The undergraduate degree in the Department of Religious Studies is a research, analysis, and writing intensive program that features close work with faculty in small classroom settings. It seeks to develop a foundational knowledge of the world’s diversity of religious cultures and critical awareness of the ways in which religion shapes how we see and act toward ourselves, others, and the environment around us. Through the study of specific religious traditions and settings, students come away with a background that is invaluable to understanding and working with people of other cultures, whether in international business or simply as an informed global citizen.
Religious studies majors and minors develop expertise and skills that serve them well wherever life takes them. Our graduates have been successful in many different areas. Studying religion provides a solid foundation for work in fields as diverse as journalism, law, politics, nongovernmental organizations, ministry, and education. No matter what their intended careers, students benefit from the critical reading, writing, and analytical skills that the academic study of religion instills.
Admission to the Major
Semester in which major admission criteria will be completed, normally no later than 60 hours, or for transfer students, during the initial term at KU. Application to this major after completion of 60 hours, or the initial KU term for transfer students, will likely delay graduation.
- Composition. Satisfied by ENGL 101 (unless the student has received a waiver or, for transfer students, an equivalent course).
- Critical Reading and Writing. Satisfied by ENGL 102 or ENGL 105 (unless the student has received a waiver or, for transfer students, an equivalent course).
- Introduction to Religion. Satisfied by REL 104.
- Additional Religious Studies Course (Elective or Requirement). Satisfied by any course with REL prefix.
Grade-Point Average Requirements
Satisfied by a 2.30 minimum GPA in required admission courses designated above. University Course Repeat Policy will apply.
Religious Studies Program
The curriculum is organized into the basic areas of Western, Eastern, and North American religions, and method and theory in the study of religion. A core of courses provides broad exposure to the range of issues, perspectives, and methods in the study of religion. The program encourages interdepartmental and interdisciplinary cooperation as part of a comprehensive program. This cooperation is reflected at the undergraduate level in cross-listed and cross-referenced courses and in the design of the major.
Requirements for the B.A. or B.G.S. Major
The major consists of at least 27 hours in religious studies. 15 hours must be in courses numbered 300 and above, and 8 of these junior/senior hours must be completed in residence at KU. The 27 hours may include no more than 12 transfer hours, no more than 12 hours from study abroad, and no more than 15 hours in combination of the two.
Religious Studies Major Course Requirements
|Religious Studies Core Knowledge and Skills (27)|
|Majors must complete a course in each of the following areas:|
|Introduction to Religion. Satisfied by:|
|REL 104||Introduction to Religious Studies||3|
|or REL 105||Introduction to Religious Studies, Honors|
|Understanding the Bible. Satisfied by:|
|REL 124||Understanding the Bible||3|
|or REL 125||Understanding the Bible, Honors|
|Overview of Judaism, Christianity, or Islam. Satisfied by 1 course (3 hours) chosen from the following:||3|
|Living Religions of the West|
|Living Religions of the West, Honors|
|Religion of Ancient Israel|
|History and Literature of Early Christianity|
|Introduction to Judaism|
|Studies in Judaism|
|Overview of Religious Tradition other than Judaism, Christianity, or Islam. Satisfied by 1 course (3 hours) chosen from the following:||3|
|Living Religions of the East|
|Living Religions of the East, Honors|
|The Buddhist Tradition in Asia|
|Religion in India|
|Religion in China|
|Religion in Japan|
|Religion in Korea|
|Buddhists and Buddhism in China|
|Religion of North America. Satisfied by 1 course (3 hours) chosen from the following:||3|
|Religion in American Society|
|Religion in American Society, Honors|
|Native American Religions|
|History of Religion in America|
|The Supreme Court and Religious Issues in the United States|
|The Supreme Court and Religious Issues in the United States, Honors|
|Religious Ethics and Moral Decisions|
|Religion and Moral Decisions, Honors|
|New Religious Movements (Western)|
|New Religious Movements (Nonwestern)|
|Religious Studies Required Electives. Satisfied by 3 courses (9 hours) within, or cross-listed with, the Religious Studies Department course offerings.||9|
|Capstone Experience. Satisfied by:|
|REL 490||Senior Seminar in Theories and Methods||3|
Religious Studies Major Hours & Major GPA
While completing all required courses (above), majors must also meet each of the following hour and grade-point average minimum standards:
Satisfied by 27 hours of major courses.
Major Hours in Residence
Satisfied by a minimum of 15 hours of KU resident credit in the major, of which 9 must be at the junior/senior level (300+).
Major Junior/Senior (300+) Hours
Satisfied by a minimum of 15 hours from junior/senior courses (300+) in the major.
Major Junior/Senior Graduation GPA
Satisfied by a minimum of a 2.0 KU GPA in junior/senior courses (300+) in the major. GPA calculations include all junior/senior courses in the field of study including F’s and repeated courses. See the Semester/Cumulative GPA Calculator.
A sample 4-year plan for the BA degree in Religious Studies can be found here: Religious Studies, or by using the left-side navigation.
A sample 4-year plan for the BGS degree in Religious Studes can be found using the left-side navigation.
To be eligible for honors in religious studies, an undergraduate student must have a minimum grade-point average of 3.25 overall and of 3.5 in the department. The student must also complete and defend an individual research project, as evidenced by completion of at least 3 hours of REL 499: Undergraduate Honors Research with a grade of B or better. Interested students should contact the Undergraduate Director for more information.