: Critical Approaches to the Study of Religion [WI] (3.0 cr)
Program Sub-plans
Students are required to complete one of the following sub-plans.
Track I: Religion, Culture, and Society
This track is designed to meet the needs of students who wish to study religion broadly and pursue a highly contextualized investigation of religion as a social and cultural force. It serves students who are drawn to the methodologies of the humanities, social sciences, and the arts. It serves students who are motivated by questions of expression, psychology, religious thought and practice, as well as public and social policy, and the political contexts and ramifications of religion. It prepares students for many careers serving diverse communities in public arenas, as well as for graduate study in the arts or social sciences, or in theological or seminary programs.
Take a minimum of 24 credits at 3xxx or above. Final clearance by the major adviser is required.
Major Courses
Take a minimum of 4 courses and 12 credits. Courses must be approved by the major adviser, and may be taken in any relevant academic department.
- Take a course in a religious tradition (e.g., Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, a Native American tradition, Zoroastrianism) for at least 3 credits.
- Take a course in a different religious tradition (e.g., Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, a Native American tradition, Zoroastrianism) for at least 3 credits.
- Take two courses in sociocultural contexts of religion (e.g., in history, sociology, or anthropology of religion) for at least 3 credits each.
Area Concentration
Take a minimum of 4 courses and 12 credits in a chosen area concentration. These courses should share geographic, chronological, thematic, methodological, or traditional links. Courses used to fulfill the "Major Courses" sub-requirement cannot also be used to fulfill this requirement. Courses must be approved by the major advisor, and may be taken in any relevant department.
- Take four 3xxx-5xxx electives
Track II: Texts and Traditions
This track is designed for students interested in gaining in-depth knowledge of a particular religious tradition by studying the untranslated foundational texts of the chosen tradition. This track prepares students for many careers serving diverse communities in public arenas, as well as for graduate study in a variety of fields or seminary programs. It is particularly recommended for students interested in topics, such as the study of Judaism, Islam, or Christianity; or the study of the traditions and texts of the religions of South or East Asia, whether in their countries of origin or in diaspora.
Take a minimum of 21 credits of which at least 18 credits must be 3xxx or above. This track requires that students gain proficiency in a language directly tied to their specified religion. Students must complete preparatory work through the fourth semester (or equivalent) of a language appropriate to the specific religious tradition and its sources. Language selection must be approved by the major adviser. Sample pairings include, but are not limited to, the following: American Indian religions: Ojibwe or Dakota Buddhism: Chinese or Japanese Christianity: Greek or Latin (for scriptural or medieval concentration), German or Spanish (for relevant geographical/cultural themes) Hinduism: Sanskrit or Hindi Islam: Arabic Judaism: Hebrew (for scriptural or historical area of concentration), German or Yiddish (e.g., for Jewish literature or 20th-century) Interdisciplinary concentration areas and courses must be approved by the major advisor.
Track II Language Proficiency Requirement
Take a minimum of 3 credits.
Students must gain proficiency (up through 4th semester or equiv) in a language directly tied to their specified religion. See above for further specification.
Major Courses
Take a minimum of 2 courses and 6 credits. Courses must be approved by major adviser, and may be taken in any relevant department.
- Take a course in a religious tradition different from the specified religion (e.g., Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, a Native American tradition, Zoroastrianism) for at least 3 credits.
- Take a course in another religious tradition also different from the specified religion (e.g., Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, a Native American tradition, Zoroastrianism) for at least 3 credits.
Area Concentration
Take a minimum of 4 courses and 12 credits. These courses should share a focus on the selected tradition. Courses used to fulfill the "Major Courses" sub-requirement cannot also be used to fulfill this requirement. Courses must be approved by the major adviser, and may be taken in any relevant department.
- Take four 3xxx-5xxx electives
 
More program views..
View college catalog(s):
· College of Liberal Arts

View future requirement(s):
· Fall 2018

View sample plan(s):
· Religion, Culture, and Society
· Texts and Traditions

View checkpoint chart:
· Religious Studies B.A.
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RELS 1001 - Introduction to the Religions of the World (GP)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Introduction to major religions of world/academic study of religion. Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, some pre-Christian religions of Antiquity.
RELS 1002 - Introduction to the Study of Religions (AH)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Religions are complex systems that help their adherents to make sense of the world, justify certain ideas and practices, and form relationships and identities. Taking the multifaceted nature of religions into account, scholars have brought diverse questions and methodologies to the study of these systems in order to shed light on various aspects of the human condition. What is the point of religious rituals, for example? How do religions resist or facilitate the exercise of power on physical and psychological levels? How do they shape our perceptions of social markers such as race and gender? This course introduces students to the variety of approaches that scholars of religion use to arrive at a deeper understanding of the function of religions in human life.
AMST 1011 - Religions and American Identity in the United States from World War II to the Present (CIV)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02008 - AmSt 1011/RelS 1011
Typically offered: Every Fall
Political/cultural watersheds of last 60 years. Changing ideas about religion. Debates within/between religious traditions/communities. How gender, race, class, and sexuality have shaped relationships between religion and politics. Tensions between secularism and religiosity and liberalism and fundamentalism. Ways in which religion has acted as both a progressive and a conservative political force.
RELS 1011 - Religions and American Identity in the United States from World War II to the Present (CIV)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02008
Typically offered: Every Fall
Political/cultural watersheds of last 60 years. Debates within/between religious traditions/communities. How gender, race, class, sexuality have shaped relationships between religion/politics. Tensions between secularism/religiosity, liberalism/fundamentalism.
JWST 1034 - Introduction to Jewish History and Cultures (HIS)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 01018 - Hist 1534/Hist 3534/JwSt 1034/
Typically offered: Every Fall
Jewish history, society, culture from Second Temple period (5th century BCE) to modern era as illuminated by literature, philosophy, art, film, music, religious law/custom, artifacts of daily life. Emphasizes political, social, cultural contexts that shaped development of Jewish ideas, practices, and institutions.development of Jewish ideas, practices, and institutions.
RELS 1034 - Introduction to Jewish History and Cultures (HIS)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 01018
Typically offered: Every Fall
Jewish history, society, culture from Second Temple period (5th century BCE) to modern era as illuminated by literature, philosophy, art, film, music, religious law/custom, artifacts of daily life. Emphasizes political, social, cultural contexts that shaped development of Jewish ideas, practices, and institutions.
HIST 1534 - Introduction to Jewish History and Cultures (HIS)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 01018 - Hist 1534/Hist 3534/JwSt 1034/
Typically offered: Every Fall
Jewish history, society, culture from Second Temple period (5th century BCE) to modern era as illuminated by literature, philosophy, art, film, music, religious law/custom, artifacts of daily life. Emphasizes political, social, cultural contexts that shaped development of Jewish ideas, practices, and institutions.
CNES 1082 - Jesus in History (HIS)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 00982 - CNES 1082/Hist 1082/RelS 1082/
Typically offered: Every Spring
Who was Jesus? While there has been some basic consistency in the depictions of Jesus throughout history, there has also been lots of variety. We will explore a whole host of portraits of Jesus at different points in history to demonstrate not only the varying ways that Jesus has been thought of but also to understand the relationship between these portraits and the historical and cultural contexts in which they were created. We will look at the gospels of the New Testament and some from outside the New Testament. We will look at ancient and medieval art. And we will look at modern film. Although we might not get to the bottom of who Jesus was, we might understand more fully how communities throughout history have thought about him. Intended as a course of interest to undergraduates in all colleges of the TC campus. Students of any, all, or no religious background are welcome.
RELS 1082 - Jesus in History (HIS)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 00982 - CNES 1082/Hist 1082/RelS 1082/
Typically offered: Every Spring
Who was Jesus? While there has been some basic consistency in the depictions of Jesus throughout history, there has also been lots of variety. We will explore a whole host of portraits of Jesus at different points in history to demonstrate not only the varying ways that Jesus has been thought of but also to understand the relationship between these portraits and the historical and cultural contexts in which they were created. We will look at the gospels of the New Testament and some from outside the New Testament. We will look at ancient and medieval art. And we will look at modern film. Although we might not get to the bottom of who Jesus was, we might understand more fully how communities throughout history have thought about him. Intended as a course of interest to undergraduates in all colleges of the TC campus. Students of any, all, or no religious background are welcome.
CNES 1201 - The Bible: Context and Interpretation (LITR)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 01026 - CNES 1201/JwSt 3201/RelS 3201
Typically offered: Every Fall
Introduction to the modern academic study of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible in the historical context of literature from ancient Mesopotamia. Read Babylonian Epic of Creation, Epic of Gilgamesh, Hammurabi, Genesis, Exodus, Psalms. Stories of creation, law, epic conflict, and conquest. prereq: Knowledge of Hebrew not required
RELS 1201 - The Bible: Context and Interpretation (LITR)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 01026 - CNES 1201/JwSt 3201/RelS 3201
Typically offered: Every Fall
Introduction to the modern academic study of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible in the historical context of literature from ancient Mesopotamia. Read Babylonian Epic of Creation, Epic of Gilgamesh, Hammurabi, Genesis, Exodus, Psalms. Stories of creation, law, epic conflict, and conquest. prereq: Knowledge of Hebrew not required
JWST 1201 - The Bible: Context and Interpretation (LITR)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 01026 - CNES 1201/JwSt 3201/RelS 3201
Typically offered: Every Fall
Introduction to the modern academic study of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible in the historical context of literature from ancient Mesopotamia. Read Babylonian Epic of Creation, Epic of Gilgamesh, Hammurabi, Genesis, Exodus, Psalms. Stories of creation, law, epic conflict, and conquest. prereq: Knowledge of Hebrew not required
RELS 3001W - Theory and Method in Religion: Critical Approaches to the Study of Religion (WI)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 01522
Typically offered: Every Spring
Theoretical/methodological issues in academic study of religion. Theories of origin, character, and function of religion as a human phenomenon. Psychological, sociological, anthropological, and phenomenological perspectives.
RELS 4952 - Capstone
Credits: 1.0 -4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Independent research/writing under supervision of faculty sponsor. In-depth research paper/comparable project to be completed in conjunction with RELS course. prereq: Limited to RELS majors and second semester junior and seniors. Please see director of Undergraduate Studies for permission.
RELS 4952 - Capstone
Credits: 1.0 -4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Independent research/writing under supervision of faculty sponsor. In-depth research paper/comparable project to be completed in conjunction with RELS course. prereq: Limited to RELS majors and second semester junior and seniors. Please see director of Undergraduate Studies for permission.
RELS 3001W - Theory and Method in Religion: Critical Approaches to the Study of Religion (WI)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 01522
Typically offered: Every Spring
Theoretical/methodological issues in academic study of religion. Theories of origin, character, and function of religion as a human phenomenon. Psychological, sociological, anthropological, and phenomenological perspectives.