Undergraduate Catalog 2013-14
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Religious Studies (REL)
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)8 Semester Plan
120 Credit Hours
CIP Code: 38.0201
College of Arts & Sciences
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.
College Level Requirements
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
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 2300 Introduction to World Religions
- REL 2306 Contemporary World Religions
- REL 3308 World Religions
- REL 3040 Introduction to Religious Studies
- REL 3043 Introduction to Major Religious Texts
- REL 4931 Seminar in Religion
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:
- Western Tradition (primarily Judaism, Christianity, and Islam):
- REL 2210 Hebrew Bible/Old Testament
- REL 2240 Introduction to the New Testament
- REL 3120 Religion in America
- REL 3131 New Religions in America
- REL 3132 Witchcraft and Paganism in America
- REL 3280 Biblical Archaeology
- REL 3303 Comparative Religion: Judaism and Islam
- REL 3363 Introduction to Islam
- REL 3367 Islam in the Modern World
- REL 3500 History of Christianity
- REL 3561 Roman Catholicism
- REL 3602 Classics of Judaism
- REL 3607 Introduction to Judaism
- REL 3611 History of Judaism
- REL 3613 Modern Judaism
- REL 4133 Mormonism in America
- REL 4171 Contemporary Christian Ethics
- REL 4215 Ancient Israel and the Development of the Hebrew Bible
- REL 4216 Who Wrote the Bible
- REL 4245 New Testament I: Gospels, Acts
- REL 4250 Jesus' Life and Teachings
- REL 4252 New Testament II: Pauline Letters
- Non-Western Tradition (religious traditions other than those Western tradition referenced above):
- REL 3318 Introduction to Chinese Religion
- REL 3330 Religions of South Asia
- REL 3335 Gods and Goddesses of India
- REL 3340 Buddhism Truths and Paths
- REL 3380 Native American Religions
- REL 4333 Hindu Texts and Contexts
- Issues and Approaches
- REL 2166 Introduction to Religion and Ecology
- REL 3101 Religion and Popular Culture
- REL 3111 The Religious Quest in Contemporary Films
- REL 3114 Comedy, Tragedy and Religion
- REL 3116 Religion and Contemporary American Holidays
- REL 3117 Religion and Contemporary American Sports
- REL 3140 Religion, Culture and Society
- REL 3146 Women and Religion
- REL 3170 Religion, Ethics and Society Through Film
- REL 3191 Life After Death
- REL 3375 Issues in Caribbean Religions
- REL 3420 Contemporary Religious Thoughts
- REL 3444 Womanist Vision in Religion
- REL 3465 Religion and the Meaning of Life
- REL 3801 History of Writing
- REL 4113 The Hero and Religion
- REL 4177 Comparative Religious Ethics
- REL 4193 Comparative Mysticism
- REL 4291 Women and the Bible
- REL 4939 The Development of Religious Studies
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- A letter of recommendation from a Religious Studies faculty member who is familiar with the applicant's work.
- A statement from a Religious Studies faculty member expressing her/his willingness to serve as chair of the applicant's thesis committee.
- 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:
- Completion of the requirements for a Religious Studies major with a GPA of 3.5 or higher in the major.
- Completion of a USF degree with an overall GPA of 3.25 or higher.
- 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.
- 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.