WR-130: Introduction to the Academic Study of Religion

Liberal Arts
Religious Studies
Academic Level
Course Subject
World Religions
Course Number
Course Title
Introduction to the Academic Study of Religion
Credit Hours
Instructor Contact Hours Per Semester
47.00 (for 15-week classes)
Student Contact Hours Per Semester
47.00 (for 15-week classes)
Grading Method
ENG-131 eligible
Catalog Course Description

Explores the spiritual impulse as reflected in non-traditional as well as traditional contexts. Examines various aspects of religions that influence both individuals and cultures including the nature of ultimate reality and its communication through symbols, rituals, scriptures, religious experiences, prophets, and sages. All of these religious phenomena will be considered in light of the contemporary influences of globalization, science, and environmental challenges.

Goals, Topics, and Objectives

Core Course Topics
  1. Studying religion in a global society.
    1. Analyze various factors involved in globalization.
    2. Analyze how religions are being affected by globalization.
  2. What is religion?
    1. Identify and describe several aspects of "religion" that contribute to a polythetic definition of the term.
  3. How do various cultures and traditions identify the absolute, the ultimate or the holy?
    1. Identify and describe different ways of understanding the "absolute" or the "ultimate reality."
  4. What are the origins or who are the founders of the world's great religious traditions?
    1. Analyze various versions of the origins and/or founders of religions.*
  5. How do religious narratives inform basic values, worldviews and norms of cultures and societies?
    1. Differentiate between denotative and conotative writing.
    2. Analyze the nature of myths, stories, and histories and how they combine to create religious narratives and beliefs.*
  6. What are rituals? What are the functions of rituals in both individual lives and in the larger cultural context.
    1. Identify and describe how rituals function in religions.
  7. Religious Beliefs and Values Applied to Social Problems.
    1. Examine how the ethical dimension of religions deals with global and societal problems such as the environment, peace, war, and social justice.
    2. Demonstrate how religions play an important role in shaping our individual and collective response to current events.

Assessment and Requirements

Assessment of Academic Achievement

Each instructor will identify and implement appropriate methods to assess the achievement of the learning objectives for the course. Such methods could include objective style tests, essays, research papers, journals, projects, etc.


Required course materials are on file with the department.


General Education Categories
  • Humanities and Fine Arts
Institutional Outcomes
  • Civil Society and Culture - U.S. and Global
  • Humanities
MTA Categories
  • Category 5: Humanities and Fine Arts
Satisfies Wellness Requirement

Credit for Prior College-Level Learning

Options for Credit for Prior College-Level Learning
Other Details

Determined by department

Approval Dates

Effective Term
Winter 2016
ILT Approval Date
Curriculum Committee Approval Date