Jul 13, 2024  
College Catalog 2024-2025 
College Catalog 2024-2025

Religious Studies

Full Time Faculty: Erik W. Davis, Susanna Drake, William Hart (Chair), James Laine, Ahoo Najafian

Part Time Faculty: Nicholas Schaser

Religious studies is a broadly interdisciplinary investigation that takes its place among the humanities and social sciences. Majors in religious studies enter a wide range of vocations, from the pursuit of graduate work in the study of religion or professional life in the parish ministry/rabbinate, to entering fields as diverse as journalism, law, medicine, and community activism. The department works with students who want to focus on the academic study of religion, and with students who seek courses in religion to help them frame and interrogate issues provoked in other academic areas. Students who double major in religion or choose religion as a minor area of study also benefit from the diversity of religious studies course offerings and its faculty.

Introductory courses are broad in scope, even as they seek to be selective enough to allow an in-depth encounter with source documents situated within their historical, literary, and social contexts. Seminars may take up an issue or theme and allow for a concentrated reading and pursuit of focused critical questions and issues. Methods of instruction include not only lectures and small group discussion, but also opportunities for independent study and research, one-on-one engagement with faculty, and site-specific projects in the Twin Cities and beyond. Course offerings span across American religions in the U.S., including Judaism and Asian-American religion, Buddhism in India, China, and Japan; Christianity from its beginnings through modern Europe and the contemporary period; religions of South and Southeast Asia, feminist and gender studies, critical studies, and textual interpretation.

General Distribution Requirement

All courses in the religious studies department count toward the general distribution requirement in humanities except for courses numbered RELI 604 , RELI 614 , RELI 634 , and RELI 644 . Exceptions to this may be topics courses (194, 294, 394, 494) that are cross-listed with other departments.

General Education Requirements

Courses that meet the general education requirements in writing, quantitative thinking, internationalism and U.S. identities and differences will be posted on the Registrar’s web page in advance of registration for each semester.

Additional information regarding the general distribution requirement and the general education requirements can be found in the graduation requirements  section of this catalog.

Honors Program

The religious studies department participates in the honors program. Eligibility requirements, application procedures and specific project expectations for the department are available from either the department office or the Academic Programs and Advising Office.

Topics Courses

RELI 194 , RELI 294 , RELI 394 , RELI 494  

Examination of special topics of interest to faculty and students, such as a study of certain crucial questions that the various religious traditions raise and attempt to answer. To be announced at registration. (4 credits)

Independent Study

The department offers independent study options in the form of tutorials, independent projects, internships, preceptorships and Honors independent projects. For more information contact the department and review the Curriculum  section of the catalog.