About the Department
The UNCG Religious Studies Department provides a solid foundation in Religious Studies as a core discipline in the Liberal Arts for all College and University students in support of the General Education Curriculum. The Department also delivers rigorous training for majors, second majors, and minors in Religious Studies that enables students to advance to graduate study in the field, and in cognate fields, or to positions in primary and secondary education. At present, the Department has about 65 majors, including double majors and concentrators in primary education in the School of Education.
The Department vigorously supports key interdisciplinary, University, and College programs including Honors, Freshman Seminars, Communication Across the Curriculum, Residential College, Women’s and Gender Studies, African-American Studies, and International Studies. The Department provides exemplary learning environments and seeks to cultivate in its students the ability to analyze data critically, to express ideas clearly and effectively in speech and in writing, and to develop attitudes of tolerance, inquiry, and understanding in the best tradition of the Liberal Arts.
The Department teaches courses on such traditions as Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Shinto, and Taoism. Historical Studies include courses about religions in African, Asian, Middle Eastern, European, and American (especially United States) history. Cultural and theoretical studies include courses on religious philosophies, religious ethics, and theologies; courses exploring political, social, and psychological accounts of religious life; and courses investigating the role religion plays in politics, economics, social movements, arts, sciences, and diverse forms of personal conduct.
Learning Goals for the Religious Studies Major
On completion of the major students will:
- have knowledge and understanding of at least two major religious traditions and be able to relate those traditions to their historical and cultural contexts.
- have detailed familiarity with major theoretical issues in the study of religion and be able to articulate how theory shapes the study of religion.
- have an ability to critically analyze data and apply major theories of religion to specific traditions, rituals, and social movements.
- have a working knowledge of the history of the study of religion.
- have a solid foundation for participating in Religious Studies as a discipline in the liberal arts.
- have proficiency in written, oral, and visual communication and have an ability to transmit knowledge through current technological means.
- have an ability to conduct research individually and collaboratively.
- have an ability to manage and organize activities to achieve designated outcomes.
- have an ability to take their knowledge base and apply it to novel situations and settings.
With regard to the goals of clear analysis, writing, and speaking, department courses focus strongly on the close reading and analysis of texts and the understanding of the social, political, and religious contexts of those texts. Our classes involve substantial written and spoken participation and virtually all upper-division courses are writing intensive. The department also plans to offer a number of speaking intensive courses as well.