UWM Undergraduate Catalog 2017-2018

College of Letters and Science

Religious Studies

Judith Beall, Adjunct Asst. Prof., Acting Director

The interdisciplinary major in religious studies draws on the resources of UWM faculty members with a teaching and research interest in religion. This program provides students with a broad humanistic background in religion and an opportunity to develop special concentrations in specific areas of interest. There is no sectarian program of instruction. Rather, faculty members bring to their teaching the special academic characteristics of their own scholarly disciplines, and majors in the program draw upon a wide sample of those academic traditions. Thus, such subjects as the history and philosophy of religion and religion in art and literature are included in this program. Students choose from courses that consider religion in a wide array of cultural and historical contexts around the globe, including Buddhist, Christian, Classical Greek and Roman, Hindu, Islamic, Jewish, African, and American Indian religions.

Religious studies serves students seeking a broadly humanistic program, those who are pursuing a wide range of pre-professional education programs, those anticipating teaching careers at the secondary or higher educational level, and those who will undertake further study for the religious ministry.

Course of Study: Major

The religious studies major requires completion of at least 33 credits, including at least 18 in upper-division courses (numbered 300 and above) of which at least 15 must be taken in residence at UWM. In satisfying these requirements, students must select courses from at least three different curricular areas. The College requires that students attain at least a 2.500 GPA on all major credits attempted at UWM. In addition, students must attain a 2.500 GPA on all major credits attempted, including any transfer work. The required 33 credits must be distributed as follows:

I. CORE COURSES: (6-9 cr)

A.  Recommended: ReligSt 101 Introduction to World Religions

B.  Required Methods Course: One of the following courses (or equivalent) is required:

  1. ReligSt 395 Seminar in the Study of Religion: Theories of Religion
  2. Hist 594 Methods and Theory in the Historical Study of Religion: (subtitle)

C. Required Capstone Experience. All students must complete a research experience in their major. This requirement may be met by any one of the following options:

  1. Hist 600 Seminar in History: (subtitle), with research conducted on a religion-related topic;
  2. For students with additional major(s), upper-level research seminar in the additional major that focuses on a religion-related topic;
  3. A 3-credit independent study on a religion-related topic;
  4. Senior thesis in another program/department on a religion-related topic;
  5. Research paper focused on a religion-related topic as approved by the director.
In all cases, the religious studies director must approve the topic to satisfy the research requirement. Majors are required to file the appropriate research/capstone approval form prior to completion of their research/capstone course.


A. All majors are required to complete at least 27 additional credits beyond the core courses. Nine elective credits must be distributed among three different religious traditions.* Twelve of these 27 credits must be numbered 300 or above. The list of approved electives is posted on the program’s website: uwm.edu/religiousstudies/undergraduate-programs

B. Relevant language courses above the second semester will be counted as electives toward the Religious Studies major. Relevant languages depend on the student’s primary concentrations in religious studies but potentially include Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Greek, Latin, Hebrew, German, Spanish, French, Italian, or other languages with approval of the director. Majors must file the appropriate forms with the director to receive approval for language courses.

* A religious tradition course must focus primarily [more than 50%] on one specific religion.

Religious Studies majors have the option of focusing their programs of studies on one or more religious traditions. To discuss this option, please contact the Program director.

Course of Study: Minor

The minor requires 18 credits in approved Religious Studies courses, including at least 9 upper-division (numbered 300 and above) credits taken in residence at UWM. Students must complete coursework from at least two different curricular areas. In addition, the minor must include courses dealing with two different religious traditions. (ReligSt 101 may not be used in fulfilling this requirement.) The College requires that students earn at least a 2.500 GPA on all UWM courses attempted for the minor. A 2.500 GPA also is required on all minor credits attempted, including any transfer work.

Double Major

It often is possible to complete a double major in Religious Studies and another subject. This is the case particularly when a student already has undertaken the major in the other field but has credits in religion courses as well. The student often can take courses that count for both Religious Studies and the other major.



Religious Studies (RELIGST)


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Religious Studies
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