Religious Studies

Learning Goals

The study of religion is fundamentally an interdisciplinary endeavor, involving a variety of intellectual approaches in the analysis of diverse expressions of religious phenomena and cultures around the world. Reflecting the methodological and substantive breadth of the field of religious studies, the religious studies major at Susquehanna University is designed to accomplish the following student learning goals:

  • To develop the ability to critically analyze primary religious texts.
  • To use various interpretative perspectives (literary, historical, theological, ideological, etc.) in deriving meaning from religious texts.
  • To engage with at least one non-Western religious tradition in historical and geographical context.
  • To think critically and cross-culturally about ethical questions in relationship to themselves, society and/or the world.
  • To engage critically with issues and problems in contemporary societies as they relate to religious thought and/or practice.
  • To conduct substantive research (finding, consulting and engaging both primary and secondary resources and making preliminary connections and conclusions from the same) and present this research in written form.
  • To reflect upon and assess work in critical and constructive ways by applying concepts, theories and methods within academic and professional contexts.

Requirements for the Major in Religious Studies. Majors in religious studies complete at least 36 semester hours in the discipline with grades of C- or better. To ensure both breadth and depth of study, there is one compulsory course, and the remaining 32 semester hours must include at least one course from each of the four subject areas identified below. At least 20 of the 32 semester hours must be taken at the 200 level or higher. Topics courses and independent study courses may be given a subject area designation by the instructor in consultation with the department. The compulsory course does not count toward the subject area distribution requirement.

semester hours

4

Compulsory Course for the Religious Studies Major

 

RELI:101 Introduction to Religious Studies

 

Subject Area Courses

16

Must include at least one course from each of the four subject areas in italics below

 

Elective Courses

16

Elective courses can be additional courses within the four subject areas or other courses identified below. At least 20 of the 32 semester hours taken to fulfill the subject area and elective requirements must be at the 200 level or above.

 

 

4

Primary Religious Texts

 

RELI:103 The New Testament

 

RELI:201 The Hebrew Bible

 

RELI:203 The Historical Jesus

 

RELI:207 Women in the Biblical Tradition

 

RELI:300 Apocalypticism

4

Ethics

 

RELI:102 Applied Biblical Ethics

 

RELI:107 Faiths and Values

 

RELI:115 Jewish Philosophy and Ethics

 

RELI:117 Introduction to Asian Religions

 

RELI:203 The Historical Jesus

 

RELI:208 Buddhism

 

RELI:235 Environmental Ethics

 

RELI:315 Being Awesome at Life

 

RELI:318 Daoist and Confucian Ethics

4

Non-Western Religions

 

RELI:105 World Religions

 

RELI:117 Introduction to Asian Religions

 

RELI:208 Buddhism

 

RELI:225 Women in Religion

 

RELI:318 Daoist and Confucian Ethics

4

Contemporary Issues in Religion

 

RELI:102 Applied Biblical Ethics

 

RELI:107 Faiths and Values

 

RELI:208 Buddhism

 

RELI:220 Magic, Witchcraft and Religion

 

RELI:225 Women in Religion

 

RELI:235 Environmental Ethics

 

RELI:350 Science and Religion

 

RELI:360 Religious Fundamentalisms in the Modern World

 

Electives

 

RELI:113 Introduction to Judaism

 

RELI:209 Biblical Archeology

 

RELI:210 Philosophy of Religion

 

RELI:215 Music in Christian Rituals

 

RELI:309 Luther: Life and Thought

 

RELI:312 Church History: Early and Medieval

 

RELI:313 Church History: 1500-Present

Minor in Religious Studies. Students minoring in religious studies complete 20 semester hours in the discipline with grades of C- or better. Students consult with an assigned minor adviser to select both upper- and lower-level courses. Of the five courses, at least two must be at the 200 level or above.

Capstone Requirement. Students majoring in religious studies are expected to take the senior capstone requirement in the appropriate subject. A student with a double major may fulfill the university capstone requirement in a major outside of this department. Any student who elects to fulfill the capstone requirement in this manner must complete the religious studies major by successful completion of an additional four-semester-hour course, or the equivalent, in the relevant subject. Any student wishing to qualify for religious studies departmental honors must fulfill the appropriate capstone as provided by the Religious Studies Department in addition to any capstone requirements imposed in a second major.

The course description for the departmental capstone states that it is “to serve [students] as a culmination of all their studies, allowing them to address a particular topic, issue or thinker in religious studies through the lens of their total undergraduate education.” Religious studies majors are encouraged to develop capstone projects that also draw on knowledge and strengths they have acquired in declared minors. Primary oversight of such projects will rest with the appropriate faculty supervisor in religious studies, although students will also be expected to work with an appropriate adviser from their minor area(s) of study.

Honors. The honors program in religious studies encourages and commends outstanding academic work. To graduate with departmental honors in religious studies, students must do the following:

  • Complete requirements for the major,
  • Have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.00 overall and at least 3.50 in religious studies, and
  • Perform outstanding academic work in at least one course of independent study in religious studies.