Religious Studies Major, B.A.

Department of Religious Studies

http://religion.unc.edu

125 Carolina Hall, CB# 3225

(919) 962-1567

Todd Ochoa, Director of Undergraduate Studies

tochoa@email.unc.edu

Myra Quick, Department Registrar

quick@email.unc.edu

The Department of Religious Studies is dedicated to the study of religions as historical and cultural phenomena. It examines the history, texts, artifacts, beliefs, values, and rituals of a variety of religious traditions, including Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Inherently interdisciplinary in its approach, religious studies explores religions in light of related fields in the humanities and social sciences such as anthropology, classics, archaeology, sociology, philosophy, and history.

Department Programs

Majors

Minors

Graduate Programs

Requirements 

In addition to the program requirements listed below, students must

  • attain a final cumulative GPA of at least 2.0
  • complete a minimum of 45 academic credit hours earned from UNC-Chapel Hill courses
  • take at least half of their major course requirements (courses and credit hours) at UNC-Chapel Hill
  • earn a minimum of 18 hours of C or better in the major core requirements (some majors require 21 hours).

For more information, please consult the degree requirements section of the catalog.

Core Requirements
RELI 697Capstone: Undergraduate Seminar3
Two RELI courses numbered 400 or above, including courses cross-listed with other units6
Six RELI courses, including courses cross-listed with other units18
Total Hours27

Of the nine courses required in the major, students must take at least one course in three of the department’s five subfields listed below.

  1. Ancient Mediterranean Religions
  2. Asian Religions-Islamic Studies
  3. Medieval and Early Modern/Historical Studies
  4. Religion and Culture
  5. Religion in the Americas

Religious Studies (RELI) course descriptions.

Ancient Mediterranean Religions

CLAR/JWST/RELI 110The Archaeology of Palestine in the New Testament Period3
CLAR/JWST/RELI 512Ancient Synagogues3
CLAR/RELI 375Archaeology of Cult3
FOLK/RELI 502Myths and Epics of the Ancient Near East3
JWST/RELI 103Introduction to the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Literature3
JWST/RELI 106Introduction to Early Judaism3
JWST/RELI 206Prophecy and Divination in Ancient Israel and Judah3
JWST/RELI 503Exploring the Dead Sea Scrolls3
RELI 63First-Year Seminar: The Archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls3
RELI 65First-Year Seminar: Myth, Philosophy, and Science in the Ancient World3
RELI 70First-Year Seminar: Jesus in Scholarship and Film3
RELI 104Introduction to New Testament Literature H3
RELI 105Religions of the Greco-Roman World3
RELI 109History and Culture of Ancient Israel H3
RELI 117Culture of the Ancient Near East3
RELI 201Ancient Biblical Interpretation3
RELI 207Jesus in Myth, Tradition, and History 30-200 CE3
RELI 208The Birth of Christianity3
RELI 209Varieties of Early Christianity H3
RELI 211Classical Hebrew I: A Linguistic Introduction to the Hebrew Bible3
RELI 212Classical Hebrew II: A Linguistic Introduction to the Hebrew Bible3
RELI 217Gnosticism H3
RELI 390Topics in the Study of Religion (based on topic)3
RELI 411Advanced Akkadian3
RELI 412Ugaritic3
RELI 413Biblical Coptic and Early Egyptian Monasticism3
RELI 590Topics in the Study of Religion (based on topic)3
RELI 602What Is Scripture? Formations of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Canon3
RELI 603The Bible and Its Translation3
RELI 607Problems in Early Christian Literature and History H3
RELI 608The Messiah and the Apocalypse3
RELI 617Death and Afterlife in the Ancient World3
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Asian Religions-Islamic Studies

ANTH/ASIA/RELI 574Chinese World Views3
ARAB/ASIA/RELI 681Readings in Islamicate Literatures3
ASIA/RELI 180Introduction to Islamic Civilization3
ASIA/RELI 181Modern Muslim Societies3
ASIA/RELI 183Asian Religions3
ASIA/RELI 284The Buddhist Tradition: East Asia3
ASIA/RELI 285The Buddhist Tradition: Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka3
ASIA/RELI 487Mountains, Pilgrimage, and Sacred Places in Japan3
ASIA/RELI 488Shinto in Japanese History3
ASIA/RELI 489Animals in Japanese Religion3
ASIA/RELI 581Sufism3
ASIA/RELI 582Islam and Islamic Art in South Asia3
ASIA/RELI 583Religion and Culture in Iran, 1500-Present3
ASIA/RELI 584The Qur'an as Literature3
ASIA 300/RELI 283The Buddhist Tradition: India, Nepal, and Tibet3
ASIA 301/RELI 286Premodern Japanese Religions3
ASIA 302/RELI 287Modern Japanese Religions3
ASIA 303/RELI 288Chinese Religions3
HNUR/RELI 592Religious Conflict and Literature in India3
PWAD/RELI 481Religion, Fundamentalism, and Nationalism3
RELI 64First-Year Seminar: Reintroducing Islam3
RELI 73First-Year Seminar: From Dragons to Pokemon: Animals in Japanese Myth, Folklore, and Religion H3
RELI 165Mysticism H3
RELI 184East Asian Religions: The Religions of East Asia and the Environment3
RELI 185Women/Gender/Islam H3
RELI 248Introduction to American Islam H3
RELI 289Muhammad and the Qur'an3
RELI 381Religions of South Asia3
RELI 385Modern Muslims and the Qur'an3
RELI 390Topics in the Study of Religion (based on topic)3
RELI 480Modern Muslim Literatures3
RELI 485Gender and Sexuality in Islam3
RELI 524Ethnographic Approaches to Contemporary Religion3
RELI 580African American Islam3
RELI 585Religion and Culture of Turkey3
RELI 586Women and Gender in Japanese Religions3
RELI 590Topics in the Study of Religion (based on topic)3
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Medieval and Early Modern/Historical Studies

ASIA/RELI 180Introduction to Islamic Civilization3
ASIA/RELI 284The Buddhist Tradition: East Asia3
ASIA/RELI 488Shinto in Japanese History3
ASIA/RELI 581Sufism3
ASIA 301/RELI 286Premodern Japanese Religions3
ASIA 303/RELI 288Chinese Religions3
GERM/RELI 218Christianity and Islam in the Middle Ages3
HIST/RELI 454The Reformation3
RELI 62First-Year Seminar: A History of Heresy: Christian Dissent from the Gnostics to the Pentecostals3
RELI 77First-Year Seminar: Martyrs and Warriors: Religion and the Problem of Violence3
RELI 88First-Year Seminar: Religion and Society in Historical Novels3
RELI 108Classic Jewish Texts: From Bible and Dead Sea Scrolls to Kabbalah and Hassidism3
RELI 161Introduction to the History of Christian Traditions H3
RELI 162Catholicism Today: An Introduction to the Contemporary Catholic Church3
RELI 163Critical Issues in Western Religious Thought3
RELI 164Heresy and Inquisition: Religion, Ethics, Marginalization3
RELI 165Mysticism H3
RELI 166Ideals, Cultures, and Rituals of the University H3
RELI 209Varieties of Early Christianity H3
RELI 266Medieval and Renaissance Christian Cultures3
RELI 365Studies in Christian Theologies and Theologians3
RELI 366Medieval Religious Texts3
RELI 367The Art of Devotion in Medieval and Early Modern Europe3
RELI 390Topics in the Study of Religion (based on topic)3
RELI 450Sexuality in Jewish Tradition and History3
RELI 565Medieval Jews and the Bible3
RELI 566Jewish Legal Literature3
RELI 569Interfaith Marriages and Intimacy in World Religions3
RELI 586Women and Gender in Japanese Religions3
RELI 590Topics in the Study of Religion (based on topic)3
RELI 617Death and Afterlife in the Ancient World3
RELI 662Advanced Seminar in Contemporary Catholicism3
RELI 668Religion and the Spanish Inquisition: Abrahamic Traditions, Indigenous Religions, and Empire3
RELI/WMST 362Mary in the Christian Tradition H3
RELI/WMST 371Women Mystics3
RELI 665/WMST 664Body and Suffering in Christian Mysticism3
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Religion and Culture

ANTH/FOLK/RELI 428Religion and Anthropology H3
ANTH/FOLK/RELI 688Observation and Interpretation of Religious Action3
CMPL/GERM 270/JWST 239/RELI 239German Culture and the Jewish Question3
JWST 100/RELI 123Introduction to Jewish Studies3
JWST/RELI 343Religion in Modern Israel3
PHIL 134/RELI 126Philosophy of Western Religion H3
RELI 61First-Year Seminar: Religion, Magic, and Science3
RELI 67First-Year Seminar: Nature, Culture, and Self-Identity: Religion in the Construction of Social Life3
RELI 68FYS: Charisma in Religion, Science, and Poetry Studies in the Entrepreneurial Imagination H3
RELI 71First-Year Seminar: Ethics and the Spirit of the New Capitalism3
RELI 74First-Year Seminar: Person, Time, and Religious Conduct H3
RELI 75First-Year Seminar: Sacrifice and Surrender3
RELI 76First-Year Seminar: Money and Morality: Divining Value in Social Life3
RELI 85First-Year Seminar: Sex, Marriage, and Family in Religion3
RELI 101Introduction to Religious Studies3
RELI 102World Religions3
RELI 121Introduction to Religion and Culture H3
RELI 122Introduction to Philosophical Approaches to Religion H3
RELI 125Heaven and Hell3
RELI 127The Claims of Science and Religion3
RELI 134Introduction to Religious Ethics H3
RELI 135Technology, the Self, and Ethical Problems3
RELI 138Religious Freedom3
RELI 222Modern Western Religious Thought3
RELI 225Christian Cultures3
RELI 232Shrines and Pilgrimages3
RELI 235Place, Space, and Religion3
RELI 236Religious Things3
RELI 246Supernatural Encounters: Zombies, Vampires, Demons, and the Occult in the Americas H3
RELI 322Theories of Religion3
RELI 323Social Theory and Cultural Diversity3
RELI 325Religion, Magic, and Science3
RELI 338Religion in American Law3
RELI 390Topics in the Study of Religion (based on topic)3
RELI 421Religion and Science3
RELI 425Psychology of Religion H3
RELI 438Religion, Nature, and Environment3
RELI 52219th-Century Critiques of Religion3
RELI 524Ethnographic Approaches to Contemporary Religion3
RELI 525Seminar in Religion and Literature3
RELI 528Rituals and Rhetorics of Religion3
RELI 530Genealogies of Religion3
RELI 534Religious Ethics and Issues in Contemporary Medicine3
RELI 590Topics in the Study of Religion (based on topic)3
RELI 234/SOCI 140Historical Sociology of Christianity3
RELI/SOCI 429Religion and Society3
RELI/WMST 244Gender and Sexuality in Western Christianity H3
RELI/WMST 424Gender Theory and the Study of Religion3
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Religion in the Americas

ANTH/FOLK/RELI 342African-American Religious Experience3
ASIA/RELI 445Asian Religions in America3
JWST/RELI 107Introduction to Modern Judaism3
JWST/RELI 143Judaism in Our Time3
JWST/RELI 243Introduction to American Judaism3
JWST/RELI 444Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary Judaism3
RELI 60First-Year Seminar: Religion and Racism3
RELI 66First-Year Seminar: Buddhism in America: From the Buddha to the Beastie Boys3
RELI 69First-Year Seminar: Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary Judaism3
RELI 72First-Year Seminar: Apocalypse Now? Messianic Movements in America3
RELI 140Religion in America H3
RELI 141African American Religions H3
RELI 142Catholicism in America3
RELI 151Religion in Latin America3
RELI 235Place, Space, and Religion3
RELI 240Religion, Literature, and the Arts in America H3
RELI 241Messianic Movements in American History3
RELI 242New Religious Movements in America3
RELI 245Latina/o Religions in the United States-Mexico Borderlands H3
RELI 246Supernatural Encounters: Zombies, Vampires, Demons, and the Occult in the Americas H3
RELI 248Introduction to American Islam H3
RELI 332The Protestant Tradition3
RELI 338Religion in American Law3
RELI 340Liberal Tradition in American Religion3
RELI 345Black Atlantic Religions H3
RELI 390Topics in the Study of Religion (based on topic)3
RELI 423Ethnicity, Race, and Religion in America3
RELI 441Religion in Early America H3
RELI 442History of Religion in America since 18653
RELI 443Evangelicalism in Contemporary America H3
RELI 446Christian-Jewish Relations throughout the Ages3
RELI 540Mormonism and the American Experience3
RELI 541Evangelicalism from a Global Perspective H3
RELI 542Religion and the Counterculture3
RELI 580African American Islam3
RELI 590Topics in the Study of Religion (based on topic)3
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Introductory and intermediate language courses (RELI 401, RELI 402, RELI 403, RELI 404, RELI 409, RELI 410) are recommended for their usefulness but do not count toward the major in religious studies.

Special Opportunities in Religious Studies

Honors in Religious Studies

Students majoring in religious studies (including double majors) with a grade point average of 3.5 or above in department courses and 3.3 grade point average overall and who will have successfully completed at least one course numbered 400 or above on a topic in religious studies that is related to the proposed thesis may choose to write an honors thesis. Candidates for graduation with honors in religious studies are to be enrolled in RELI 691H in the fall and RELI 692H in the spring semester of their senior year. RELI 691H and RELI 692H count toward the major as courses fulfilling subfield requirements. Students should submit applications for the honors program to the department’s director of undergraduate studies by the end of February during their junior year. Consult the department’s director of undergraduate studies for details.

Study Abroad

Professor Jodi Magness directs archaeological excavations in Israel during the summer. Students are welcome to participate. Other courses through the Study Abroad Office can count towards the major and minor in religious studies as well.

Undergraduate Awards

The department presents two awards at the end of each academic year: the Bernard Boyd Fellowship and the Bernard Boyd Memorial Prize.