• Religion and Society class visits various faith centers
  • Explore religions in historical and comparative contexts
  • MTSU major looks at global religious traditions
  • Religious Studies degree is only one offered at region’s public universities

Religious Studies, B.A./B.S.

MTSU’s new Religious Studies major is the first for a public university in middle Tennessee. The academic study of religion contributes to the wider study of global cultures and international affairs, as well as personal and collective identities. Coursework in Religious Studies prepares students for occupations in a variety of fields, including education, research, religious ministry, counseling, human resources, and marketing. In addition to developing critical thinking skills, religious literacy helps prepare students to succeed in an increasingly diverse and multicultural society and workforce, from jobs as wide-ranging as international business leader to elementary school teacher. MTSU classes include such activities as experiential learning, fieldwork and ethnographic projects, scholarly research, production of short documentary films, independent foreign study, and language training.

Local religious leader receives EXL Award

Local religious leader receives EXL Award

Dr. Ossama Bahloul, of the Islamic Center of Nashville, won MTSU’s EXL Award for Outstanding Community Participant for his partnership with the Religious Studies program. Bahloul, imam of the Murfreesboro Islamic Center during 2008–16, has generously hosted students to observe Friday prayers at the Islamic Center every semester since the Fall 2014 inception of the Experiential Learning course RS 2030: Religion and Society. He also has graciously met with students and answered their numerous questions concerning the practice of Islam, the experiences of the Muslim community in Murfreesboro, and the role of Islam in global current events. Students, often with limited exposure to traditions outside of their own religious communities, report this opportunity as a highlight of their academic year.

Lily Endowment awards grant to MTSU faculty

Lily Endowment awards grant to MTSU faculty

Program coordinators Dr. Jenna Gray-Hildenbrand and Dr. Rebekka King were awarded a $30,000 collaborative grant (with University of North Florida and Clemson University) from the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion. This curriculum development grant, for new religious studies programs at Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ Commission on Colleges member institutions, funds curriculum workshops and initiatives. As part of the grant, a religious studies consultant is working with MTSU faculty on learning outcomes, assessment, and measures. MTSU’s Religious Studies faculty also consulted with programs and centers for the study of religion across the U.S. and internationally to develop learning outcomes which emphasize critical thinking and religious literacy.

A Religious Studies major provides students with an invaluable foundation for a wide range of careers in which reading, writing, understanding, and analysis are essential. A bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies also prepares students exceptionally well for graduate programs, according to a 2015 report from the American Academy of Religion. Over 75% of Religious Studies graduates surveyed nationwide had pursued graduate work in fields such as religion and theology, psychology, law, history, philosophy, anthropology, and sociology. The survey also found majors were primarily employed in these areas:

  • Religious organizations (20.3%)
  • College faculty and administration (13.3%)
  • K–12 education (9.6%)
  • Nonprofit or community organizations (8.7%)
  • Business and finance (8.0%)
  • Law (5.9%)
  • Medicine and nursing (5.2%)
  • Counseling and mental health (4.4%)
  • Information systems and technology (4.4%)
  • Government and public administration (3.8%) 

Employers of MTSU alumni include

Because this degree program is new, employer information is still being compiled.

Students majoring in Religious Studies at MTSU have the option of pursuing the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree, which requires proficiency in a foreign language, or the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree. 

As a descriptive, interpretive, comparative and historical field, Religious Studies coursework helps prepare 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.

The Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies also offers a B.A. and B.S. in Philosophy, while minors are available in Philosophy and Religious Studies. Additionally, the department contributes to 17 academic minors.

For complete curriculum details, click on the REQUIREMENTS tab above.

B.S. in Religious Studies B.A. in Religious Studies


Religious Studies, B.S.

Philosophy and Religious Studies 
615-898-2907
Jenna Gray-Hildenbrand, program coordinator
Jenna.Gray-Hildenbrand@mtsu.edu

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 major in Religious Studies provides students with an invaluable foundation for a wide range of careers in which reading, writing, understanding, and analysis are essential. Coursework in Religious Studies offers preparation for occupations in a variety of fields, including education, research, religious ministry, counseling, human resources, and marketing. In addition to developing critical thinking skills, religious literacy helps prepare students to succeed in an increasingly diverse and multicultural society and workforce, from jobs as wide-ranging as international business leader to elementary school teacher.

Academic Map

Following is a printable, suggested four-year schedule of courses:

Religious Studies, B.S., Academic Map 

Degree Requirements

General Education (41 hours)

General Education requirements include Communication, History, Humanities and/or Fine Arts, Mathematics, Natural Sciences, and Social/Behavioral Science categories.

Major Requirements (30 hours)

  • RS 2030 - Religion and Society

    3 credit hours

    Introduces the academic study of world religions with an emphasis on the ways religion both influences and is influenced by society and human behavior.

  • RS 3020 - Comparative Religion

    3 credit hours

    Employs central categories and concepts from the academic study of religion to analyze case studies from Western, Eastern, and Indigenous religions.

  • RS 4900 - Seminar in Religious Studies

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: At least 12 Religious Studies credit hours and junior or senior standing or permission of instructor. Capstone seminar for Religious Studies majors and minors. Students reflect on previous religious studies coursework in the context of their college education, analyze and critique substantial theoretical contributions to the discipline of religious studies, and complete a final product that "caps" their study of religion at MTSU.

  • Guided Religious Studies electives 12 credit hours

Description: Terms and Concepts (3 hours)

Select one

  • RS 3050 - Rites of Passage  3 credit hours  

    RS 3050 - Rites of Passage

    3 credit hours

    The study of religious rituals and ceremonies that mark specific points in time, namely those in which individuals experience transition (births, weddings, funerals, and initiations). Explores how rites of passage and religious identities around the world are constructed and serve as sites of both conflict and resolution in a variety of religious traditions and cultural contexts.

  • RS 3060 - Pilgrimage and Sacred Journeys

    3 credit hours

    A cross-cultural and comparative examination of the dynamics of religious journeys with the goal of gaining a thorough understanding of the phenomenon of pilgrimage in all its complexity. Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, and indigenous traditions regularly included.

  • RS 3600 - Religion and Film  3 credit hours  

    RS 3600 - Religion and Film

    3 credit hours

    Examines the cinematic expression of religious traditions and development of religious issues in cinema.

Analysis: Cultural Areas and Traditions (3 hours)

Select one

  • RS 3010 - The Bible: Its Origin and Content

    3 credit hours

    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 3040 - The History of Christianity

    3 credit hours

    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 4010 - Global Christianity

    3 credit hours

    Examines 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 4030 - Contemporary Issues in Indigenous Religions

    3 credit hours

    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 4040 - Hinduism, Buddhism, and Asian Religions

    3 credit hours

    Explores historical and socio-cultural developments within Hinduism, Buddhism, and Asian religions, their relation to other religions, and interactions with broader cultural forces.

  • RS 4050 - Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

    3 credit hours

    Explores historical and socio-cultural developments within Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; their relation to other religions of the world.

  • RS 4120 - Cults and New Religious Movements

    3 credit hours

    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.

Critique: Disciplinary Approaches (3 hours)

Select one

  • RS 3030 - Mapping Religious Diversity

    3 credit hours

    Explores religious diversity in North America with a focus on local case studies. Students will conduct original, ethnographic research examining religious sites in Murfreesboro.

  • RS 4020 - Jesus of Nazareth  3 credit hours  

    RS 4020 - Jesus of Nazareth

    3 credit hours

    Surveys the diverse portraits of Jesus reflected in the socio-culture interface of the first century CE, early Christian literature, the modern scholarly quest for the historical Jesus, and in light of recent discussions, movements, films, and books

  • RS 4130 - Religion and Law  3 credit hours  

    RS 4130 - Religion and Law

    3 credit hours

    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 4201 - Women and Religion  3 credit hours  

    RS 4201 - Women and Religion

    3 credit hours

    (Same as WGST 4201.) Examines changing conceptions of women's roles in various religious traditions with particular attention to the ways religious beliefs and practices have influenced and are influenced by feminism and struggles for gender equality both within and outside religious institutions.

Minor (15-18 credit hours)

Electives (31-34 hours)

Total hours in program: 120

Curriculum: Religious Studies, B.S.

Curricular listings include General Education requirements in Communication, History, Humanities and/or Fine Arts, Mathematics, Natural Sciences, and Social/Behavioral Sciences categories.

Freshman

  • ENGL 1010 - Expository Writing  3 credit hours  (Comm) 

    ENGL 1010 - Expository Writing

    3 credit hours

    The first General Education English course. Emphasis on learning to adapt composing processes to a variety of expository and analytic writing assignments. Minimum grade of C- required for credit.

  • ENGL 1020 - Research and Argumentative Writing

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: ENGL 1010. The second General Education English course. Emphasis on analytic and argumentative writing and on locating, organizing, and using library resource materials in the writing. Minimum grade of C- required for credit.

  • COMM 2200 - Fundamentals of Communication  3 credit hours  (Comm) 

    COMM 2200 - Fundamentals of Communication

    3 credit hours

    Principles and processes of effective public oral communication including researching, critical thinking, organizing, presenting, listening, and using appropriate language. Emphasis on informative, persuasive, special occasion, and extemporaneous (impromptu) speaking. Counts as part of the General Education Communication requirement.

  • RS 2030 - Religion and Society

    3 credit hours

    Introduces the academic study of world religions with an emphasis on the ways religion both influences and is influenced by society and human behavior.

  • RS 3020 - Comparative Religion

    3 credit hours

    Employs central categories and concepts from the academic study of religion to analyze case studies from Western, Eastern, and Indigenous religions.

  • Natural Sciences (2 prefixes) 8 credit hours
  • General electives 6 credit hours
  • Mathematics 3 credit hours

Subtotal: 32 Hours

Sophomore

  • ENGL 2020 - Themes in Literature and Culture  3 credit hours  (Hum/FA) OR 

    ENGL 2020 - Themes in Literature and Culture

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisites: ENGL 1010 and ENGL 1020. Traces a specific theme or idea through a number of literary texts that reflect different historical and cultural contexts. Subject will vary.

  • ENGL 2030 - The Experience of Literature  3 credit hours  (Hum/FA) OR 

    ENGL 2030 - The Experience of Literature

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisites: ENGL 1010 and ENGL 1020. The reading of a variety of literary types which illuminate themes and experiences common to human existence.

  • HUM 2610 - Foreign Literature in Translation  3 credit hours  (Hum/FA) 

    HUM 2610 - Foreign Literature in Translation

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisites: ENGL 1010 and ENGL 1020. Representative works of French, German, and Hispanic authors in English translation. No foreign-language proficiency required. Carries General Education credit.

 

  • Description: Terms and Concepts elective 3 credit hours
  • Analysis: Cultural Areas and Traditions elective 3 credit hours
  • Humanities and/or Fine Arts 3 credit hours
  • Social/Behavioral Sciences (2 prefixes) 6 credit hours
  • General electives 6 credit hours

 

Choose 6 hours from:

  • HIST 2010 - Survey of United States History I

    3 credit hours

    Survey of the political, economic, social, cultural, and diplomatic phases of American life in its regional, national, and international aspects. HIST 2010 discusses the era from the beginning to 1877. HIST 2020 discusses the era from 1877 to the present. These courses are prerequisite for all advanced courses in American history and satisfy the General Education History requirement. HIST 2010 is NOT a prerequisite for HIST 2020.

  • HIST 2020 - Survey of United States History II

    3 credit hours

    Survey of the political, economic, social, cultural, and diplomatic phases of American life in its regional, national, and international aspects. HIST 2010 discusses the era from the beginning to 1877. HIST 2020 discusses the era from 1877 to the present. These courses are prerequisite for all advanced courses in American history and satisfy the General Education History requirement. HIST 2010 is NOT a prerequisite for HIST 2020.

  • HIST 2030 - Tennessee History

    3 credit hours

    The role of the state in the development of the nation. May be used to satisfy one part of the General Education History requirement.

Subtotal: 30 Hours

Junior

  • Critique: Disciplinary Approaches elective 3 credit hours
  • RS electives 6 credit hours
  • Humanities and/or Fine Arts 3 credit hours
  • Minor electives 9 credit hours
  • General electives 9 credit hours

Subtotal: 30 Hours

Senior

  • RS 4900 - Seminar in Religious Studies

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: At least 12 Religious Studies credit hours and junior or senior standing or permission of instructor. Capstone seminar for Religious Studies majors and minors. Students reflect on previous religious studies coursework in the context of their college education, analyze and critique substantial theoretical contributions to the discipline of religious studies, and complete a final product that "caps" their study of religion at MTSU.

  • RS electives 6 credit hours
  • Minor elective 6 credit hours
  • General (or minor) elective 3 credit hours
  • General electives 10 credit hours

Subtotal: 28 Hours


Religious Studies, B.A.

Philosophy and Religious Studies 
615-898-2907
Jenna Gray-Hildenbrand, program coordinator
Jenna.Gray-Hildenbrand@mtsu.edu

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 major in Religious Studies provides students with an invaluable foundation for a wide range of careers in which reading, writing, understanding, and analysis are essential. Coursework in Religious Studies offers preparation for occupations in a variety of fields, including education, research, religious ministry, counseling, human resources, and marketing. In addition to developing critical thinking skills, religious literacy helps prepare students to succeed in an increasingly diverse and multicultural society and workforce, from jobs as wide-ranging as international business leader to elementary school teacher.

Academic Map

Following is a printable, suggested four-year schedule of courses:

Religious Studies, B.A., Academic Map 

Degree Requirements

General Education (41 hours)

General Education requirements include Communication, History, Humanities and/or Fine Arts, Mathematics, Natural Sciences, and Social/Behavioral Science categories.

Major Requirements (30 hours)

  • RS 2030 - Religion and Society

    3 credit hours

    Introduces the academic study of world religions with an emphasis on the ways religion both influences and is influenced by society and human behavior.

  • RS 3020 - Comparative Religion

    3 credit hours

    Employs central categories and concepts from the academic study of religion to analyze case studies from Western, Eastern, and Indigenous religions.

  • RS 4900 - Seminar in Religious Studies

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: At least 12 Religious Studies credit hours and junior or senior standing or permission of instructor. Capstone seminar for Religious Studies majors and minors. Students reflect on previous religious studies coursework in the context of their college education, analyze and critique substantial theoretical contributions to the discipline of religious studies, and complete a final product that "caps" their study of religion at MTSU.

  • Guided Religious Studies electives 12 credit hours

Description: Terms and Concepts (3 hours)

Select one

  • RS 3050 - Rites of Passage  3 credit hours  

    RS 3050 - Rites of Passage

    3 credit hours

    The study of religious rituals and ceremonies that mark specific points in time, namely those in which individuals experience transition (births, weddings, funerals, and initiations). Explores how rites of passage and religious identities around the world are constructed and serve as sites of both conflict and resolution in a variety of religious traditions and cultural contexts.

  • RS 3060 - Pilgrimage and Sacred Journeys

    3 credit hours

    A cross-cultural and comparative examination of the dynamics of religious journeys with the goal of gaining a thorough understanding of the phenomenon of pilgrimage in all its complexity. Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, and indigenous traditions regularly included.

  • RS 3600 - Religion and Film  3 credit hours  

    RS 3600 - Religion and Film

    3 credit hours

    Examines the cinematic expression of religious traditions and development of religious issues in cinema.

Analysis: Cultural Areas and Traditions (3 hours)

Select one

  • RS 3010 - The Bible: Its Origin and Content

    3 credit hours

    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 3040 - The History of Christianity

    3 credit hours

    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 4010 - Global Christianity

    3 credit hours

    Examines 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 4030 - Contemporary Issues in Indigenous Religions

    3 credit hours

    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 4040 - Hinduism, Buddhism, and Asian Religions

    3 credit hours

    Explores historical and socio-cultural developments within Hinduism, Buddhism, and Asian religions, their relation to other religions, and interactions with broader cultural forces.

  • RS 4050 - Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

    3 credit hours

    Explores historical and socio-cultural developments within Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; their relation to other religions of the world.

  • RS 4120 - Cults and New Religious Movements

    3 credit hours

    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.

Critique: Disciplinary Approaches (3 hours)

Select one

  • RS 3030 - Mapping Religious Diversity

    3 credit hours

    Explores religious diversity in North America with a focus on local case studies. Students will conduct original, ethnographic research examining religious sites in Murfreesboro.

  • RS 4020 - Jesus of Nazareth  3 credit hours  

    RS 4020 - Jesus of Nazareth

    3 credit hours

    Surveys the diverse portraits of Jesus reflected in the socio-culture interface of the first century CE, early Christian literature, the modern scholarly quest for the historical Jesus, and in light of recent discussions, movements, films, and books

  • RS 4130 - Religion and Law  3 credit hours  

    RS 4130 - Religion and Law

    3 credit hours

    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 4201 - Women and Religion  3 credit hours  

    RS 4201 - Women and Religion

    3 credit hours

    (Same as WGST 4201.) Examines changing conceptions of women's roles in various religious traditions with particular attention to the ways religious beliefs and practices have influenced and are influenced by feminism and struggles for gender equality both within and outside religious institutions.

Foreign Language Requirement (12 hours)

Minor (15-18 credit hours)

Electives (19-22 hours)

Total hours in program: 120

Curriculum: Religious Studies, B.A.

Curricular listings include General Education requirements in Communication, History, Humanities and/or Fine Arts, Mathematics, Natural Sciences, and Social/Behavioral Sciences categories.

Freshman

  • ENGL 1010 - Expository Writing  3 credit hours  (Comm) 

    ENGL 1010 - Expository Writing

    3 credit hours

    The first General Education English course. Emphasis on learning to adapt composing processes to a variety of expository and analytic writing assignments. Minimum grade of C- required for credit.

  • ENGL 1020 - Research and Argumentative Writing

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: ENGL 1010. The second General Education English course. Emphasis on analytic and argumentative writing and on locating, organizing, and using library resource materials in the writing. Minimum grade of C- required for credit.

  • COMM 2200 - Fundamentals of Communication  3 credit hours  (Comm) 

    COMM 2200 - Fundamentals of Communication

    3 credit hours

    Principles and processes of effective public oral communication including researching, critical thinking, organizing, presenting, listening, and using appropriate language. Emphasis on informative, persuasive, special occasion, and extemporaneous (impromptu) speaking. Counts as part of the General Education Communication requirement.

  • RS 2030 - Religion and Society

    3 credit hours

    Introduces the academic study of world religions with an emphasis on the ways religion both influences and is influenced by society and human behavior.

  • RS 3020 - Comparative Religion

    3 credit hours

    Employs central categories and concepts from the academic study of religion to analyze case studies from Western, Eastern, and Indigenous religions.

  • Natural Sciences (2 prefixes) 8 credit hours
  • Foreign language 1010 and 1020 6 credit hours (or electives if competency otherwise established)
  • Mathematics 3 credit hours

Subtotal: 32 Hours

Sophomore

  • ENGL 2020 - Themes in Literature and Culture  3 credit hours  (Hum/FA) OR 

    ENGL 2020 - Themes in Literature and Culture

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisites: ENGL 1010 and ENGL 1020. Traces a specific theme or idea through a number of literary texts that reflect different historical and cultural contexts. Subject will vary.

  • ENGL 2030 - The Experience of Literature  3 credit hours  (Hum/FA) OR 

    ENGL 2030 - The Experience of Literature

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisites: ENGL 1010 and ENGL 1020. The reading of a variety of literary types which illuminate themes and experiences common to human existence.

  • HUM 2610 - Foreign Literature in Translation  3 credit hours  (Hum/FA) 

    HUM 2610 - Foreign Literature in Translation

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisites: ENGL 1010 and ENGL 1020. Representative works of French, German, and Hispanic authors in English translation. No foreign-language proficiency required. Carries General Education credit.

 

  • Description: Terms and Concepts elective 3 credit hours
  • Analysis: Cultural Areas and Traditions elective 3 credit hours
  • Humanities and/or Fine Arts 3 credit hours
  • Social/Behavioral Sciences (2 prefixes) 6 credit hours
  • Foreign language 2010 and 2020 6 credit hours

 

Choose 6 hours from:

  • HIST 2010 - Survey of United States History I

    3 credit hours

    Survey of the political, economic, social, cultural, and diplomatic phases of American life in its regional, national, and international aspects. HIST 2010 discusses the era from the beginning to 1877. HIST 2020 discusses the era from 1877 to the present. These courses are prerequisite for all advanced courses in American history and satisfy the General Education History requirement. HIST 2010 is NOT a prerequisite for HIST 2020.

  • HIST 2020 - Survey of United States History II

    3 credit hours

    Survey of the political, economic, social, cultural, and diplomatic phases of American life in its regional, national, and international aspects. HIST 2010 discusses the era from the beginning to 1877. HIST 2020 discusses the era from 1877 to the present. These courses are prerequisite for all advanced courses in American history and satisfy the General Education History requirement. HIST 2010 is NOT a prerequisite for HIST 2020.

  • HIST 2030 - Tennessee History

    3 credit hours

    The role of the state in the development of the nation. May be used to satisfy one part of the General Education History requirement.

Subtotal: 30 Hours

Junior

  • Critique: Disciplinary Approaches elective 3 credit hours
  • RS electives 6 credit hours
  • Humanities and/or Fine Arts 3 credit hours
  • Minor electives 9 credit hours
  • General electives 9 credit hours

Subtotal: 30 Hours

Senior

  • RS 4900 - Seminar in Religious Studies

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: At least 12 Religious Studies credit hours and junior or senior standing or permission of instructor. Capstone seminar for Religious Studies majors and minors. Students reflect on previous religious studies coursework in the context of their college education, analyze and critique substantial theoretical contributions to the discipline of religious studies, and complete a final product that "caps" their study of religion at MTSU.

  • RS electives 6 credit hours
  • Minor elective 6 credit hours
  • General (or minor) electives 3 credit hours
  • General electives 10 credit hours

Subtotal: 28 Hours

RS 2030 - Religion and Society
3 credit hours

Introduces 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
3 credit hours

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
3 credit hours

Employs central categories and concepts from the academic study of religion to analyze case studies from Western, Eastern, and Indigenous religions.

RS 3030 - Mapping Religious Diversity
3 credit hours

Explores 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
3 credit hours

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 3050 - Rites of Passage
3 credit hours

The study of religious rituals and ceremonies that mark specific points in time, namely those in which individuals experience transition (births, weddings, funerals, and initiations). Explores how rites of passage and religious identities around the world are constructed and serve as sites of both conflict and resolution in a variety of religious traditions and cultural contexts.

RS 3060 - Pilgrimage and Sacred Journeys
3 credit hours

A cross-cultural and comparative examination of the dynamics of religious journeys with the goal of gaining a thorough understanding of the phenomenon of pilgrimage in all its complexity. Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, and indigenous traditions regularly included.

RS 3600 - Religion and Film
3 credit hours

Examines the cinematic expression of religious traditions and development of religious issues in cinema.

RS 4010 - Global Christianity
3 credit hours

Examines 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
3 credit hours

Surveys the diverse portraits of Jesus reflected in the socio-culture interface of the first century CE, early Christian literature, the modern scholarly quest for the historical Jesus, and in light of recent discussions, movements, films, and books

RS 4030 - Contemporary Issues in Indigenous Religions
3 credit hours

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 4040 - Hinduism, Buddhism, and Asian Religions
3 credit hours

Explores historical and socio-cultural developments within Hinduism, Buddhism, and Asian religions, their relation to other religions, and interactions with broader cultural forces.

RS 4050 - Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
3 credit hours

Explores historical and socio-cultural developments within Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; their relation to other religions of the world.

RS 4120 - Cults and New Religious Movements
3 credit hours

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
3 credit hours

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 4201 - Women and Religion
3 credit hours

(Same as WGST 4201.) Examines changing conceptions of women's roles in various religious traditions with particular attention to the ways religious beliefs and practices have influenced and are influenced by feminism and struggles for gender equality both within and outside religious institutions.

RS 4700 - Special Topics in Religious Studies
3 credit hours

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. May be taken more than once, as topics change for a maximum of 9 hours.

RS 4800 - Readings in Religious Studies
3 credit hours

Directed study concerning a particular problem or thinker within religious studies.

RS 4900 - Seminar in Religious Studies
3 credit hours

Prerequisite: At least 12 Religious Studies credit hours and junior or senior standing or permission of instructor. Capstone seminar for Religious Studies majors and minors. Students reflect on previous religious studies coursework in the context of their college education, analyze and critique substantial theoretical contributions to the discipline of religious studies, and complete a final product that "caps" their study of religion at MTSU.

Contact and Student Information

Jenna Gray-Hildenbrand
Jenna.Gray-Hildenbrand@mtsu.edu
615-898-2758

Rebekka King
Rebekka.King@mtsu.edu
615-494-8987

Sonja Burk (A-M)
Sonja.Burk@mtsu.edu
615-898-5089 | JH 114

Erin Coker (N-Z)
Erin.Coker@mtsu.edu
615-904-8180 | JH 153

Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies
Middle Tennessee State University
1301 East Main Street
MTSU Box 73
Murfreesboro, TN 37132

MTSU Out of the Blue: Religious Studies

MTSU’s new Religious Studies major is the first for a public university in middle Tennessee. The... [more]

MTSU Campus Tour

From the acclaimed academic programs and state-of-the-art facilities to MTSU campus life and our thr... [more]