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Religious Studies (3 credits)
The primary goal of the Religious Studies requirement is to help students develop a critical appreciation of how religious traditions grapple with recurring existential, moral, and social issues (the “big questions” in life) and recognize that religions are systems of ideas, practices, and institutions that affect social, economic, and political dimensions of cultures.
Religious Studies Learning Outcomes
- Existential and moral questions. Grasp how religious traditions address key existential and moral questions. This outcome can be achieved by focusing on one religious tradition, several traditions, or a theme across several traditions.
- Main constructs. Grasp the meaning and role of such key components of religious traditions as myth, symbol, and ritual; understand the types of texts operating in religious traditions; and appreciate how these components operate in other arenas, including politics, ethnic identity, and foreign policy.
- Interdisciplinary connections. Grasp how a critical understanding of religious traditions in concrete historical, social, and cultural contexts draws upon a number of other disciplines, including philosophy, history, archaeology, psychology, anthropology, sociology, and art history.
- Critical reading and analysis. Develop the ability to contextualize and critically analyze primary religious texts and secondary sources, and the ability to use electronic resources critically.
- Argument and Expression. Develop the ability to set forth clear, well-supported, and persuasive arguments, orally and in writing. Develop the ability to write essays that reflect knowledge of essential facts and a command of analytical and writing skills.
Evidence of Student Learning
Students demonstrate competence in this area through active contributions to class discussions, oral presentations, short writing assignments, examinations, and several formal papers.