Religion is a major force in shaping human culture, and religious factors are prominent in many of the social, ethical, cultural, and political issues of our time. The study of religion in the university setting provides you with a broad knowledge of human culture, a specific knowledge of types of religious experience and expression, the variety of religious practices and doctrines,  a background in the major religions of the world, and an understanding of the interrelationship between religion and other areas of human experience.     

The major in religious studies is designed to help you develop a sophisticated understanding of the forms and varieties of religion that have appeared in human culture. You should be aware that the program does not provide the sort of specialized religious training associated with seminary education. The curriculum leading to the bachelor of arts (B.A.) degree is a rigorous academic program that draws from the humanities, arts, and social sciences to provide a descriptive and analytical approach to religious traditions and phenomena.

Emphasis is placed on the interrelations between religion and other aspects of human experience, such as politics, science, literature, and the arts. You will explore many forms of religious expression, including myth, symbol, ritual, theology, ethics, scriptures, dance, social institutions, and religious doctrine. 

Asian, Abrahamic and indigenous religious traditions are analyzed historically, thematically and comparatively. Lower-division courses survey Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and Native American religions, while upper-division courses cover them in depth. You may choose other work in the major from a wide range of offerings such as: women and religion; religion and dance; Tantra; religion, peace, and war; Christianity and democracy; ritual and media; the history of religion and religious relations; the Bible in Judaism and Christianity; and Islam.  

As a religious studies major, you will acquire the critical thinking and communication skills valued by employers in diverse fields, from finance to law to medicine to the nonprofit sector. Additional possibilities include careers such as secondary school teaching, publishing, social service, journalism, and as preparation for post-graduate professional and vocational degrees such as law.

Career Services (www.colorado.edu/career) helps students discover who they are, what they want to do, and how to get there. They are the bridge between academics and the world of work. 

Career Services offers free services for all CU-Boulder degree-seeking students, and alumni up to one year after graduation. Meet individually the staff to discuss major and career exploration, internship or job searching, and graduate school preparation.

You may wish to seek honors in religious studies, which results in the designation of cum laude, magna cum laude, or summa cum laude at graduation.  

A concurrent B.A./M.A. program offers exceptional students the opportunity to begin graduate work while still at the undergraduate level. This program allows you to complete the two degrees simultaneously on an accelerated schedule.

The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) offers students a chance to work alongside a faculty sponsor on original research. Learn to write proposals, conduct research, pursue creative work, analyze data, and present the results. For more information, call UROP at 303-492-2596, or http://enrichment.colorado.edu/urop/.

The experience of studying abroad can prove invaluable for you as a religious studies major. Your first-hand experience abroad can give you new insights into the religions of the world and the cultural contexts in which they are practiced. The university offers more than 100 programs throughout the world. On these programs you can earn credit that counts as if you had taken the courses here, sometimes fulfilling core or major requirements. Language study is a prerequisite for participation in many of the programs, so early planning for study abroad is essential. 

For more information, call the Office of International Education at 303-492-7741 or stop by the Center for Community. Find their home page at: http://studyabroad.colorado.edu/.

Please speak with your advisor for specific recommendations; the following is intended to be a general outline only and there may be flexibility to this plan.
 

Religious Studies 4-Year Plan
Average 30 credits per year.

 

First Year – Fall Semester
RLST
1620 (3): Religious Dimension in Human Experience
CORE (3): Skills Acquisition (example: Lower-Division Written Communication)
CORE (4): Content Area of Study (example: Natural Science with lab)
http://www.colorado.edu/artsandsciences/student-resources/core-curriculum/natural-science
Elective/MAPS (3)
Elective/MAPS (3)

First Year - Spring Semester
RLST
(3): Elective
CORE (3): Skills Acquisition (example: Quantitative Reasoning & Mathematical Skills)
CORE (3): Content Area of Study (example: Natural Science with lab)
Elective/MAPS (3)
Elective/MAPS (3)


Second Year - Fall Semester
RLST
(3): Elective
CORE (3): Content Area of Study (example: Natural Science)
CORE (3): Content Area of Study (example: Ideals & Values)
Elective/MAPS (3)
Elective/MAPS (3)

Second Year - Spring Semester
RLST
(3): Elective
CORE (3): Content Area of Study (example: Natural Science)
CORE (3): Content Area of Study (example: Lower-Division Literature & the Arts)
Elective/MAPS (3)
Elective/MAPS (3)


Third Year - Fall Semester
RLST
(3): Elective
RLST (3): Cluster course (9 credits required, see Degree Audit for details and choices)
CORE (3): Skills Acquisition (example: Upper-Division Written Communication)
CORE (3): Content Area of Study (example: Historical Context)
Elective/MAPS (3)

Third Year - Spring Semester
RLST
(3): Elective
RLST (3): Cluster course (9 credits required, see Degree Audit for details and choices)
CORE (3): Content Area of Study (example: Contemporary Societies)
CORE (3): Content Area of Study (example: Ideals & Values)
Elective/MAPS (3)


Fourth Year - Fall Semester
RLST
(3): Elective
RLST (3): Cluster course (9 credits required, see Degree Audit for details and choices)
CORE (3): Content Area of Study (example: Historical Context)
Elective/MAPS (3)
Elective/MAPS (3)

Fourth Year - Spring Semester
RLST
4830 (3): Senior Majors Seminar (Spring only), major requirement
RLST (3): Elective
CORE (3): Content Area of Study (example: Upper-Division Literature & the Arts)
Elective/MAPS (3)
Elective/MAPS (3)
 

  • 19 credit hours of upper-division coursework is required in the major