Religious Studies

Religious Studies (RELS)

The Religious Studies Department offers courses on the religious dimensions of human life in societies and cultures from a contemporary, global perspective.  Courses on religion and culture are offered as a way to explore various disciplines and their approaches to the study of religion or to engage in a debate around a theme structured to include both religious and non-religious views.  Such courses may examine a theme comparatively in order to show the views of different religious traditions or a theme may be presented in terms of a debate between religious and non-religious understandings.  Courses on the comparative study of religions include surveys of the major religious traditions of the world as well as courses which compare characteristics of religious life across several religious traditions.  Examining religious diversity in Canada and around the world is also part of the study of comparative religions.  By virtue of its character and history, Saint Mary’s University has a special responsibility to teach courses on Christianity.


Electives

Students seeking an elective may take any Religious Studies course at the 1000 or 2000 level.  Students who have completed 30 credit hours of university course work and have completed a minimum of three (3) credit hours at the 1000 level and three (3) credit hours at the 2000 level may register for a 3000 level course in Religious Studies to complete a degree requirement for an elective at the 3000 level. 


Degree Requirements

Religious Studies courses at the 1,000, 2,000 or 3,000 level satisfy a humanities requirement in the Arts Faculty; non-Commerce electives in the Sobey School of Business and the humanities requirements in the Faculty of Science.


A Minor in Religious Studies

 A minor in Religious Studies may be completed by taking twenty-four (24) credit hours in Religious Studies as follows:.

  1. Six (6) credit hours may be at the 1000 level;
  2. Twelve (12) credit hours must be at the 2000 level from the Traditions courses (section III, see courses list below);
  3. Six (6) credit hours must be at the 3000 level from the Traditions (III) or Issues courses (II).
  4. An overall grade point average of 2.00 must be maintained in the twenty-four (24) credit hours.

In a Religious Studies minor students must complete at least twelve (12) of the twenty-four (24) required credit hours at Saint Mary’s.


Major in Religious Studies

Students majoring in Religious Studies must fulfill the following requirements:

The equivalent of thirty-nine (39) credit hours in the Department. Normally, these will be distributed as follows:
  1. Six (6) credit hours at the 1000 level;
  2. Six (6) credit hours at the 2000 level from two different traditions (taken from the Traditions courses (A,B and C)
  3. Nine (9) credit hours at the 2000 level from the Issues courses (II);
  4. Six (6) credit hours at 3000 level from the Traditions courses taken in 2 above.
  5. Three (3) credit hours at the 3000 level from the Issues courses  an
  6. RELS 3351 Field Research;
  7. RELS 4481 Theories and Methods (Please note this course is offered in alternating academic years);
  8. Three (3) credit hours at the 4000 level;
  9. An overall minimum grade point average of 2.00 in the courses counted toward the major.

Honours in Religious Studies

An honours student must complete sixty-three (63) credit hours in Religious Studies courses which include:

  1. All of the requirements for a Religious Studies major [thirty-nine (39) credit hours];
  2. Three (3) credit hours at the 3000 level from the Issues courses
  3. Three (3) credit hours at the 3000 level from the Traditions courses
  4. Three (3) credit hours at the 3000 level from Scriptural Analysis in the Methods courses (IV)
  5. Nine (9) credit hours at the 3000 level or above;
  6. RELS 4000 Honours Thesis Research
  7. RELS 4001 Honours Thesis Writing.
  8. In addition to the sixty-three (63) credit hours in Religious Studies students must complete at least six (6) credit hours in a language chosen from among: Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, French, Spanish and German or another language acceptable to the department;

Admission to an honours program normally requires Department approval no later than when a student has completed sixty (60) credit hours.  In addition to the Faculty of Arts requirements for honours, a minimum grade point average of 3.00 in Religious Studies courses is required for admission to, and continuation in, the honours program.


 

 

Student Counseling

Students completing a minor, a concentration, a major and honours must have their Religious Studies courses approved by the Chairperson on an annual basis. In some instances, majors and honours students will be requested to take prerequisites for Departmental courses. Suggested prerequisites are kept on file in the Department. With renumbered or restructured courses, students are advised that they are not eligible to take a course for credit if they already have a credit for a comparable course, even if that course was taken at a different level.


Notes:

With renumbered or restructured courses, students are advised that they are not eligible to take a course for credit if they already have a credit for a comparable course, even if that course was taken at a different level.

B.A. Concentration Requirement in Religious Studies

Only students in the ninety (90) credit hour B.A. may complete the concentration requirement in Religious Studies.  The requirement may be completed by taking twenty-four (24) credit hours in Religious Studies, which include:.  The credits toward the concentration requirement in Religious Studies must include the following:

  1. Three (3) credit hours may be at the 1000 level
  2. Six (6) credit hours must be at the 2000 level from two different traditions (A, B & C) [section III, see courses list below];
  3. Six (6) credit hours at the 3000 level building from the Traditions courses taken in 2. above.
  4. Six (6) credit hours at the 3000 level from the Issues courses;
  5. Three (3) credit hours at the 4000 level seminars in Religious Studies.6. An overall grade point average of at least 2.00 must be maintained in the twenty-four (24) credit hours in Religious Studies.

I. Introductory Courses:

RELS 1210 Introduction to Religion
RELS 1211 Introduction to Religious Experience
RELS 1220 Introduction to Comparative Religions I
RELS 1221 Introduction to Comparative Religions II
RELS 1251 Religion in Contemporary Culture