Department of Religious Studies

Religious Studies (RELS)

The Religious Studies Department offers courses on the religious dimensions of human life in societies and cultures from a contemporary, global perspective.  Courses on religion and culture are offered as a way to explore various disciplines and their approaches to the study of religion or to engage in a debate around a theme structured to include both religious and non-religious views.  Such courses may examine a theme comparatively in order to show the views of different religious traditions or a theme may be presented in terms of a debate between religious and non-religious understandings.  Courses on the comparative study of religions include surveys of the major religious traditions of the world as well as courses which compare characteristics of religious life across several religious traditions.  Examining religious diversity in Canada and around the world is also part of the study of comparative religions.  By virtue of its character and history, Saint Mary’s University has a special responsibility to teach courses on Christianity.

Electives
Students seeking an elective may take any Religious Studies course at the 1000 or 2000 level. Students who have completed 30 credit hours of university course work and have completed a minimum of three (3) credit hours at the 1000 level and three (3) credit hours at the 2000 level may register for a 3000 level course in Religious Studies to complete a degree requirement for an elective at the 3000 level.

Degree Requirements
Religious Studies courses at the 1,000, 2,000 or 3,000 level satisfy a humanities requirement in the Arts Faculty; non-Commerce electives in the Sobey School of Business and the humanities requirements in the Faculty of Science.

A Minor in Religious Studies
A minor in Religious Studies may be completed by taking twenty-four (24) credit hours in Religious Studies as follows:

1. Six (6) credit hours may be at the 1000 level;
2. Six (6) credit hours must be at the 2000 level from the
Traditions courses (section III, see courses list below);
3. Six (6) credit hours must be at the 2000 level from the Issues courses (II).
4. Six (6) credit hours must be at the 3000 level from the Traditions (III) or Issues courses (II);
5. An overall grade point average of 2.00 must be maintained in the twenty-four (24) credit hours.
In a Religious Studies minor students must complete at least twelve (12) of the twenty-four (24) required credit hours at Saint Mary’s.


B.A. Concentration Requirement in Religious Studies
Only students in the ninety (90) credit hour B.A. may complete the concentration requirement in Religious Studies. The required twenty-four (24) credit hours in Religious Studies must conform to the following guidelines:

1. No more than three (3) credit hours may be at the 1000 level
2. Six (6) credit hours must be at the 2000 level from two different traditions (A, B & C) [section III, see courses list below];
3. A total of fifteen (15) credit hours at the 3000 level. Of these:

  • Six (6) credit hours must be taken Tradition courses, building from the Traditions courses taken in 2. above;
  • Six (6) credit hours at the 3000 level from the Issues courses;
  • An additional three (3) credit hours in any 3000 or 4000 level course.

4. An overall grade point average of at least 2.00 must be maintained in the twenty-four (24) credit hours in Religious Studies.


Major in Religious Studies
Students majoring in Religious Studies must fulfill the following requirements:
The equivalent of thirty-nine (39) credit hours in the Department. Normally, these will be distributed as follows:

1. Six (6) credit hours at the 1000 level;
2. Six (6) credit hours at the 2000 level from two different traditions (taken from the Traditions courses (A, B and C)
3. Nine (9) credit hours at the 2000 level from the Issues courses (II);
4. Six (6) credit hours at 3000 level from the Traditions courses taken in 2 above.
5. Three (3) credit hours at the 3000 level from the Issues courses
6. RELS 3351 Field Research;
7. RELS 4481 Theories and Methods (Please note this course is offered in alternating academic years);
8. Three (3) credit hours at the 4000 level;
9. An overall minimum grade point average of 2.00 in the courses counted toward the major.


Honours in Religious Studies
An honours student must complete sixty-three (63) credit hours in Religious Studies courses which include:

1. All of the requirements for a Religious Studies major [thirty-nine (39) credit hours];
2. Three (3) credit hours at the 3000 level from the Issues courses
3. Three (3) credit hours at the 3000 level from the Traditions courses
4. Three (3) credit hours at the 3000 level from Scriptural Analysis in the Methods courses (IV)
5. Nine (9) credit hours at the 3000 level or above;
6. RELS 4000 Honours Thesis Research
7. RELS 4001 Honours Thesis Writing.
8. In addition to the sixty-three (63) credit hours in Religious Studies students must complete at least six (6) credit hours in a language chosen from among: Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, French, Spanish and German or another language acceptable to the department;

Admission to an honours program normally requires Department approval no later than when a student has completed sixty (60) credit hours. In addition to the Faculty of Arts requirements for honours, a minimum grade point average of 3.00 in Religious Studies courses is required for admission to, and continuation in, the honours program.

Student Counseling
Students completing a minor, a concentration, a major and honours must have their Religious Studies courses approved by the undergraduate advisor on an annual basis. In some instances, majors and honours students will be requested to take prerequisites for Departmental courses. Suggested prerequisites are kept on file in the Department. With renumbered or restructured courses, students are advised that they are not eligible to take a course for credit if they already have a credit for a comparable course, even if that course was taken at a different level.

Notes:
With renumbered or restructured courses, students are advised that they are not eligible to take a course for credit if they already have a credit for a comparable course, even if that course was taken at a different level.

Course Groupings for Majors

I. Introductory Courses:
RELS 1251 Religion in Contemporary Culture
RELS 1252 Religious Diversity in Canada
RELS 1351 Love
RELS 1352 Death

II. Issues Courses:
ANTH 3316 Anthropology of Religion
ANTH 3366 Worldview: Anthropological Approach
RELS 2211 Religious Lives
RELS 2330 Spirituality and Work
RELS 2333 Gender, Sexuality and Religion
RELS 2343 Violence
RELS 2347 Ecology and Religion
RELS 3101 Law and Religion
RELS 3205 The Future
RELS 3316 Anthropology of Religion
RELS 3318 Ghosts: A Cultural Approach
RELS 3330 Spirituality in the Workplace
RELS 3348 Ecological Crisis: Religious Perspectives
RELS 3349 Science and Religion
RELS 3356 Religions in Film

III. Traditions Courses:
A. Asian
RELS 2326 South Asian Religious Traditions
RELS 2327 The Buddhist Religious Tradition
RELS 2401 Religions of China and Japan
RELS 3010 Vietnamese Religious Traditions
RELS 3337 South Asian Religions and the Arts
RELS 3359 Buddhist Paths
RELS 3360 Engaged Buddhism

B. Christianity and Judaism
ENGL 2327 The Bible and English Literature
ENGL 2328 The Catholic Tradition in Modern British Literature
RELS 2324 Christian Religious Tradition*
RELS 2343 Jewish Religious Tradition
RELS 2350 Faith in Action: Religion and Social Movements
RELS 2377 Introduction to Bible: Hebrew Scripture
RELS 2378 Introduction to Bible: New Testament
RELS 3303 Christian Origins
RELS 3311 Jesus of Nazareth
RELS 3312 Theologies of Liberation
RELS 3328 The Catholic Church Today
RELS 3338 Religions and the Arts: The West

C. Islam
RELS 2323 The Islamic Religious Tradition
RELS 2370 Introduction to the Qur’an
RELS 3372 Islamic Culture and Civilizations
RELS 3373 Islam in South Asia
RELS 3374 Islam in North America since 9/11

D. Other
CLAS 3317 Greek Sanctuaries
CLAS 3352 Women in Antiquity I
RELS 2353 New Religious Movements
RELS 3220 African Diaspora Religions
RELS 3354 Indigenous Peoples, Religion, Spirituality and Social Justice

IV. Methods Courses:
RELS 2370 Introduction to the Qur’an
RELS 2377 Introduction to Bible: Hebrew Scripture
RELS 2378 Introduction to Bible: New Testament
RELS 3351 Field Research Methods

V. Seminars (4000 level Courses)
A. Issues
RELS 4100 Religion and International Development
RELS 4333 Religion Race and Gender*
RELS 4387 Religious Pluralism
RELS 4389 Religion and Public Life
RELS 4500 Religions and Orientalism

B. Traditions
RELS 4200 Postcolonialism and Religions
RELS 4390 Religion and Society in Atlantic Canada
RELS 4500 Religions and Orientalism

C. Methods:
RELS 4481 Theories and Methods in the Study of Religions