Bachelor of Arts (BA) Degree with a Major in Religion

Program Learning Outcomes for the BA Degree with a Major in Religion

Upon completing the BA degree with a major in Religion, students will be able to:

  1. Develop and apply critical toolkit to the study of religion and religious traditions including (inter)disciplinary methodologies and theories at a proficient level. 
    (Critical Skills for the Study of Religion: Theory, Method, and (Inter)Disciplinarity)
  2. Understand and interpret religious traditions by examining religion(s) as historical, social, and cultural phenomena. When appropriate, attention is given to the impact of globalism, immigration, colonialism, and other forms of transnational and multi-cultural (non)religious exchange at a proficient level. 
    (Historical, Social, (Multi-)Cultural Dimensions of Religion)
  3. Understand and interpret the subjective dimensions of religion(s) through analyses that explore the psychological, philosophical, and cognitive dynamics of religion and religious experience at a proficient level. 
    (Psychological, Philosophical, and Cognitive Dimensions of Religion)
  4. Understand and interpret religious traditions by examining the plurality of religious voices and expressions, including currents that have been marginalized, neglected, repressed, and censored in a variety of sociological, psychological, philosophical, and political ways at a proficient level. 
    (Religious Plurality and Marginal Currents)
  5. Develop the ability to read religious texts in their original languages and perform translations of texts when appropriate to the student's course of study at a proficient level. 
    (Foreign Language Skills)

Requirements for the BA Degree with a Major in Religion

For general university requirements, see Graduation Requirements. Students pursuing the BA degree with a major in Religion must complete:

  • A minimum of 10 courses (30 credit hours) to satisfy major requirements.
  • A minimum of 120 courses to satisfy degree requirements.
  • A minimum of 60 credit hours outside of major requirements. 
  • A minimum of 6 courses (18 credit hours) taken at the 300-level or above.
  • A maximum of 2 courses (6 credit hours) from study abroad or transfer credit. For additional departmental guidelines regarding transfer credit, see the Policies tab. 

The courses listed below satisfy the requirements for this major. In certain instances, courses not on this official list may be substituted upon approval of the major’s academic advisor, or where applicable, the department's Director of Undergraduate Studies. (Course substitutions must be formally applied and entered into Degree Works by the major's Official Certifier.) Students and their academic advisors should identify and clearly document the courses to be taken.

Summary 

Total Credit Hours Required for the Major in Religion30
Total Credit Hours Required for the BA Degree with a Major in Religion120

Degree Requirements 

Core Requirements
Core Course
RELI 101INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY OF RELIGION3
Religious Traditions
Select 1 course from Judaism/Christianity/Islam/African-American Religions (see course list below)3
Select 1 course from Indigenous African Religions/American Religions/Buddhism/Hinduism (see course list below)3
Elective Requirements
Select 6 elective courses from departmental (RELI) course offerings: 118
Senior Project
Select 1 course from the following: 23
SENIOR THESIS
INDEPENDENT STUDY
INDEPENDENT STUDY
CHRISTIANITY AND LATE ANTIQUITY
ARCHIVES OF THE IMPOSSIBLE
SECRET RELIGION
NEW TESTAMENT / CHRISTIAN ORIGINS
GNOSTIC AMERICA
FOUCAULT & THE HERMENEUTICS OF SELF
RELIGION AND POLITICS IN AFRICA
HISTORY AND METHODS: NINETEETH CENTURY
HISTORY AND METHODS: TWENTIETH CENTURY
RELIGION, PSYCHOLOGY & CULTURE
RELIGION AND COGNITIVE SCIENCE
TIBETAN LANGUAGE AND CULTURE
ISLAM'S MYSTICAL AND ESOTERIC TRADITION
MAGIC AND POPULAR RELIGION
VISIONS AND VISONARY PRACTICES: MEDIEVAL TO MODERN
EARLY CHRISTIAN CONTROVERSIES
MYSTICISM: THEORIES AND METHODS
BUDDHIST WISDOM TEXTS
KABBALAH SEMINAR
FROM DECOLONIZATION TO GLOBALIZATION
GNOSTICISM SEMINAR
THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS SCHOOLS
AFRICAN AMERICAN LITERATURE AND RELIGION
Total Credit Hours Required for the Major in Religion30
Additional Credit Hours to Complete BA Degree Requirements30
University Graduation Requirements *60
Total Credit Hours120

Footnotes and Additional Information

Course Lists to Satisfy Requirements

Judaism/Christianity/Islam/African-American Religions

Select 1 course from the following:3
INTRODUCTION TO JEWISH MYSTICISM
INTRODUCTION TO MEDIEVAL CHRISTIAN THOUGHT
INTRODUCTION TO JUDAISM
COMPARING CHRISTIANITIES
INTRODUCTION TO CHRISTIANITY IN AFRICA
MYSTICISM THROUGHOUT THE AGES
RELIGION AND THE ART OF HAPPINESS
INTRODUCTION TO BIBLICAL HEBREW II
INTERMEDIATE BIBLICAL HEBREW III
RELIGION AND HIP HOP CULTURE IN AMERICA
LIBERATION THEOLOGIES
JUDAISM OF JESUS AND HILLEL
THE PROPHET JEREMIAH: THE BIBLICAL BOOK AND ITS RECEPTION IN JUDAISM AND CHRISTIANITY
MYSTIC CINEMA: KABBALAH IN FILM
SHI'ISM: ASSASSINS AND AYATULLAH
THE LIFE OF THE PROPHET MUHAMMAD
QUR'AN AND COMMENTARY
THE BOOK OF GENESIS
INTRODUCTION TO THE BLACK CHURCH IN THE UNITED STATES
MEDIEVAL POPULAR CHRISTIANITY
INTRODUCTION TO CHRISTIANITY
RELIGION IN FICTION AND FILM
NIETZSCHE AND RELIGIOUS THOUGHT
JESUS AND THE GOSPELS
SEMINAR ON LOVE
CHRISTIANITY AND ISLAM IN AFRICA
DEMONS, MENTAL ILLNESS AND MEDICINE
MAJOR ISSUES IN CONTEMPORARY ISLAM
WHAT'S RELIGIOUS ABOUT BLACK RELIGION?
RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE IN THE CRUCIBLE OF GLOBALIZATION
PAUL AND THE NEW TESTAMENT
READING WRIGHT: THEISM AND ATHEISM IN THE WRITINGS OF RICHARD WRIGHT
THE MESSIAH
LOST JUDAISMS: THE APOCRYPHAL WRITINGS
THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS
PILGRIMAGE AND CRUSADE
GOD, TIME AND HISTORY
WESTERN ESOTERICISM: METHOD AND THEORY
THE PSALMS AND THEIR POETIC AFTERLIFE
SEARCH FOR GOD IN THE POSTMODERN WORLD
THE REFORMATION & ITS RESULTS
LOSING YOUR RELIGION IN FILM & FICTION & MUSIC
CHRISTIANITY AND LATE ANTIQUITY
SECRET RELIGION
NEW TESTAMENT / CHRISTIAN ORIGINS
RELIGION AND POLITICS IN AFRICA
RELIGION AND LITERATURE IN AFRICA
HISTORY AND METHODS: NINETEETH CENTURY
HISTORY AND METHODS: TWENTIETH CENTURY
RELIGION, PSYCHOLOGY & CULTURE
ISLAM'S MYSTICAL AND ESOTERIC TRADITION
MAGIC AND POPULAR RELIGION
CLASSICAL AND CONTEMPORARY ARABIC TEXTS
EARLY CHRISTIAN CONTROVERSIES
MYSTICISM: THEORIES AND METHODS
KABBALAH SEMINAR
FROM DECOLONIZATION TO GLOBALIZATION
GNOSTICISM SEMINAR
THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS SCHOOLS
AFRICAN AMERICAN LITERATURE AND RELIGION

Indigenous African Religions/American Religions/Buddhism/Hinduism 

Select 1 course from the following:3
INTRODUCTION TO AFRICAN RELIGIONS
INTRODUCTION TO CHRISTIANITY IN AFRICA
RELIGION AND HIP HOP CULTURE IN AMERICA
ASIAN RELIGIONS IN AMERICA
AMERICAN METAPHYSICAL RELIGION
RELIGIONS FROM INDIA
TIBETAN LANGUAGE, LITERATURE AND CULTURE I
TIBETAN LANGUAGE, LITERATURE AND CULTURE II
INTRODUCTION TO THE BLACK CHURCH IN THE UNITED STATES
RELIGION AND HIP HOP CULTURE IN AMERICA
INTRODUCTION TO BUDDHISM
ADVANCED TIBETAN LANGUAGE & CULTURE
KNOWING BODY/GLOWING MIND: BUDDHIST ARTS OF CONTEMPLATION AND ANALYSIS
SHAMANS, SAINTS, & SAGES
THEOLOGY IN AFRICA
NEW RELIGIOUS MOVEMENTS IN AFRICA
WHAT'S RELIGIOUS ABOUT BLACK RELIGION?
RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE IN THE CRUCIBLE OF GLOBALIZATION
READING WRIGHT: THEISM AND ATHEISM IN THE WRITINGS OF RICHARD WRIGHT
MIND AND ART, FILM AND LITERATURE IN BUDDHISM
MUTANTS AND MYSTICS: THE PARANORMAL AND POPULAR CULTURE
GNOSTIC AMERICA
AFRICAN MYTHS AND RITUALS
RELIGION AND POLITICS IN AFRICA
RELIGION AND LITERATURE IN AFRICA
TIBETAN LANGUAGE AND CULTURE
MYSTICISM: THEORIES AND METHODS
BUDDHIST WISDOM TEXTS

Policies for the BA Degree with a Major in Religion 

Transfer Credit 

For Rice University’s policy regarding transfer credit, see Transfer Credit. Some departments and programs have additional restrictions on transfer credit. The Office of Academic Advising maintains the university’s official list of transfer credit advisors on their website: https://oaa.rice.edu. Students are encouraged to meet with their academic program’s transfer credit advisor when considering transfer credit possibilities. 

Departmental Transfer Credit Guidelines

Students pursuing the major in Religion should be aware of the following departmental transfer credit guidelines:

  • No more than 2 courses (6 credit hours) of transfer credit from U.S. or international universities of similar standing as Rice may apply towards the major. 
  • Requests for transfer credit will be considered by the departmental Director of Undergraduate Studies (and/or the program’s official transfer credit advisor) on an individual case-by-case basis. 

Distribution Credit Information

In the Department of Religion, courses are designated DI that are broad-based, accessible to non-major, and provide a foundation that enables students to integrate knowledge from multiple perspectives. Courses that are excluded from DI include language courses, RELI 238 (Special Topics), 400-level courses, and independent study courses. DI designations are reserved for 100-, 200-, and 300-level courses. DI designations are discouraged for any undergraduate course that has a graduate equivalent course. If an undergraduate course has a graduate equivalent course, it may still be designated DI, but only if the courses are taught separately, or if the courses meet jointly, they must be differentiated sufficiently between the undergraduate and graduate populations in terms of delivery of content, requirements, and evaluation, so that the undergraduate course remains broad-based and accessible to non-majors, while the graduate course is delivered at a level expected of graduate education. Faculty have discretion to apply for DI designation within these parameters.

Additional Information 

For additional information, please see the Religion website: https://reli.rice.edu/

Opportunities for the BA Degree with a Major in Religion  

Academic Honors

The university recognizes academic excellence achieved over an undergraduate’s academic history at Rice. For information on university honors, please see Latin Honors (summa cum laude, magna cum laude, and cum laude) and Distinction in Research and Creative Work. Some departments have department-specific Honors awards or designations.

Departmental Honors Program

Qualified undergraduates may choose the option of writing a senior thesis and submitting it to the department for consideration to receive Distinction in Research and Creative Works. For details about the submission process and this honors award, visit the department's website. To complete the thesis, the student elects RELI 400, Senior Thesis. Students must have a minimum 3.20 GPA in Religion courses prior to enrolling in RELI 400, a Religion faculty supervisor, and the permission of the Undergraduate Director. Further details are available upon consultation with the department's Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Additional Information 

For additional information, please see the Religion website: https://reli.rice.edu/

See https://humanities.rice.edu/student-life for tables of fellowships, prizes, and internships/practica that may be relevant to this major.