The curriculum in religious studies includes the study of traditions such as Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Daoism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Native American and other traditional religions. The program examines topics such as ritual studies, peace studies, dance, religion and literature, women and religion, and religion and psychology.
The undergraduate degree in religious studies emphasizes knowledge and awareness of:
In addition, students with a degree in religious studies are expected to acquire the ability and skills to:
Course codes for this program are RLST and SNSK.
Students must complete the general requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences and the required courses listed below.
Students must complete at least 36 hours of religious studies course work including the following required courses and projects:
Consult the Four-Year Guarantee Requirements for information on eligibility. The concept of “adequate progress” as it is used here only refers to maintaining eligibility for the four-year guarantee; it is not a requirement for the major. To maintain adequate progress in religious studies, students should meet the following requirements:
Students must complete at least 18 credit hours in Religious Studies course work, including at least 6 hours of lower-division and 9 hours of upper-division work. At least 12 hours must be taken in the CU Department of Religious Studies.
The honors program in religious studies offers the opportunity for highly motivated undergraduates to undertake a deeper and more individualized study than is provided by the regular BA curriculum and to earn an honors designation on their diploma. Religious studies majors with at least a 3.300 overall grade point average and 3.500 in the major are eligible to participate in the program. Honors that may be earned are cum laude (with honors), magna cum laude (with high honors), and summa cum laude (with highest honors).
Students interested in pursuing departmental honors are encouraged to consult with the departmental undergraduate advisor by the beginning of their junior year.
A concurrent bachelor’s/master’s degree program offers a select group of exceptional undergraduates the opportunity to begin graduate work while still an undergraduate and thereby complete the BA and MA degrees simultaneously and on an accelerated schedule. The entire program normally requires five to six years and permits 6 credits to be double-counted toward both degrees. Otherwise requirements for the two degrees remain unchanged.
Applicants to the program must be full-time, continuously enrolled students with a minimum overall GPA of 3.000, and a 3.500 GPA in RLST courses. They must have completed at least 24 credit hours prior to admission to the concurrent BA/MA degree program, and must have satisfied any MAPS deficiencies. Applications will include letters of recommendation from RLST faculty and will be evaluated by faculty as a whole, much as graduate applications are.
Students enrolled in the concurrent BA/MA program must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.250, and 3.500 in the department. Concurrent degree students may not participate in the Time Out program; exceptions may be granted by the CDAC (Concurrent Degree Appeals Committee) based on a review of extenuating circumstances. Each BA/MA student will be assigned a graduate advisor with whom to meet regularly and will be required to demonstrate satisfactory progress toward degree to the advisor within the framework of the department’s graduate student assessment policies.
Students enrolled in the concurrent BA/MA program are permitted to double-count 6 credits of course work, thereby reducing the total amount of RLST course work to (36 + 31 - 6 =) 61 credit hours. One of these courses must be RLST 6830 Intro to the Academic Study of Religion, which would replace Senior Seminar for BA/MA students, and the other must be in an area of depth concentration. Otherwise program students will fulfill all the normal requirements for the BA and the MA degree.
A graduate degree represents the mastery of a significant body of knowledge and interpretation within an academic discipline. A degree is not granted merely because a student completes a specific number of courses. Students should not expect to gain all knowledge and training necessary for the degree from formal courses alone. The student is expected to acquire both breadth and depth in religious studies. Breadth is achieved by satisfying two types of course requirements as set forth in 2 below, which include exposure to a diversity of approaches to the study of religion. Depth is achieved through three courses in a particular area or approach and by independent work related to the thesis or concentration, as set forth in 3 below. Listed below are the minimum formal requirements for the MA degree in religious studies.
A student who has not completed at least 12 semester hours, or the equivalent, of undergraduate academic course work directly related to the study of religion will be required to do remedial work to make up this deficit before beginning graduate study, or, with the director of Graduate Studies’ permission, after beginning the program. This can be done by attaining a grade of B or better in an appropriate 2000- or 3000-level course taken within the first year. Remedial courses may not be counted toward the degree.
The Department of Religious Studies also participates in a dual master’s degree program with the Departments of History and Asian Languages and Civilizations. Students interested in exploring this option should contact the graduate director of the department for specific requirements.