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Religious Studies Undergraduate Program

Our Curriculum

The study of religion at OU is not intended to promote or critique any particular religious faith. Nor does it seek to encourage or discourage religious practice or expression. More broadly, by providing a greater understanding of religion in its pluralistic expressions the department will promote a more informed citizenry. The relationship of religion to other societal, cultural, and political activity means that the study of religion informs the understanding of all human activity. The Religious Studies department works closely with the university's International Programs office and the College of International and Area Studies to identify and/or coordinate study abroad experiences for our students.

The curriculum involves a two-pronged academic exploration of 1) different religious traditions (e.g., Native American, African, and other indigenous traditions, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Baha'i, etc.); and 2) different approaches to the study of religion (historical, social, political, intellectual, philosophical, scientific, literary). This will prepare future journalists, teachers, lawyers, doctors, and business leaders to operate in the complex religious milieu of the coming decades. Within the department, students complete RELS 1113 Introduction to Religious Studies, RELS 2653 Approaches to the Study of Religion (a course in theories and methods), and choose three religious traditions from three distinct cultures, as well as elective courses in religion and literature/the arts, religion, and social organization/politics, religion and history, and religion and philosophy. Travel abroad is also available to meet the requirements of the elective category. Students use their electives to craft a concentration or specialization in preparation for graduate or professional schools.  Specializations in either the major OR minor are available in Islamic Studies, Asian Studies, Judaic Studies, African and African-American Studies, Biblical Literature, or Christian Studies.  Students complete the Capstone course their senior year, to bring together the theories, research methods, and approaches the students have acquired through the student's course of study.

For the checksheet (including the lists of required courses for each category in the major), click here.

For the minor checksheet, click here.

For course descriptions, click here.   

Frequently asked questions:

Do I have to complete a Capstone?

Yes, the Capstone is required and no, we do not waive it in the case of a second major/Capstone.  Capstone is an integral academic experience, combining all the skills and methodologies, research methods, and disciplinary approaches acquired by RELS majors.

How many traditions courses are required?

Students should expect to complete three courses from Group II, The Variety of Religious Traditions.  We have expanded that section from 6 groups to 8, which will be reflected on the 2022 checksheet but which we are implementing now.  The previous single group of Asian traditions has been expanded to 3 groups, so students may take all three traditions in Asian traditions if they so desire.

Do I need a particular math course?

Any General Education mathematics course can meet the requirements of the Religious Studies degree, but students who plan to pursue social science disciplines and methods are encouraged to take one of the campus statistics courses, either in Psychology (PSY 2003), Economics (ECON 2843) for Gen-Ed math, or Sociology (SOC 3123) as an upper division elective.  MATH 1743 also includes a segment on statistics.

Please contact our advisor, Ms. Lee Green, for any further information or for answers to your questions.