Requirements for the Major and Minor in Religious Studies (RLS)
Requirements for the Major in Religious Studies (RLS)
Attentive and personal advising is a primary commitment of the Religious Studies faculty, and students who enter the program are assigned to an individual advisor who will help them find the courses best suited to their area of interest in the major and make productive use of their electives outside the major and the general education requirements of the University. Students commonly complete minors or even second majors in related fields. Final approval of courses selected for major requirements should be obtained prior to registration for the senior year. Requirements for the major may be satisfied with RLS courses and, with advisor's approval, with courses from other programs listed under "Related Courses in Other Programs". Students wishing to satisfy the requirements with yet other courses may do so with the approval of the major advisor.
The major in Religious Studies leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree. All courses offered for the major must be passed with a letter grade of C or higher.
Completion of the major requires 30 credits.
A. Required Courses
- RLS 301 Sources and Methods (ordinarily taken in the fall of the junior year; may be taken in the senior year by those who do not meet the prerequisites as juniors)
- RLS 400 Religious Studies Seminar (ordinarily taken in the spring of the senior year)
B. Depth Requirement
Four courses at the 200, 300, and 400 levels in one of the following areas of emphasis:
- Hinduism (SKT 111, 112 may also count as one course for this area)
- East Asian religions (Chinese, Japanese, and Korean religions)
- Judaism (in coordination with Judaic studies; ordinarily all four courses in this area emphasis are JDS and JDH, but one may be replaced with a relevant RLS or other course with advisor's approval)
- Christianity (to include at least one Judaic studies course; JDH/RLS 230 or JDS/HIS 225, 226 recommended)
- Islam (may include one course in Judaism or Christianity; ARB 111, 112 may also count as one course for this area)
- Theology, philosophy, and method in religion
- Other areas, as available; these must be approved by the major advisor before the first semester of the senior year.
C. Breadth requirement: Four RLS courses in areas outside the area emphasis.
D. Upper-Division Writing Requirement
Majors are required to demonstrate a capability for expressing themselves effectively in writing. They should meet this requirement by taking RLS 301 before the end of their junior year, co-registering in the 0-credit RLS 459, and achieving a special overall rating of "satisfactory" in RLS 459 based on the written work completed for RLS 301. An overall rating of "unsatisfactory" necessitates remedial action. More detailed information about this requirement is available from the program.
Students should consult with the department advisor to ensure that their plan for completing the Upper Division Writing Requirement is consistent with university graduation requirements for General Education. Students completing the Stony Brook Curriculum (SBC) must complete a course that satisfies the "Write Effectively within One's Discipline" (WRTD) learning objective to graduate. The Upper Division Writing Requirement is consistent in most cases with the SBC learning outcomes for WRTD.
The Honors Program in Religious Studies
Religious Studies majors who have maintained a grade point average of 3.50 in the major and 3.00 overall through their junior year may be invited to attempt the degree in Religious Studies with honors.
The honors major requires a total of 36 credits, consisting of the 30 credits required for the major and six additional credits in a special research project pursued through both semesters of the senior year under the supervision of a member of the faculty, with registration in RLS 495-496.
When the supervising faculty member judges the student ready, an honors essay based on this special project is presented and defended at a meeting of the Religious Studies Seminar, which consists of the Religious Studies faculty and participating faculty from related disciplines. Thereafter, the Religious Studies faculty, together with at least one faculty member from another discipline who attended the seminar, meet to decide whether to recommend conferring the degree with honors. The decision is based on the student's overall record, the recommendation of the special project supervisor, the student's performance in presenting the honors essay, and the judgment of the faculty concerning its intrinsic worth.
Students who wish to become candidates for honors should consult with the program coordinator during their junior year. Faculty supervision of the senior honors project must be agreed upon and arranged before the end of the junior year.
Requirements for the Minor in Religious Studies (RLS)
The minor in Religious Studies consists of six courses (18 credits), at least three of which (nine credits) must be at the upper-division level. At least 12 credits, including RLS 301, must be taken for a letter grade. In addition to these general requirements, the program is designed to ensure: 1) an encounter with the variety of world religions; 2) a grasp of problems of method and the critical use of sources in the study of religion; and 3) sufficient depth in a single area emphasis to read advanced work in the area with experience and judgment. Requirements to meet these goals are:
Students should consult the program director by the semester in which they register for RLS 301 for advice on coordinating the Religious Studies minor with the student's major program. Final approval of courses selected to meet the minor requirements should be obtained prior to registration for the senior year.