Department of Religious Studies

Program Requirements

Electives in Religious Studies 
Students seeking an elective may take any Religious Studies course at the 1000 or 2000 level. Religious Studies courses at the 3000 level or above are normally for students who have completed at least seven (7.0) university credits. Students are advised to check specific courses at the 3000 level for prerequisites.

Introduction to the Courses in Religious Studies 
The Religious Studies Department offers courses on the religious dimension of human life. In fulfilling that task the curriculum includes courses in three areas:

1. Comparative Religion 
The comparative study of religion includes courses on the major religious traditions of the world as well as courses which compare characteristics of religious life across several religious traditions.

2. Thematic Studies in Religion 
Thematic courses are offered as a way to explore various disciplines and their approach 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.

3. The Christian Tradition 
By virtue of its charter and history, Saint Mary's University has a special responsibility to teach courses on Christianity. The Religious Studies Department fulfils that purpose by offering a number of courses on the Bible, on issues of debate within the Christian Tradition, and the formative role of Christianity in Western Culture and Tradition.

Students majoring in Religious Studies must fulfil the following requirements:

  1. the equivalent of six and one-half (6.5) credits in the Department;
  2. one and one half (1.5) of the six and one-half (6.5) credits must be at the 3000 level.;
  3. Majors must complete RELS 4480.1(.2) Advanced Seminar for Majors in Religious Studies and RELS 4481.1(.2) Theories and Methods in the Study of Religions. Majors should complete RELS 4481.1(.2): Theories and Methods as early in their program of study towards a religious studies major as possible. Religious Studies 4480.1(.2) and 4481.1(.2) are normally offered in alternating academic years.
  4. An overall minimum quality point average of 2.00 in the courses counted toward the major;
  5. at least one (1.0) credit from each of Group One, Group Two, and Group Three;
  6. While not required for the completion of the major, the Department of Religious Studies recommends the completion of one (1.0) credit in a foreign language from among Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, French, Spanish, and German (or an alternative acceptable to the Department). Advanced 400-Level Courses for Majors and Honors Students in Religious Studies

Department of Religious Studies Requirements for the Minor 
A minor in Religious Studies may be completed by taking four Religious Studies credits (4.0). Two (2.0) of the credits must be at the 2000 level. An overall grade-point average of 2.00 must be maintained in the four credits.

Department of Religious Studies Requirements for Honors 
Religious Studies offers an honors program in conformity with the Faculty of Arts requirements for an honors degree. In addition to the requirements for the major, an honors student must complete an additional four (4.0) credits for a total of 10.5 credits. Among the additional credits the student must include two (2.0) credits at the 3000 level; at least one (1.0) credit in a foreign language from among Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, French, Spanish or German (or an alternate acceptable to the Department); the Department's Honors Seminar (4590.0). An honors paper will be written in conjunction with the honors seminar.

Admission to an honors program normally requires Departmental approval no later than when a student has completed ten (10.0) university credits. In addition to the Faculty of Arts requirements for honors, a minimum quality point average of 3.00 in Religious Studies courses is required for admission to, and continuation in, the honors program.