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 credit hours to satisfy degree 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 I
SENIOR THESIS II
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
RELIGION AND LITERATURE IN AFRICA
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 Degree Requirements *59
University Graduation Requirements *31
Total Credit Hours120

Footnotes and Additional Information

Course Lists to Satisfy Requirements

Judaism/Christianity/Islam/African-American Religions

Select a minimum of 1 course (3 credit hours) from the Judaism/Christianity/Islam/African-American Religions course options.

Judaism/Christianity/Islam/African-American Religions
RELI 104 / MDEM 103INTRODUCTION TO JEWISH MYSTICISM3
RELI 105 / MDEM 105INTRODUCTION TO MEDIEVAL CHRISTIAN THOUGHT3
RELI 108INTRODUCTION TO JUDAISM3
RELI 112COMPARING CHRISTIANITIES3
RELI 113INTRODUCTION TO CHRISTIANITY IN AFRICA3
RELI 116 / MDEM 116MYSTICISM THROUGHOUT THE AGES3
RELI 124RELIGION AND THE ART OF HAPPINESS3
RELI 126 / HEBR 126INTRODUCTION TO BIBLICAL HEBREW II3
RELI 127INTERMEDIATE BIBLICAL HEBREW III3
RELI 157RELIGION AND HIP HOP CULTURE IN AMERICA3
RELI 158LIBERATION THEOLOGIES3
RELI 203 / HIST 201JUDAISM OF JESUS AND HILLEL3
RELI 213THE PROPHET JEREMIAH: THE BIBLICAL BOOK AND ITS RECEPTION IN JUDAISM AND CHRISTIANITY3
RELI 215 / FILM 215MYSTIC CINEMA: KABBALAH IN FILM3
RELI 217SHI'ISM: ASSASSINS AND AYATULLAH3
RELI 221 / ASIA 221THE LIFE OF THE PROPHET MUHAMMAD3
RELI 223QUR'AN AND COMMENTARY3
RELI 243THE BOOK OF GENESIS3
RELI 270INTRODUCTION TO THE BLACK CHURCH IN THE UNITED STATES3
RELI 271 / MDEM 271MEDIEVAL POPULAR CHRISTIANITY3
RELI 282INTRODUCTION TO CHRISTIANITY3
RELI 294RELIGION IN FICTION AND FILM3
RELI 301NIETZSCHE AND RELIGIOUS THOUGHT3
RELI 304JESUS AND THE GOSPELS3
RELI 343 / HART 347SEMINAR ON LOVE3
RELI 348CHRISTIANITY AND ISLAM IN AFRICA3
RELI 350 / MDEM 350DEMONS, MENTAL ILLNESS AND MEDICINE3
RELI 356MAJOR ISSUES IN CONTEMPORARY ISLAM3
RELI 357WHAT'S RELIGIOUS ABOUT BLACK RELIGION?3
RELI 359RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE IN THE CRUCIBLE OF GLOBALIZATION3
RELI 365PAUL AND THE NEW TESTAMENT3
RELI 369READING WRIGHT: THEISM AND ATHEISM IN THE WRITINGS OF RICHARD WRIGHT3
RELI 381THE MESSIAH3
RELI 382LOST JUDAISMS: THE APOCRYPHAL WRITINGS3
RELI 383THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS3
RELI 384PILGRIMAGE AND CRUSADE3
RELI 385 / HIST 381GOD, TIME AND HISTORY3
RELI 387WESTERN ESOTERICISM: METHOD AND THEORY3
RELI 388THE PSALMS3
RELI 390SEARCH FOR GOD IN THE POSTMODERN WORLD3
RELI 391 / MDEM 391THE REFORMATION & ITS RESULTS3
RELI 395LOSING YOUR RELIGION IN FILM & FICTION & MUSIC3
RELI 406CHRISTIANITY AND LATE ANTIQUITY3
RELI 415SECRET RELIGION3
RELI 416NEW TESTAMENT / CHRISTIAN ORIGINS3
RELI 424RELIGION AND POLITICS IN AFRICA3
RELI 426RELIGION AND LITERATURE IN AFRICA3
RELI 430RELIGION, PSYCHOLOGY & CULTURE3
RELI 440ISLAM'S MYSTICAL AND ESOTERIC TRADITION3
RELI 441 / ASIA 441MAGIC AND POPULAR RELIGION3
RELI 442CLASSICAL AND CONTEMPORARY ARABIC TEXTS3
RELI 449EARLY CHRISTIAN CONTROVERSIES3
RELI 458MYSTICISM: THEORIES AND METHODS3
RELI 472KABBALAH SEMINAR3
RELI 476 / FREN 324 / POLI 324FROM DECOLONIZATION TO GLOBALIZATION3
RELI 481GNOSTICISM SEMINAR3
RELI 488THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS SCHOOLS3
RELI 490AFRICAN AMERICAN LITERATURE AND RELIGION3

Indigenous African Religions/American Religions/Buddhism/Hinduism 

Select a minimum of 1 course (3 credit hours) from the Indigenous African Religions/American Religions/Buddhism/Hinduism course options.

Indigenous African Religions/American Religions/Buddhism/Hinduism
RELI 111INTRODUCTION TO AFRICAN RELIGIONS3
RELI 113INTRODUCTION TO CHRISTIANITY IN AFRICA3
RELI 157RELIGION AND HIP HOP CULTURE IN AMERICA3
RELI 230 / ASIA 230ASIAN RELIGIONS IN AMERICA3
RELI 231 / ASIA 231AMERICAN METAPHYSICAL RELIGION3
RELI 232 / ASIA 232RELIGIONS FROM INDIA3
RELI 233 / TIBT 233INTRODUCTION TO TIBETAN LANGUAGE, LITERATURE AND CULTURE3
RELI 234 / TIBT 234INTERMEDIATE TIBETAN LANGUAGE, LITERATURE AND CULTURE3
RELI 270INTRODUCTION TO THE BLACK CHURCH IN THE UNITED STATES3
RELI 311RELIGION AND HIP HOP CULTURE IN AMERICA3
RELI 322 / ASIA 322INTRODUCTION TO BUDDHISM3
RELI 332 / TIBT 332ADVANCED TIBETAN LANGUAGE & CULTURE3
RELI 333KNOWING BODY/GLOWING MIND: BUDDHIST ARTS OF CONTEMPLATION AND ANALYSIS3
RELI 337SHAMANS, SAINTS, & SAGES3
RELI 340THEOLOGY IN AFRICA3
RELI 342 / ANTH 343NEW RELIGIOUS MOVEMENTS IN AFRICA3
RELI 357WHAT'S RELIGIOUS ABOUT BLACK RELIGION?3
RELI 359RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE IN THE CRUCIBLE OF GLOBALIZATION3
RELI 369READING WRIGHT: THEISM AND ATHEISM IN THE WRITINGS OF RICHARD WRIGHT3
RELI 378MIND AND ART, FILM AND LITERATURE IN BUDDHISM3
RELI 393MUTANTS AND MYSTICS: RACE, SEXUALITY, AND THE FUTURE OF THE HUMANITIES3
RELI 417GNOSTIC AMERICA3
RELI 423 / ANTH 423AFRICAN MYTHS AND RITUALS3
RELI 424RELIGION AND POLITICS IN AFRICA3
RELI 426RELIGION AND LITERATURE IN AFRICA3
RELI 433TIBETAN LANGUAGE AND CULTURE3
RELI 458MYSTICISM: THEORIES AND METHODS3
RELI 470BUDDHIST WISDOM TEXTS3

Policies for the BA Degree with a Major in Religion 

Program Restrictions and Exclusions

Students pursuing the major in Religion should be aware of the following program restriction:

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

The determination of distribution credit eligibility is done initially as part of the new course creation process. Additionally, as part of an annual roll call coordinated each Spring by the Office of the Registrar, course distribution credit eligibility is routinely reviewed and reaffirmed by the Dean’s Offices of each of the academic schools.  

Faculty and leadership in the academic schools are responsible for ensuring that the courses identified as distribution-credit-eligible meet the criteria as set in the General Announcements. Students are responsible for ensuring that they meet graduation requirements by completing coursework designated as distribution-credit-eligible at the time of course registration. 

Distribution courses from Religion (RELI) are broad-based, accessible to non-majors, and provide a foundation that enables students to integrate knowledge from multiple perspectives.

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.

The Saba Prize is the most prestigious award bestowed by the Department of Religion. It carries with it a substantial financial gift, and designates the student(s) who has demonstrated the highest form of academic excellence and contribution to the department over a four-year period.

Departmental Honors Program

Qualified undergraduates may choose to submit their Senior Project 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 year long Senior Thesis, the student elects RELI 403 (fall semester) and RELI 404 (spring semester) with their agreed-upon advisor. Students must have a minimum 3.20 GPA in Religion courses prior to enrolling in RELI 403 and RELI 404, a Religion faculty advisor, and the permission of the Director of Undergraduate Studies. 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.