The BA in religious studies is designed to give students an understanding of the major religious traditions of the world. The degree has a comparative and cross-cultural perspective that relates to global issues. Areas of study include Eastern religious traditions (Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism, Hinduism) and Western religious traditions (Christianity, Islam, Judaism).
The College of Humanities and Social Sciences offers a minor in Islamic Studies designed for students interested in the societies, cultures, history, and politics of the Islamic world. It offers students the opportunity to study the many societies that have significant Muslim populations. These societies are not just in the Middle East. They stretch from North Africa to Southeast Asia and beyond. They include Europe as well as North America.
Students in Islamic studies are strongly encouraged to study abroad in one of the many programs offered by George Mason's Center for Global Education. The exposure and interactions of such experiences greatly enhance the learning in the classroom. Study abroad courses are as short as a week or as long as a semester. Mason offers programs in several Muslim-majority countries, including Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, and Turkey.
The minor in Judaic studies offers courses in Judaism, Jewish thought, and Jewish culture through the ages. The minor recognizes that the Jews form a global community, and, thus, provides a global approach, rather than a regional framework, for exploring Judaism. Students who pursue this minor explore the historical role and contributions of Judaism beyond the Middle East. They learn to appreciate the experiences that connect historical Jewish communities to the present.
The minor in religious studies introduces students to the main religious traditions of the world. Students may focus on the religions of the West (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) or the religions of the East (Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism etc.). Exposure to religious beliefs, practices, and rituals from a variety of cultures allows students to gain an understanding of those faiths that continue to influence the political, economic, ethical, and social life of the majority of people in the world.