The religious studies major aims to help individuals clarify their religious convictions and life goals, think critically about themselves and the world in which they live, and develop a range of cognitive skills that can be transferred to a variety of important life situations
Religious Studies, B.A.
Take the next step toward completing your Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies degree at Lenoir-Rhyne University.Get Started
Take the next step toward completing your Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies degree at Lenoir-Rhyne University.
This 36-hour discipline explores ideas and texts that have profoundly shaped human history and identity. It is an academic field of multi-disciplinary, non-confessional study of religious beliefs, behaviors and institutions. Through coursework and in-depth discussion, you explore, compare, interpret and explain religion, emphasizing systematic, historically based and cross-cultural perspectives.
- Youth and Family Ministry
This discipline 39-hour program shares similar coursework, but further focuses on providing practical training and hands-on experience working in religious organizations as well as social service agencies and other community-focused and non-profit organizations throughout the region. This program blends a rich attention to the academic components of religious study with applied study and experiences.
When I took Religion 100 with Dr. Schwiebert, he pushed my thinking, and I started to consider seminary. Between studying sacred music and religion at LR, I was well prepared for seminary.
Learning Outside of the Classroom
Religious Studies students benefit from a variety of opportunities outside of the classroom, which offer the experience and training employers seek. A wealth of service opportunities exist on- and off-campus, from chapel and student-led organizations to internships and conferences.
Internships and mentor opportunities help you gain valuable experience, working alongside professionals in non-profit, social services or religious based organizations. There are a number of student organizations at LR which provide spiritual support and service opportunities such as Lutheran Student Movement, InterVarsity and the Newman Club.
You can also take advantage of many programs offered through LR's Institute for Faith and Learning. Aimed to inspire and enlighten people of all faith traditions, the institute features speakers and hosts events aimed at addressing issues facing the world today through a theological lens.
Success in religious studies or youth and family ministry opens doors to a full range of graduate programs or a variety of career opportunities. Studying religion gives you a unique set of skills in critical thinking, understanding other cultures and observation. These skills are often highly sought after by employers.
Religion graduates know how to synthesize ideas, how to explain ideas to others, how to persuade others to their point of view, and how to understand the people who make any business work.
You learn all types of skills that are transferable and marketable: reading and analysis, speaking and writing, picking up ideas quickly, critical thinking, pedagogy, pattern-finding, drawing conclusions from evidence, persuasion, among others.
As a religion student, you are encouraged to think about why you are on earth, about where you are going, about what some of the greatest and most creative thinkers in the past have said about the meaning of human existence and about what is most worth doing in life.
These skills and dispositions translate generally to a wide range of professional opportunities. More specifically, religion majors are prepared for graduate school and/or for career opportunities in the ministry, social activism and advocacy, governmental or non-profit agencies, Christian education, counseling and human services, and in higher education.
Undergraduate programs of study are available in Religious Studies and Youth and Family Ministry. Courses completed in either program are designed to help individuals clarify their religious convictions and life goals, as well as to provide preparation for persons who anticipate further study. Both majors earns a B.A. degree.
Students majoring in Religious Studies or Youth and Family Ministry and who are judged qualified by the Religion faculty may, upon invitation, elect to pursue honors work in Religion. To graduate ''With Honors,'' students must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, a minimum major GPA of 3.2, and complete nine credits of honors courses in Religion, including REL 499. In addition, they must be nominated for honors by the Religion faculty.
- Students who major in two areas offered by the Religious Studies and Philosophy programs may count only six credits from courses used to fulfill the requirements of the first major to fulfill the total credit requirement of the second major.
- A similar limitation applies to the student who elects both a major and minor offered by Religion and Philosophy programs, except that in such instances only three credits of duplicate course credit may be applied.
Core Curriculum Requirements (55-62 Hours)
NOTE: Religion Majors may not use REL courses to meet the Level I HUM Requirement
Technical Requirements (3 Hours)
- PHI elective Hours: 3
Major Requirements (33 Hours)
- REL 105 - Reading Scripture
- REL 110 - Christian Thought
- REL 120G - World Religions
- REL 205 - New Testament and Early Christian Literature
- REL 215 - Engaging Religion and Culture
- REL 220G - Theologies of Liberation
- REL 460 - Senior Religious Studies Seminar
Choose six hours from the following Seminar courses:
- REL 325 - Seminar in Reading Scripture
- REL 326 - Seminar in Religious Thought and History
- REL 327 - Seminar in Contemporary Religion and Culture
Choose six hours from the following Major electives (three of which must be with a REL prefix):
- REL 125 - Foundations in Religious Development
- REL 126 - Methods in Religious Development
- REL 140 - Introduction to Nonviolence: Theory & Practice
- REL 210 - History of Christianity
- REL 375 - Religion & Science
- REL 383 - Special Topics in Religious Studies
- PHI 318 - Philosophy of Religion
- SOC 307 - Sociology of Religion
Total Credit Hours (Minimum) 128
On occasion, technical and/or program requirements may also meet specific core curriculum requirements. Please confer with your program advisor to determine which courses, if any, may be counted accordingly.
All Bachelors programs at Lenoir-Rhyne require at least 128 credit hours. If, in combination, core, technical, and program requirements do not generate at least 128 hours, additional credits must be completed to achieve 128 hours. These classes may be general electives, or a student may complete a minor or additional major.
Additional recommendations: It is advised that students who wish to do graduate study take twelve hours of Greek and six hours of history in addition to the major.
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