Overview of the Major in Religious Studies

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The Religious Studies major at Charlotte is organized around modes of inquiry used by scholars of religion: Cultural Analysis, Historical Analysis, and Textual Analysis. This organization is intended to help students see commonalities across their coursework. Despite significant differences in subject matter, students learn to read texts of all sorts carefully. Similarly, whether it is a course on Religious Art and Architecture in India or a course on Religion in America, students are learning to think carefully about historical and cultural contexts. Although the Department’s faculty specializes in a wide range of disparate subject matter, we share a set of approaches for working in our areas of expertise.

In addition, the Religious Studies major gives students great flexibility in terms of how they meet the requirements of the degree. This will allow students to complete the major more quickly and more easily.

Major requirements

The major in Religious Studies consists of 30 course credit hours, with at least 15 hours (5 courses) at the 3000-level or above. The requirements are as follows:

  • RELS 2600: Introduction to the Study of Religion, which students are encouraged to take as early as possible
  • RELS 1502 (formerly RELS 1200) World Religions
  • Two (2) courses (6 credit hours) designated as historical analysis, which focus on focus on a particular historical period or figure; consider a movement, idea or instititution across several historical periods; and examine questions of historiography more generally *
  • Two (2) courses (6 credit hours) designated as textual analysis, which focus on reading texts closely and carefully; examine methods and histories of textual interpretation; and consider how religious groups and cultures have composed, transmitted and been shaped by texts*
  • Two (2) course designated as cultural analysis, which focus on how religious discourses, practices and identities interact with, influence and are influenced by the larger culture of which they are a part*
  • One elective class at the 4000 level

NOTE FOR TRANSFER STUDENTS: A major transferring in Religious Studies courses from another institution may transfer in for credit 9 hours in Religious Studies from that institution. That is, 21 additional hours must be taken at UNC Charlotte.

*Depending on how respective sections are taught, a course could fulfill the requirement for historical, textual, or cultural analysis. Students must consult the course descriptions circulated each semester to determine which designations have been assigned to a particular course.

Questions can be directed to Shonta LeMaster, Professional Academic Advisor.