Undergraduate Catalog 2013-2014


Religious Studies (REL)

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)

8 Semester Plan

120 Credit Hours

CIP Code: 38.0201

College of Arts & Sciences


Major Description

In Religious Studies, students are exposed to a cross-cultural and multi-disciplinary study of the way in which both individuals and civilizations are deeply influenced by human religious experience. The goal is to enable the educated person to understand better the various ways in which religious values and institutions shape human behavior through a comparative study of religions and cultures. Such an education is invaluable for careers as diverse as journalism, law, medicine, business, as well as careers more directly related to the practice of religion. Majors in Religious Studies will also find courses designed to give them the methodological, theoretical and linguistic skills needed to go on to advanced graduate study in the field.

State Mandated Common Course Prerequisites

Students wishing to transfer to USF should complete the A.A. degree at the community college. Some courses required for the major may also meet General Education Requirements thereby transferring maximum hours to the university. If students transfer with fewer than 60 semester hours of acceptable credit, the students must meet the university’s entering freshman requirements including ACT or SAT test scores, GPA, and course requirements

There are no State Mandated Common Prerequisites for this degree program.

Total Major Hours: 36 Hours

Major Core

Students must choose a total of 36 credit hours from Religious Studies courses. Transfer students may not apply more than 12 hours taken elsewhere toward the major at the University of South Florida.

Students declaring Religious Studies as a second major need to complete 30 credit hours. To do so they must make a written request to the Undergraduate Director at the time they declare the second major.

Major Core Courses - 36 Hours

All majors must take the following (12-13 credit hours):

  • One of the following courses (only one will count toward Religious Studies requirements):
  • REL 3040 Introduction to Religious Studies
  • REL 3043 Introduction to Major Religious Texts
  • REL 4931 Seminar in Religion
Completion 23-24 additional credit hours that satisfy the following requirements:

Take at least 18 credit hours at 3000- and/or 4000-level course, of which a minimum of 12 must be at the 4000-level. Take at least one course from each of the areas:

Variable Credit Individualized Courses (Students are limited to six (credit) hours of the following courses):

Optional Honors Program

The purpose of the Honors Program in Religious Studies is to provide outstanding undergraduates with advanced and individualized learning opportunities in Religious Studies and their areas of special interest in this field. In addition it will serve to facilitate more direct contact between students in the program and their faculty mentors. In this program, students who have demonstrated significant academic achievement will inquire into issues and questions in the study of religion at an advanced level under the guidance of faculty members with demonstrated expertise in their fields of study and a strong commitment to teaching. Upon completion of the program, the student's transcript will state that the student graduated with Honors in Religious Studies. Application to the program should be submitted during a student's junior year. The Honors Committee will review all applicants before selecting no more than 10 individuals for the Honors Programs. Inductees will be notified of their admission to the Honors Program in the Spring term. Honors Program students are exempt from Sr. Seminar (REL 4931) contingent on their completion of the Honors Program. If students do not complete the Honors Program, they are required to complete Sr. Seminar in order to satisfy degree requirements.

Admissions Criteria:

  1. Religious Studies majors who have completed at least 70 (and preferably less than 90) hours of course work with an overall GPA of at least 3.25.
  2. Completion of REL 3040 Introduction to Religious Studies and at least 12 additional hours of course work in the department of Religious Studies with a GPA of at least 3.5 in the major.
  3. A letter of recommendation from a Religious Studies faculty member who is familiar with the applicant's work.
  4. A statement from a Religious Studies faculty member expressing her/his willingness to serve as chair of the applicant's thesis committee.
  5. A short essay (2-3) pages by the applicant that includes the following:
    • a statement of the applicant's qualifications for the program,
    • the applicant's area(s) of special interest,
    • an explanation of how the program will benefit from the applicant's inclusion in the program, and
    • the applicant's post-graduate plans.

Requirements for Completion of the Departmental Honors:

  1. Completion of the requirements for a Religious Studies major with a GPA of 3.5 or higher in the major.
  2. Completion of a USF degree with an overall GPA of 3.25 or higher.
  3. Completion of five (5) credit hours of "Honors Seminar." Honors students will take the seminar for three credit hours in the fall and two credit hours in the spring.
  4. Completion of five (5) credit hours of Thesis/Directed Research for two credit hours in the fall and three credit hours in the spring. Honors students must also complete and present their Honors Thesis in the second semester of their senior year. Students who do not complete this requirement may, upon the recommendation of their major instructor and the Department Honors Program Coordinator, be allowed to continue in special circumstances.
  • REL 4911 Undergraduate Research (Honors Thesis) (five credit hours)
  • REL 4937 Selected Topics (Honors Seminar)
  • REL 4938 Selected Topics (Honors Seminar)

  More About this Major

  Honors Program

This major has an optional component designed for the academically superior student who embraces challenge and wishes to go the extra mile.


  Research Opportunities

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  Additional Requirements

There are additional requirements for this major such as grade, GPA, foreign language, and/or general education requirements.

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  Additional Information

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