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Religious Studies

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Religious Studies - Undergraduate Study

Religious studies gives students the opportunity to investigate and reflect on the world's religions in an objective, critical, and appreciative manner. Though there is emphasis in religious studies on the wide variety of religious phenomena as well as on the various methods in the study of religion, the aim is to help students develop their own integrated understanding of the nature of religion and its role in individual and social life.

Graduates of the religious studies program have knowledge of the religious diversity in the United States and the world. They have the ability to interpret religion empathetically and critically and to compare and contrast historical and contemporary differences and similarities of religious systems. They understand ways in which religion influences and is influenced by the historical, social, and cultural contexts in which religious systems function. Graduates often pursue careers in non-profit, community organizations; apply to professional schools or graduate programs; or enter seminaries to prepare for ministry.

The major in religious studies seeks to provide both breadth and depth. Breadth is provided through the exploration of the world's various religious traditions and through exposure to a variety of theoretical approaches and methodologies in the academic study of religion. Depth is achieved through specialized courses in particular religious traditions and particular issues in the study of religions, culminating in research seminars. The objective is to expose the student to various components of the discipline of Religious Studies and by doing so develop skills that are valuable in a number of careers and that provide the necessary foundation for pursuing graduate studies.
 

Students pursuing a major in religious studies must complete a minimum of 33 credits, including the following requirements:

Two required introductory survey courses6
Introduction to World Religions
Religion in America
Two courses from Bible or Western Religions6
Introduction to the Bible
History of Christianity: Beginnings to the Reformation
History of Christianity: The Reformation to the Present
Introduction to Catholicism
Old Testament
New Testament
Introduction to Islam
One course from Asian Religions3
Religious Traditions of India
Buddhism
One course from Religion, Culture and Society3
Christianity and Science
African American Religious Experience
Women and Religion
Religion and U.S. Latino/a Literature
Religious Ethics
Catholic Social Thought
Religion and Ecology
Goddess Religions
Seminar: Issues in the Study of Religion
One required Capstone Course3
Theory and Method in Religious Studies
Minimum of 12 credits of elective Religious Studies courses12
Total Credits33

Religious Studies, B.A.

Freshman
FallCreditsSpringCredits
ENGL 1503Religion Choice - Area I, II, III, or IV3
LIB 1601Foreign Language/Elective4
RELIG 205 or RELIG 2103Humanities Choice3
Foreign Language/Elective4Social Science Choice3
Humanities Choice3Elective3
Math Choice3 
 17 16
Sophomore
FallCreditsSpringCredits
Religion Choice, - Area I, II, III, or IV3Religion Choice - Area I, II, III, or IV3
ENGL 2503Religion Choice - Area I, II, III, or IV3
Humanities Choice3Natural Science Choice14
Natural Science Choice14Social Science Choice3
Social Science Choice3Humanities Choice3
 16 16
Junior
FallCreditsSpringCredits
Religion Choice3Religion Choice3
RELIG 4853Religion Choice3
Elective3Elective3
Elective4Elective3
Elective3Elective3
 16 15
Senior
FallCreditsSpringCredits
RELIG 475(or spring)3Elective3
Religion Choice3Elective3
Elective3Elective3
Elective4Elective3
 13 12

 Students in all ISU majors must complete a three-credit course in U.S. diversity and a three-credit course in international perspectives. Check (http://www.registrar.iastate.edu/courses/div-ip-guide.html) for a list of approved courses. Discuss with your adviser how the two courses that you select can be applied to your graduation plan.

LAS majors require a minimum of 120 credits, including a minimum of 45 credits at the 300/400 levelYou must also complete the LAS foreign-language requirement.

1

Laboratory science recommended.

The program offers a minor that may be earned by completing a total of 15 credits in religious studies including either RELIG 205 Introduction to World Religions or RELIG 210 Religion in America. Nine hours must be in courses at the 300 level or above (no more than 3 hours of seminar and no more than 3 hours of independent study).

Students may choose to do a senior thesis under the supervision of a religious studies faculty adviser. This option may earn 3-6 credits toward the completion of the major.

Religious Studies - Graduate Study

Religious studies may be one of the three areas used for the interdisciplinary graduate studies master's degree.

Expand all courses

Courses

Courses primarily for undergraduates:

(3-0) Cr. 3. F.S.SS.


An introduction to the academic study of religions, including myths, beliefs, rituals, values, social forms. Examples chosen from oral cultures and major religions of the world.
Meets International Perspectives Requirement.

(3-0) Cr. 3. F.S.SS.


Introductory study of the major beliefs, practices, and institutions of American Judaism, Catholicism, Protestantism, and Islam with emphasis on the diversity of religion in America, and attention to issues of gender, race, and class.
Meets U.S. Diversity Requirement

(3-0) Cr. 3. F.S.


Basic overview of the contents of the Old and New Testament in light of their ancient socio-historical background, and with attention to a variety of interpretations and relevance to modern American society.

(3-0) Cr. 3. F.S.SS.


A survey of the major historical developments in Christian thought and practice that shaped Christianity from the time of Jesus through the late medieval period. Attention given to significant persons and major events, including those involving relations with Judaism and Islam.
Meets International Perspectives Requirement.

(3-0) Cr. 3. F.S.SS.


A survey of the major events, issues, and persons that contributed to the Protestant Reformation, the Catholic Counter-Reformation, and the proliferation of Christian denominations. Attention to selected responses of churches to major sixteenth-early twenty-first century developments.

(3-0) Cr. 3. F.


An explanation of the beliefs, spirit, and practices of Roman Catholicism, including its understanding of God, sacramentality, the human person, and community, and its relationship to other forms of Christianity and other world religions.

(3-0) Cr. 3. F.


An in-depth study of the literature and religion of ancient Israel in light of recent archaeological discoveries, research about the ancient Near East, and a variety of interpretations.

(3-0) Cr. 3. S.


A detailed survey of the sacred scriptures of Christianity in light of recent archaeological discoveries and historical research about their Greco-Roman and Jewish background.

(3-0) Cr. 3. S.

Prereq: BIOL 101, or another science course taught at ISU
Examines major challenges to Christianity's understandings of creation posed by the sciences; attention given to the relations of Christianity and science, and to Christianity’s responses to ecological issues.

(Cross-listed with AF AM). (3-0) Cr. 3. F.

Prereq: Prior course work in Religious Studies or African American Studies recommended
Examination of African-American experience from the perspective of black religion with attention to political, economic, social, theological and artistic expressions, including music, that serve the life of African-American communities.”.
Meets U.S. Diversity Requirement

(Cross-listed with W S). (3-0) Cr. 3. F.

Prereq: RELIG 205, RELIG 210 or W S 201 recommended
Examines the status of women in various religions, feminist critiques of religious structures and belief systems, and contemporary women's spirituality movements.
Meets U.S. Diversity Requirement

(Dual-listed with RELIG 540). (Cross-listed with ANTHR). (3-0) Cr. 3. S.

Prereq: ANTHR 201 or ANTHR 306
Survey of global religious belief and practice from an anthropological perspective. Emphasis on myth and ritual, shamanism, magic, witchcraft, beliefs in spirits, conceptions of the soul, mind and body relationships, and healing and therapeutic practices. Discussion of religious response to dramatic political and social change; effects of globalization on religious practice.
Meets International Perspectives Requirement.

(Cross-listed with US LS). (3-0) Cr. 3. Alt. S., offered odd-numbered years.


A study of the religious behavior and attitudes expressed in the literature of Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Cuban Americans and other groups of people living in the U.S. who trace their ancestry to the Spanish-speaking countries of Latin America.
Meets U.S. Diversity Requirement

(Cross-listed with PSYCH). (3-0) Cr. 3.

Prereq: Nine credits in psychology
Survey of psychological theory and research investigating religious and spiritual attitudes, beliefs and practices.

(Cross-listed with PHIL). (3-0) Cr. 3. F.

Prereq: 6 credits in philosophy
The value and truth of religious life and belief. Mystical experience; religious faith and language; arguments for God's existence; the problem of evil; miracles; and religion and morality. Historical and contemporary readings.

(3-0) Cr. 3.

Prereq: Credit in RELIG 205 or equivalent.
Study of texts, practices, beliefs, historical development, and mutual influence of a variety of the religious traditions of India. Emphasis on Vedic religion and the diversity of traditions of Classical Hinduism; survey of Buddhist, Jain, Sikh, and South Asian Islamic traditions. Meets International Perspectives Requirement.
Meets International Perspectives Requirement.

(3-0) Cr. 3.


An introduction to Islamic religion, culture, and society from 700 to the present.
Meets International Perspectives Requirement.

(3-0) Cr. 3.


Investigates different religious ethical theories and traditions of reasoning about practical moral issues (e.g., abortion, the just distribution of wealth, environmental ethics). Explores in detail the relationship between religious beliefs and moral practice.

(Cross-listed with CL ST). (3-0) Cr. 3.


An historical introduction to the rise of Christianity in the Roman empire, with special attention to the impact of Greco-Roman culture on the thought and practice of Christians and the interaction of early Christians with their contemporaries.

(Cross-listed with POL S). (3-0) Cr. 3.


The interaction of religion and politics in the U.S. from both an historical and contemporary perspective, as well as the role of religion in politics internationally.

(Cross-listed with ANTHR, CL ST). (3-0) Cr. 3. S.


Chronological survey of the material culture of the ancient Greece-Roman world and the role of archaeological context in understanding the varied aspects of ancient Greek or Roman culture. Among other topics, economy, architecture, arts and crafts, trade and exchange, religion and burial customs will be explored.
Meets International Perspectives Requirement.

(Cross-listed with ANTHR, CL ST). (3-0) Cr. 3. S.


Bronze Age (Minoan and Mycenaean palatial cultures) and Early Iron Age Greece. (ca 3000-700 BCE). Chronological survey of the material culture of the ancient Greece-Roman world and the role of archaeological context in understanding the varied aspects of ancient Greek or Roman culture. Among other topics, economy, architecture, arts and crafts, trade and exchange, religion and burial customs will be explored.
Meets International Perspectives Requirement.

(Cross-listed with ANTHR, CL ST). (3-0) Cr. 3. S.


Chronological survey of the material culture of the ancient Greece-Roman world and the role of archaeological context in understanding the varied aspects of ancient Greek or Roman culture. Among other topics, economy, architecture, arts and crafts, trade and exchange, religion and burial customs will be explored.
Meets International Perspectives Requirement.

(3-0) Cr. 3. S.


Examines biblical roots of and major developments in Catholic social thought. Contemporary issues such as human rights, economic justice, the environment, and war and peace will be treated using principles of Catholic ethics, social analysis, official church documents, and contributions of notable theologians and activists.
Meets U.S. Diversity Requirement

(Cross-listed with ENV S). (3-0) Cr. 3.


Introduction to concepts of religion and ecology as they appear in different religious traditions, from both a historical and contemporary perspective. Special attention to religious response to contemporary environmental issues.
Meets International Perspectives Requirement.

(Cross-listed with W S). (3-0) Cr. 3.

Prereq: RELIG 205 recommended
Exploration of the foundational myths of Goddess spirituality, including historical and cross-cultural female images of the divine and their modern usage by American women.

(3-0) Cr. 3. S.


The various Buddhist paths to realize enlightenment and freedom. Special attention to meditation and yoga and their relationship to altered states of consciousness and to social contexts.
Meets International Perspectives Requirement.

(3-0) Cr. 3. Repeatable, maximum of 6 times.

Prereq: 6 credits in religious studies
Topic changes each time offered. Closed to freshmen. Sophomores must have approval of instructor.

(3-0) Cr. 3.

Prereq: 6 credits in Religious Studies or permission of instructor
Examines the variety of theories and methods employed in the study of religion. Application of these methods to various religions of the world.

Cr. 1-3. Repeatable, maximum of 9 credits.

Prereq: 6 credits in religious studies and permission of instructor, approval of chairman.
Guided reading and research on special topics selected to meet the needs of advanced students. No more than 9 credits of Relig 490 may be counted toward graduation.

Cr. 1-3. Repeatable, maximum of 9 credits.

Prereq: 6 credits in religious studies and permission of instructor, approval of chairman.
Guided reading and research on special topics selected to meet the needs of advanced students. No more than 9 credits of Relig 490 may be counted toward graduation.

Cr. 3.


Written under the supervision of a Religious Studies faculty advisor.

Cr. 2-3. Repeatable.

Prereq: 6 credits in Religious Studies and permission of instructor

Courses primarily for graduate students, open to qualified undergraduates:

(Dual-listed with RELIG 340). (Cross-listed with ANTHR). (3-0) Cr. 3. S.

Prereq: ANTHR 201 or ANTHR 306
Survey of global religious belief and practice from an anthropological perspective. Emphasis on myth and ritual, shamanism, magic, witchcraft, beliefs in spirits, conceptions of the soul, mind and body relationships, and healing and therapeutic practices. Discussion of religious response to dramatic political and social change; effects of globalization on religious practice.
Meets International Perspectives Requirement.

Cr. 1-3. Repeatable.

Prereq: Permission of instructor, 9 credits in religious studies