Philosophy Department

Religious Studies


Religious Studies Minor

The academic study of religion at MTSU is part of the human sciences and contributes to the wider study of global cultures and international affairs, as well as personal and collective identities. A descriptive, interpretive, comparative and historical field, its coursework prepares students to become well-informed, independent, and creative thinkers equipped with the methods and theories necessary to study religious phenomena in a systematic way, to synthesize findings, and to analyze critically what one finds. As such, a minor in Religious Studies provides students with an invaluable foundation for a wide range of careers in which reading, writing, understanding, and analysis are essential.

The minor in religious studies consists of 15 semester hours in religious studies. PHIL 3200, PHIL 3300, and ANTH 4750 may be counted in the 15 hours.

How to declare a religious studies minor:


Religious Studies Classes


Current Religious Studies Course Offerings:

RS 2030: Religion and Society. Three credits. An introduction to the academic study of world religions, with an emphasis on the ways religion both influences and is influenced by society and human behavior.

RS 3010: The Bible: Its Origin and Content. Three credits. Studies the historical development of biblical and extra-biblical texts with an emphasis on cultivating the skills of critical textual analysis, an understanding of reception history and, the emergence of diverse canons and interpretive approaches across different communities, both Jewish and Christian.

RS 3020: Comparative Religion. Three credits. The meaning of religion in life, both ancient and modern. The impact of intellectual and emotional commitment upon conduct is emphasized through a study of world religions.

RS 3030: Mapping Religious Diversity. Three credits. Exploration of religious diversity in North America with a focus on local case studies. Students will conduct original, ethnographic research examining religious sites in Murfreesboro.

RS 3040: The History of Christianity. Three credits. A socio-historical survey of Christian thought and practice from the patristic period to the contemporary era. Discusses major events, texts and figures in Christian history. Includes the study of theological concepts, interpretations of scripture, Christianity and politics, gender and sexuality, and disputes over orthodoxy. 

RS 3600: Religion and Film. Three credits. Examination of the cinematic expression of religious traditions and development of religious issues in cinema.

RS 4010: Global Christianity. Three credits. Examination of global Christianities focusing on how narratives of the global correspond to and feed into localized religious practices within Christianity in a variety of regional and specific contexts.

RS 4020: Jesus of Nazareth. Three credits. The life of Jesus presented against the historical, religious, geographical, and archaeological background of the world of the first century A.D. and in light of recent discussions, movements, and books.

RS 4030: Indigenous Religions. Three credits. Examines and analyzes contemporary issues in the religious lives of Native American, First Nations, Aboriginal, and other indigenous groups from a religious studies perspective.

RS 4050: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Three credits. This course explores historical and socio-cultural developments within Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, their relation to other religions, and interactions with broader cultural forces.

RS 4120: Cults and New Religious Movements. Three credits. Investigates how new religious movements emerge, develop, and interact with American society and surveys "cult controversies" in the United States, asking why some new religious movements gain cultural legitimacy while others do not. 

RS 4130: Religion and Law. Three credits. Explores the complex and contested relationship between religion and the law by examining how debates over the proper relationship of religion and government as well as the limits of religious freedom have developed and changed over time.

RS 4700: Special Topics in Religious Studies. Three credits. An in-depth study of a specific topic in Religious Studies. Content will vary from semester to semester and will reflect the research interests and expertise of the instructor. This course may be taken more than once, as topics change.

RS 4800: Readings in Religious Studies. Three credits. Directed study concerning a particular problem or thinker within religious studies.


Courses Currently in Development

Women and Religion. Three credits. This course examines changing conceptions of women's roles in various religious traditions, with particular attention to the ways in which religious beliefs and practices have influenced and are influenced by feminism and struggles for gender equality both within and outside religious institutions.