University of Pittsburgh
three small photographs depicting various religious icons

Department of Religious Studies

Undergraduate

The Old Major in Religious Studies

Dormition of the Theotokos

Students who declare a religious studies major beginning Spring Term 2017 must complete the new major requirements. Students who have declared a religious studies major no later than Fall Term 2016 may elect to complete the new major requirements or the old major requirements.

Course Requirements

The major in Religious Studies requires ten courses (30 credits).

Introductory Courses: 6 credits

Students take the following 2 introductory courses:

  • 0105: Religions of the West
  • 0505: Religion in Asia

Students are encouraged to take the introductory courses early in the major.

Methods Course: 3 credits

All students select one course from each of the following two lists. These courses substantively treat major disciplinary approaches to the study of religion: historical, philosophical, ethnographic, social scientific and literary.

One course in which the historical approach to religion is emphasized:

  • 0090 Myth in the Ancient Near East
  • 0405 Witchcraft to Walden Pond: Religion in Early America
  • 0415 Religion in Modern America
  • 0455 Introduction to Islamic Civilization
  • 1120 Origins of Christianity                   
  • 1130 Varieties of Early Christianity 
  • 1160 Jerusalem—History and Imagination      
  • 1220 Jews and Judaism—Medieval
  • 1240 Jews and the City
  • 1241 Gender in Jewish History
  • 1225 Jews, Christians, and Muslims in Europe—Conflict and Cooperation
  • 1228 Exodus and Passover
  • 1250 Jews and Judaism—Modern
  • 1252 Holocaust History and Memory
  • 1372 Catholicism in the New World
  • 1405 Religion and Sexuality   
  • 1500 Religion in India
  • 1520 Buddhism Along the Silk Road
  • 1550 East Asian Buddhism
  • 1552 East Asian Meditative Traditions
  • 1560 Chinese Religious Traditions
  • 1681 Zionism, Anti-Zionism, Post-Zionism
  • 1570 Japanese Religious Traditions
  • 1680 Readings in Jewish Historiography  

One course in which the philosophical, ethnographic, social scientific or literary approach to religion is emphasized:

  • 0025 Major Biblical Themes
  • 0115 Bible as Literature
  • 0305 Classics of Christian Thought
  • 0435 Religion, Film, and Literature
  • 0525 Religion & Culture in East Asia
  • 0705 Approaches to the Study of Religion
  • 0715 Philosophy of Religion
  • 0735 Wisdom
  • 1438 Religion and Politics
  • 1450 Islam and Politics  
  • 1452 Hymns and HipHop: Sounds of Islam
  • 1510 Religion in India 2: Storytelling as a Religious Form
  • 1554 Death & Beyond in Buddhist Cultures
  • 1557 Buddhist Lives
  • 1558 Buddhism and Psychology
  • 1572 Popular Religion in a Changing Japan
  • 1518 Religion and Ecology (Pitt campus only)
  • 1519 Religion, Nature, and the Environment
  • 1610 Myth, Symbol & Ritual
  • 1620 Women & Religion
  • 1725 Death & the Healthcare Profession
  • 1760 Religion & Rationality
  • 1771 Science and Religion
  • 1762 Guide of the Perplexed
Area Courses: 3 courses (9 credits)
Students select one course from each of the following three lists. These courses substantially treat three major area subfields: religion in the East, the premodern West, and the modern/ contemporary West.

One course at the 1000 level on religion in the East:

  • 1500 Religion in India 1
  • 1520 Buddhism along the Silk Road
  • 1540 Saints East & West
  • 1545 Mysticism East & East
  • 1550 East Asian Buddhism
  • 1510 Religion in India 2: Storytelling as a Religious Form
  • 1552 East Asian Meditative Traditions
  • 1554 Death & Beyond in Buddhist Cultures
  • 1557 Buddhist Lives
  • 1558 Buddhism and Psychology
  • 1560 Chinese Religious Traditions
  • 1570 Japanese Religious Traditions
  • 1572 Popular Religion in a Changing Japan
One course at the 1000 level on religion in the premodern West:

  • 1100 Israel in the Biblical Age
  • 1112 Bible as Literature 2
  • 1120 Origins of Christianity
  • 1130 Varieties of Early Christianity
  • 1135 Orthodox Christianity
  • 1140 Dualism in the Ancient World
  • 1142 Construction of Evil
  • 1143 Death in the Name of God—Martyrs and Martyrdom
  • 1145 Greco-Roman Religions
  • 1148 Religions of Ancient Egypt
  • 1150 Body & Society in Late Antiquity
  • 1151 Death in the Mediterranean World
  • 1160 Jerusalem—History and Imagination
  • 1210 Jews and Judaism—Ancient
  • 1220 Jews and Judaism—Medieval
  • 1222 Jewish Mysticism
  • 1225 Jewish Culture in Medieval Spain
  • 1228 Exodus & Passover
  • 1405 Religion & Sexuality
  • 1540 Saints East & West
  • 1545 Mysticism East & East
  • 1624 Women & Judaism
  • 1640 Jews in the Islamic World
  • 1642 Christian-Muslim Relations
  • 1644 Jewish-Christian Relations
  • 1675 Reading the Hebrew Bible
  • 1680 Readings in Jewish Historiography
  • 1762 Guide of the Perplexed

One course at the 1000 level on religion in the modern or contemporary West:

  • 1240 Jews & the City
  • 1241 Gender in Jewish History
  • 1225 Jews, Christians, and Muslims in Europe—Conflict and Cooperation
  • 1250 Jews and Judaism—Modern
  • 1252 Holocaust History and Memory
  • 1372 Catholicism in the New World    
  • 1410 Religion in American Thought
  • 1412 Ethnicity in American Religion
  • 1425 Popular Religion in America
  • 1438 Religion & Politics
  • 1450 Islam & Politics
  • 1452 Hymns and HipHop—Sounds of Islam
  • 1518 Religion and Ecology (Pitt campus only)
  • 1519 Religion, Nature, & the Environment
  • 1680 History & Memory in the Jewish Tradition
  • 1681 Zionism, Anti-Zionism, Post-Zionism
  • 1725 Death & the Healthcare Profession
  • 1760 Religion & Rationality
  • 1771 Science & Religion
Elective Courses: 2 courses (6 credits)

Students select two additional religious studies courses, at least one of which must be at the 1000 level. See Descriptions of Regularly Taught Courses.

Students may use electives to form a clear area of specialization preparatory to graduate study or in line with their interests, or they may use electives to create a broader program in which they study as many traditions, ideologies, geographic areas, and themes as possible. Students are encouraged to meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies to plan the best arrangement of courses for their long-term academic goals.

Capstone Seminar: 1 course (3 credits)
  • 1903 Directed Research Seminar (W course)

Prerequisite: at least 6 religious studies courses

Each fall, all graduating majors come together as an intellectual community to participate in a special seminar to produce a capstone research paper. The overarching thematic orientation of the capstone seminar changes with the instructor. Students are encouraged to develop research topics in their area of interest within the broader outlines of the annual theme. Students work with the seminar instructor as well as with another faculty member with expertise in the particular area of research. Students have opportunities to share their work-in-progress with other seminar members throughout the term and to present their research to their peers at the conclusion of the seminar.

Important: Majors who plan to study abroad in the fall term of the academic year in which they anticipate graduation should plan to complete six courses in the major by the fall term of their junior year and petition the Director of Undergraduate Studies to take RELGST 1903 in the fall term of their junior year. Juniors who will have completed six courses in the major by the fall term of their junior year may enroll in RELGST 1903 by petition.

Note

  • The same course may not fulfill more than one distribution requirement.
  • No more than 6 credits applied towards the major can be taken NC/S.

Checklist for Religious Studies Majors

Related Area Requirement

All A&S students must complete a related area requirement. We believe this offers our majors an important opportunity to enhance their understanding of the religious process or an area of concentration through the study of the literature, language, art, or history of a particular culture, or through the study of disciplines or processes that are related to religion, such as social change, mythology, symbolism, and literature.

There are two ways to meet the related area requirement. Students should consult with the director of Undergraduate Studies for help with formulating their options.

  • Students identify a cluster of four courses (12 credits) that support and reinforce their study of religion. Students may use foreign language study as their related area, but those languages must show some relationship to a primary religion or cultural context within the major.
  • Students complete a second major, a minor, or a certificate program.
Important Regulations for Majors

All courses counted toward the major must be taken for a letter grade and completed with a C grade or above.

At least 5 courses and the capstone seminar (for a total of 6 courses) must be completed on the Oakland campus. Students transferring from other colleges or universities need to consult with the Director of Undergraduate Studies about transferring courses and credits to be applied to the major. See Transferring Credits.

Department honors require a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.25 or higher in the major and a B+ or above in the capstone seminar.  See also Important Information for Majors.

More on Graduation Requirements and Degree Opportunities

Revised 08/23/16 | Copyright 2007 | Site by UMC WebTeam