The Department of Religious Studies approaches the world’s religious traditions and contemporary religiosity as historical and cultural phenomena. Courses offered examine the histories, texts, beliefs, values, and practices of a variety of the world’s religions (including Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), as well as the religious and spiritual dimensions of contemporary and popular culture. In addition to studying the beliefs and practices that comprise religion in its historical and contemporary forms, our curriculum includes courses that contextualize religions in relation to the arts, politics, gender, science, ethics, and secularism. The study of religion invites multiple perspectives on the enduring place of religions and spiritualties in human society.
The Degree Programs
MUN offers two undergraduate programs in Religious Studies: the Bachelor of Arts with Major and the Bachelor of Arts with Honours.
The Department's Major program offers flexibility in course selection and is designed to offer students both grounding in the history of religious traditions and engagement with contemporary concerns. Requiring twelve courses, the major offers students flexibility and variety in the study of religion. Majors are required to complete: 1) four courses from the Texts and Traditions Series (2013, 2330, 2340, 2400, 2410, 2420); 2) at the 3000 level, students choose an area of concentration in either Texts and Traditions or Culture and Society and complete at least three in their area of concentration, and at least two courses in the other area; 3) one course at the 4000 level, chosen from 4001, 4002 and 4812. With the exception of Language Study (LS) courses, no more than two 1000-level courses can be counted as credit toward a major.
The Honours program gives students the opportunity to learn more about religion, to research a particular topic in depth, and to attain the academic distinction of a Bachelor of Arts with Honours. It is recommended for students who wish to go on to a post-graduate degree such as a MA or Ph.D. The Honours degree normally requires twenty courses in Religious Studies.
The Department is excited to offer a Minor in Religious Studies for students who have chosen to declare their major with another department, but who are still interested in religion. Requiring only eight courses, the Minor is extremely flexible. It is ideal for anyone who has wondered what religion is all about, and a useful complement for anyone undertaking a major in a related discipline, such as Anthropology, Classics, English, Folklore, History, Philosophy, Political Science, or Sociology. Since religion is a "second teachable" subject in the province's educational system, Religious Studies is an excellent choice for a Minor for anyone planning on entering the Faculty of Education and pursuing a teaching career.
If you would like more information about our programs, or if you would like to declare religious studies as your Major or Minor, please don't hesitate to come and visit us. We're on the fifth floor of the Arts and Administration Building, A5007. Or give us a call at 864-8166.
After the Degree
An undergraduate degree in Religious Studies prepares a student for many kinds of opportunities. A degree in Religious Studies may prepare a student to work within a religious organization, but this is the case for only a minority of our graduates. Some students choose to proceed to Master's or Doctoral programs in Religious Studies. A student may enter a professional program, such as Law, Business, Social Work, Education, or Nursing. A Bachelor of Arts degree is a pre-requisite when applying for many government positions, and an indispensable asset when applying for work in the private sector or with a non-governmental organization. The Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies teaches an appreciation of human history and culture, the ability to read sceptically and write clearly, and an understanding of how multi-faceted human interactions truly are. This is an invaluable liberal arts education, and a fine start to a professional career.
Those interested in exploring more fully the career opportunities provided by an Arts degree may want to contact Andrea Keating, the career development coordinator for the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.