Undergraduate Catalog 2018-2019


Religious Studies (REL)

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)

8 Semester Plan

120 Credit Hours

CIP Code: 38.0201

College of Arts & Sciences


Major Description

Certified Global Pathway Program
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.


This program has been certified as a Global Pathway. Global Pathway programs have significant global content and align with the goals of USF’s Quality Enhancement Plan, the Global Citizens Project. Students in Global Pathway programs are well positioned to earn the Global Citizen Award and become eligible to apply for a study abroad scholarship offered by the Global Citizens Project.


State Mandated Common Course Prerequisites

Students desiring to transfer to USF should complete an A.A. degree at a Florida College System institution. 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. Transfer students are also required to comply with the immunization, foreign language, and continuous enrollment policies of the university.

There are no State Mandated Common Prerequisites for this 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 (15 credit hours):

Completion 21 additional credit hours that satisfy the following requirements:

Complete 21additional credit hours of Religious Studies courses, of which at least 18 credit hours must be at the 3000- and/or 4000-level (see listing below) and of which no more than 6 credit hours can be the following variable credit individualized courses: REL 3900 Directed Readings or REL 4910 Undergraduate Research.

Research Opportunities

All undergraduate students in any degree program can participate in undergraduate research. There are a number of options to receive academic credit for a mentored research experience and to have the experience show on the official transcript. Students who wish to enroll in an undergraduate research course should consult with their academic advisor to understand how the credit will apply towards the degree requirements. If no credit is needed, students may be eligible to enroll in the 0-credit IDS 2912 or IDS 4914 courses. These courses will not impact degree credits or GPA but will show on an official transcript and document the experience. The Office for Undergraduate Research will assist students in understanding the various course options.

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 for the program should be submitted during a student’s Junior year. However, students who are in their senior year may be considered for admission, providing that they apply in the Fall Term, and meet the admission requirements. Accepted students will be notified of their admission to the Honor’s Program in the Spring Term. For seniors who are accepted into the program, they will be notified by the end of the Fall Term, in which they applied. 

Admissions Criteria 

  1. The student must have an overall GPA of at least 3.25. 
  2. The student must have completed REL 3040 (Introduction to Religious Studies) and at least 12 additional hours of course work in the Religious Studies Department. 
  3.  The student’s GPA in Religious Studies courses is to be at least 3.5 
  4.  The student is to furnish a letter of recommendation from a Religious Studies faculty member who is familiar with the applicant’s work. 
  5.  The student is to furnish a statement from a Religious Studies faculty member expressing her/his willingness to serve as chair of the applicant’s thesis committee. 
  6.  The student is to submit a brief statement of qualification for the program and his or her area(s) of special interest. 

At the discretion of the committee one of more of these requirements may be waived for exceptional students. 
Requirements for Completion of Departmental Honors 

  1.  Complete of a USF degree with an overall GPA of 3.25 or higher. 
  2.  Completion of the requirements for a Religious Studies major with a GPA of 3.5 or higher in the major.. 
  3.  Completion of at least five (5) credit hours of research intensive courses with a minimum grade of B. This may be in any combination of the following: a. REL 4911 Undergraduate Research b. REL 4931 Seminar in Religion c. A 4000-level course or higher that has a research intensive component, signified by the including of a 0- credit IDS 4914
  4.   Honors students are to work with their advisor to select and refine one piece of the student’s written work.
    This should be presented either at the Office of Undergraduate Research’s annual Symposium in the Spring Semester of their senior year and/or in a separate venue arranged by the student and advisor. 

Honors Program Committee 
Administration of the Honors Program will be the responsibility of the department’s Honors Committee. This committee will review applications, select participants, and in general oversee and evaluate the program. It is within the power of the committee to allow exceptions to admission criteria and criteria for graduation with departmental honors. 
The Religious Studies Honors Program should not be confused with the University Honors College, although students may participate simultaneously in both programs. 

  • 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

  Accelerated Program

This major has an accelerated track that confers an undergraduate and graduate degree upon completion.

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  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

There are research opportunities associated with this major.


  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

There is more information available for this major such as faculty, advising, and/or accreditation information.

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