RELIGIOUS STUDIES - Dept. Code:  REL
www.as.miami.edu/religion


INTRODUCTION

The University regards the academic study of religion as an integral part of liberal, humane learning and seeks to assist students in understanding the role religion plays in human existence and culture. Instruction in the Department of Religious Studies is non-sectarian and seeks an open analysis of all points of view. Courses are designed to provide a general orientation to the academic study of religion for the undergraduate student, as well as more advanced exposure for those who wish to pursue professional careers where a study of religious ideas and institutions would be helpful, such as in psychology, sociology, history, journalism, teaching, law, medicine, the fine arts, religious education, the ministry, and the rabbinate.

The Department sponsors a wide variety of speakers and events each year, including a Religious Studies Colloquium series and a Forum on Religion and Public Life. It has enriched the existing curriculum by bringing to the campus such outstanding scholars as Elizabeth Kuebler-Ross, Joachim Jeremias, Alvin Plantinga, Harry M. Orlinsky, Anson Rainey, Abraham J. Malherbe, Alan Segal, William May, Robert Segal, Douglas Allen, Marvin Sweeney, Martin Hengel, Martin E. Marty, and Juergen Moltmann.


EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES

The general educational objectives of the Department are (1) to explore texts, histories, and ways in which humans from various cultures have understood their world including the beliefs, ethics, rituals, artifacts, and organizations of religions; (2) to understand the changing relationship between religion and elements of the wider culture including the dynamics of politics, art, economics, literature, and society and their relationship to religions; (3) to become familiar with the theories and methods used in the study of religion.


DEGREE PROGRAMS

The Department offers two tracks by which students may earn a major or a minor. The first track is Religious Studies, which is designed for students who are seeking a broad and comprehensive understanding of the world’s major religions and the cultures in which they are practiced. The second track is Religion and Health Care, which is designed for students who are interested in any aspect of health care or who wish to supplement their pre-med concentration with coursework in the field of Religious Studies.


MAJORS

The Religious Studies Major

For students entering the University in or after Fall 2008, a major in Religious Studies leading toward the B.A. degree requires 30 credits in Religious Studies, passed with a grade of C- or higher, and a GPA in the major of 2.0. At least 15 credits must be earned in courses numbered 300 or above. Six credits must be taken in each of the three following subject areas: 1) Religious Texts; 2) Historical Traditions; 3) Contemporary Issues. A major must earn writing credit (W) in at least one course in the department and must take the majors/minors seminar, REL 499.

Transfer students who major in Religious Studies must complete at least 15 credits in departmental courses numbered 300 or above in residence at the Coral Gables Campus.

The Religion and Health Care Major

For students entering the University in or after Fall 2008, a major in Religion and Health Care leading toward the B.A. degree requires 30 credits in Religious Studies, passed with a grade of C- or higher, and a GPA in the major of 2.0. At least 15 credits must be earned in courses numbered 300 or above, and a major must earn writing credit (W) in at least one course in the department. Students must complete five Religion and Health Care courses and are required to take the majors/minors seminar (REL 499), one course in Religious Texts, and one course in Historical Traditions. The two remaining courses are electives chosen from any of the courses offered by the Department of Religious Studies.

Transfer students who major in Religion and Health Care must complete at least 15 credits in departmental courses numbered 300 or above in residence at the Coral Gables campus.


MINORS

The Religious Studies Minor

For students entering the University in or after Fall 2008, an undergraduate minor requires 15 credits, passed with a grade of C- or higher, and a GPA in the minor of 2.0. At least six credits must be earned in courses numbered 300 or above, and at least three credits must be taken in each of two of the three subject areas: 1) Religious Texts; 2) Historical Traditions; 3) Contemporary Issues. Religious Studies 101 is required of all minors. Religious Studies minors are encouraged to take the majors/minors seminar, REL 499, but are not required to do so.

Transfers who minor in Religious Studies must complete at least 6 credits in departmental courses numbered 300 or above in residence at the Coral Gables campus.

The Religion and Health Care Minor

For students entering the University in or after Fall 2008, an undergraduate minor in Religion and Health Care requires 15 credits, passed with a grade of C- or higher, and a GPA in the minor of 2.0. At least six credits must be earned in courses numbered 300 or above. The Religion and Health Care minor consists of REL 101 (Introduction to Religion), three Religion and Health Care courses, and one of the following: one course in Religious Texts, or one course in Historical Traditions, or the majors/minors seminar, REL 499.

Transfers who minor in Religion and Health Care must complete at least 6 credits in departmental courses numbered 300 or above in residence at the Coral Gables campus.

DEPARTMENTAL HONORS

Majors, minors, and other students who meet certain academic criteria are eligible for membership in Theta Alpha Kappa, the National Honor Society for Religious Studies and Theology. Theta Alpha Kappa sponsors events that enhance the academic and social life of the department.

In keeping with its emphasis on a global approach to the study of religion and society, the Department sponsors a study abroad program known as URome. This semester-on-location program, which is open to all qualified University of Miami undergraduate students, is offered each spring semester in collaboration with the American University of Rome. A limited amount of scholarship support for the URome program through the Ada Orlando Scholarship is available for qualified Religious Studies majors and minors.