The goal of the major in religious studies is to bring students to an understanding of the major traditions of world religions. Areas of study offered by the department include Asian religious traditions, Near (Middle) East religious traditions (Judaism, Islam, and Christianity), and comparative aspects of religion. Students develop skills in reading and interpreting sacred texts. They explore the cultural and social dimensions of religion along with a consideration of religious values and ethics, from comparative and cross-cultural perspectives with relation to global issues.
The courses in religious studies are writing intensive. They help students to study and analyze religious ideas and symbols and give them the skills to present well-argued papers.
For policies governing all undergraduate degrees, see Academic Policies.
The University Catalog is the authoritative source for information on program requirements and courses. The Schedule of Classes is the authoritative source for information on classes scheduled for this semester. See the Schedule for the most up-to-date information and see Patriot web to register for classes. Requirements may be different for earlier catalog years. See the University Catalog archives.
Students must fulfill all requirements for bachelor's degrees, including Mason Core requirements. Students pursuing a BA in religious studies must complete additional college requirements for the BA degree in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Students in this major complete at least 33 credits within the major, earning a minimum grade of 2.00 in each course. No course applied to the major in religious studies may be used to fulfill more than one requirement.
RELI 211 - Religions of the West Credits: 3
RELI 212 - Religions of Asia Credits: 3
ANTH 313 - Myth, Magic, and Mind Credits: 3
PHIL 313 - Philosophy of Religion Credits: 3
RELI 337 - Mysticism: East and West Credits: 3
RELI 490 - Comparative Study of Religions Credits: 3
SOCI 385 - Sociology of Religion Credits: 3
RELI 376 - Special Topics in Religious Thought Credits: 3(when topic is relevant and with the prior written approval of the undergraduate director)
Students should choose from any religious studies courses (RELI) at the 300 and 400 level other than those used to fulfill the requirements above. They can also choose courses in a scriptural language (such as Arabic, Biblical Hebrew, Chinese, Classical Greek, Latin, or Sanskrit). Up to 6 credits of a scriptural language may be used to fulfill this requirement and the 6 credits of electives.
Students should take this course during their senior year.
RELI 420 - Seminar Credits: 3
Students should choose elective courses in consultation with an advisor. They can choose from courses in religious studies, related disciplines (including anthropology, art history, and history), or a scriptural language (such as Arabic, Biblical Hebrew, Chinese, Classical Greek, Latin, or Sanskrit). Up to 6 credits of a scriptural language may be used to fulfill this requirement and the requirement of 12 credits in religious studies at 300 and 400 level.
The university requires all students to complete at least one course designated "writing intensive" in their majors. Students majoring in religious studies fulfill this requirement by successfully completing RELI 420.
Any remaining credits may be completed with elective courses to bring the degree total to 120.