Students pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies gain a critical but sympathetic understanding of religion, a powerful and pervasive aspect of human experience. Through learning to describe, interpret, explain, and evaluate religious phenomena across cultures, students of religion develop insight into how human beings have made sense of the world and ordered their lives and societies.
Majors in Religious Studies learn to:
- Analyze their own assumptions, presuppositions, and expectations about religion
- Examine religious beliefs, behaviors, practices, texts, experiences, communities, and institutions in context and comparison
- Employ multiple disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives in the analysis and interpretation of religious phenomena
- Demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of religious phenomena
- Communicate clearly, persuasively, and respectfully
- Identify problems and develop solutions by gathering, analyzing, and assessing data, sources, and arguments
- Recognize how their own worldviews are similar to and different from those of others
- View religion as a part of the human cultural, literary, and artistic heritage
- Understand how religions imagine and implement their visions of a just world
Religious Studies majors develop widely transferable skills of critical and creative thinking, research, and communication, which are highly valued by employers. Religious Studies prepares students for employment or graduate study in fields involving qualitative research—such as law or information science—or intercultural communication—such as international business or social work. This major also provides an excellent background for graduates who seek employment or further study in religion-related fields such as religion journalism, non-profit administration, religious counseling, or religious ministry.
Major Requirements: 30 hours
Students considering a major in Religious Studies should meet with an advisor early in their university studies to map out a tentative course of study.
Required Area Courses: 6 hours
Restricted Elective Courses: 18 hours
9-12 credit hours in the Traditions area and 6-9 credit hours in the Methods area
Select three or four courses from the following
- AFC 273 African American Religion 3 hrs
- AFC 373 Afro-Caribbean Religions 3 hrs
- HIST 203 Global History of Islam [GEGA] 3 hrs
- HIST 204 Introduction to the History of Judaism [GEKH] 3 hrs
- HIST 303 History of American Religion 3 hrs
- RLST 304 Early Judaism 3 hrs
or HIST 304 Early Judaism 3 hrs
- RLST 306 Hinduism 3 hrs
or HIST 306 Hinduism 3 hrs
- RLST 307 Buddhism 3 hrs
or HIST 307 Buddhism 3 hrs
- RLST 334 Early Christianity 3 hrs
or HIST 334 Early Christianity 3 hrs
Select two or three courses from the following
- ANTH 338 Anthropology of Religion 3 hrs
- PHIL 215 Philosophy of Religion [GEKH] 3 hrs
- PSY 225 Psychology of Religion 3 hrs
- RLST 202 Religions in Conflict and Dialogue: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam [GEGA] 3 hrs
or HIST 202 Religions in Conflict and Dialogue: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam [GEGA] 3 hrs
- RLST 275 Gender, Sexuality, and Religion in the U.S. [GEUS or GEKH] 3 hrs
or WGST 275 Gender, Sexuality, and Religion in the U.S. [GEUS or GEKH] 3 hrs
- RLST 320 Gender, World Religions, and Social Justice 3 hrs
- RLST 362 Black Women: Religion and Sexism 3 hrs
or AFC 362 Black Women: Religion and Sexism 3 hrs
or WGST 362 Black Women: Religion and Sexism 3 hrs
- SOCL 320 Sociology of Religion 3 hrs
ANTH 338 , PSY 225 , and SOCL 320 all have prerequisites. Students intending to take one of these classes should take the prerequisite course as part of their General Education program.
Elective Course: 3 hours
Choose one course from the list of restricted electives (not already taken) or from the following.
Capstone Project: 3 hours
Students majoring in Religious Studies must meet with an advisor at least eight months before their expected date of graduation to plan a capstone project. Advisors help students plan a project that builds on their coursework and helps them prepare for post-college career or graduate study. Options for the capstone project include:
Independent Research Project | Students work with a faculty advisor to propose and conduct research on a topic in the study of religion. Students considering graduate study are strongly encouraged to elect this option.
- RLST 499 Independent Study 3 hrs
Internship | A student electing this option works with a Religious Studies advisor and a supervisor at an external organization to design and complete a project in which the student draws on their Religious Studies training to address a situation in an organization or community. This project will include a written report.
- RLST 489L4 Internship [GELB] 3 hrs
This major requires a minor. Please see Programs for a list of available minors or contact your major advisor.
Students must earn a minimum total of 120 credits at the 100-level or above.
Critical Graduation Information
Each undergraduate student will be responsible for fulfilling the requirements (or their equivalents) of the Eastern Michigan University catalog in force at the time of their initial registration at a college or university or a subsequent catalog, including the one in effect at the time of their graduation.
In the event an undergraduate student does not complete the degree requirements within seven years of the date of their original registration at a college or university, the student may be required to have their credits re-evaluated by the academic department(s) of their major/minor in keeping with catalog requirements in force during the year of their graduation.
Minimum requirements for all bachelor’s degrees awarded by Eastern Michigan University
Some majors and minors require more than the minimum in one or more of the areas below; students are urged to consult this catalog for the requirements of their particular programs.
- Earn a minimum total of 120 credit hours at the 100-level and above.
- Courses numbered below 100 are not counted toward this degree requirement.
- At most, eight credit hours of physical education (PEGN) activity courses are counted toward this requirement.
- Meet the requirements of the General Education program (see information below), including completing a Writing Intensive (GEWI) course in the student’s major.
- Earn a minimum of 60 credits from a four-year college or university; courses taken at community colleges cannot be used to meet this requirement (Some formal program-to-program articulation agreements modify this requirement. See specific agreements for details).
- Earn a minimum of 30 credits from courses taken at EMU.
- Complete 10 of the last 30 hours for the degree from courses taken at EMU.
- Have a minimum of 30 unique credit hours in their major and 20 unique credit hours in their minor for a total of at least 50 unique credit hours between them. Some majors that require 50 or more hours themselves do not require a minor. A double major automatically satisfies the need for a minor unless one of the two majors requires a specific minor. Students should check the requirements of the selected major in the undergraduate catalog to see if a minor is required.
- Earn no more than 60 credit hours in one subject area (prefix). Credits over the 60 maximum will not be counted toward the minimum of 120 credits required for a bachelor’s degree.
- Earn the minimum number of credits in 300-level and above courses in each major and minor as specified below - these credits must be earned in distinct courses; that is, no course can be used to fulfill this requirement in more than one major or minor.
- Earn a minimum of 6 credits in 300-level or higher courses at EMU in each minor
- Earn a minimum of 9 credits in 300-level or higher courses at EMU in each major that requires a minor.
- Earn a minimum of 15 credits in 300-level or higher courses at EMU in each major that does not require a minor
- Transfer credit will be awarded for courses taken at colleges and universities that are accredited by one of the recognized regional accrediting bodies only if the courses are college-level (equated to 100-level or above at EMU) and the student earned a “C” (or 2.0 on a 4 point scale) or better. Transfer credit may be awarded on a case-by-case basis for college-level courses in which a “C” (2.0) or better was earned at institutions outside the U.S. or at non-accredited U.S. institutions; individual departments/schools conduct the internal review of such courses within EMU, and additional documentation may be required. Please note: EMU awards only credit for transferred courses; grades are not used to calculate an EMU GPA.
- Earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 in courses taken at EMU to graduate. In addition, a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 must be reached in each major and minor. Only courses a student takes at EMU and those applied to their major or minor are used to calculate their major and minor cumulative GPAs. (Note: some programs may require a higher GPA - check with your program advisor.)
General Education Requirements - EMU’s General Education Program requires students to choose from a menu of approved courses in several different areas; do not assume that other courses in the same department or similar names will fulfill these requirements. A detailed description of General Education requirements is available in the General Education section of the catalog.
Students who transferred to EMU may have modified general education requirements based on Michigan Transfer Agreement (MTA) or articulation agreements; consult your academic advisor for additional information.