Religious Studies (BA)


The study of religion is an important branch of the humanities and an essential component in any well-grounded program of higher education. It is crucial for the understanding of any culture and it deals with serious issues for the self-understanding of students of any age. University of Detroit Mercy's Department of Religious Studies offers programs designed to explore the variety of religious meanings which human beings have expressed in the past as well as those which continue to be expressed in the present.

Because of its roots in the Catholic tradition, this department offers a wide variety of courses on Christian themes and developments, while also offering students broad exposure to other traditions, such as Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. Hoping to be a place where the best in contemporary Catholic thinking can encounter and exist in dialogue with other sources of contemporary thinking, the University regards the Department of Religious Studies as a special focus of this encounter.

The curriculum for a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Religious Studies is designed to serve three purposes: (1) to provide introductory and survey courses in the study of religion that will be valuable for all undergraduates and available in all time slots; (2) to provide a major for students wishing to concentrate in the study of religion; and (3) to provide a program leading to the master's degree for students wishing to engage in advanced studies.

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    Degree Requirements

    To obtain this undergraduate degree, the student must fulfill the requirements of the University Core Curriculum, the requirements for the program major and have completed a minimum of 126 credit hours.

    Religious Studies Major (30 credits)

    Religious studies majors, and students who choose religious studies as a secondary area of concentration, are required to earn 30 credit hours in the field. Half of these credits must be earned in upper level courses (3000 and 4000 level).

    To encourage a wide encounter with the varieties of religious expression, a student must take at least one course in each of the five areas into which religious studies is divided: world religions (other than Christianity), Biblical studies, Christian theology and spirituality, contemporary issues in religion and ethics. A representative selection of courses in these areas will be offered days and evenings.

    Near the end of their senior year, majors are also required to submit a portfolio of exams and papers which, in their judgment, give evidence of their knowledge of the field, their skills of research and expression, and their personal appropriation of the materials they have covered. No additional grades are given for the portfolios. Their purpose is to assist the department in advising students and assessing the overall effectiveness of the program.

    World Religions (Must Take One Course)

    Biblical Studies (Must Take One Course)

    • RELS 2220 From Adam to David (3 credits)
    • RELS 2230 Prophets and Visionaries (3 credits)
    • RELS 2240 Jesus and Gospels (3 credits)
    • RELS 2245 Introduction to the New Testament (3 credits)
    • RELS 2250 Paul and Revelation (3 credits)
    • RELS 2290 The Bible as Religious Literature (3 credits)
    • RELS 3210 Psalms (3 credits)
    • RELS 3220 Wisdom Literature (3 credits)
    • RELS 3240 Feminist Biblical Interpretation (3 credits)
    • RELS 3260 Synoptic Studies (3 credits)
    • RELS 4220 Torah and Historical Writings (3 credits)
    • RELS 4240 The Four Gospels (3 credits)
    • RELS 4250 Acts, Letters and Revelation (3 credits)
    • RELS 4320 Classical and Contemporary Catholicism (3 credits)

    Christian Theology and Spirituality (Must Take One Course)

    • RELS 2000 / CAS 2000 Catholicism: Spirit and Methods (3 credits)
    • RELS 2150 The Rise of Christianity (3 credits) / CAS 2150 Rise of Christianity (3 credits)
    • RELS 2160 Reformation Era (3 credits)
    • RELS 2240 Jesus and Gospels (3 credits)
    • RELS 2300 Catholic Theology Today (3 credits) / CAS 2300 Roman Catholic Theology Since Vatican II (3 credits)
    • RELS 2310 Introduction to Theology (3 credits)
    • RELS 2340 Introduction to Christian Ethics (3 credits)
    • RELS 2350 Christ in Faith Fiction and Film (3 credits)
    • RELS 2440 Love and Sexuality in Modern Christian Thought (3 credits)
    • RELS 2500 / CAS 2500 The Quest for God Today (3 credits)
    • RELS 2510 Theology and Literature (3 credits)
    • RELS 2550 Theology of Christian Marriage (3 credits)
    • RELS 2560 / CAS 2560 God and The Human Condition (3 credits)
    • RELS 3310 The Christian God (3 credits)
    • RELS 3340 Theology of Death and Resurrection (3 credits)
    • RELS 3530 Dynamics of Spiritual Growth (3 credits)
    • RELS 3550 Poets, Mystics and God (3 credits)
    • RELS 3570 Spiritual Autobiographies (3 credits)
    • RELS 3580 Theology of the Imagination (3 credits)
    • RELS 3755 On the Divine (3 credits)
    • RELS 4320 Classical and Contemporary Catholicism (3 credits)
    • RELS 4440 Sexuality and Love in Contemporary Christian Thought (3 credits)

    Contemporary Issues in Religion (Must Take One Course)

    • RELS 2140 Women and Religion (3 credits)
    • RELS 2170 Religion in the United States of America (3 credits)
    • RELS 2360 Religion and Film (3 credits)
    • RELS 2420 / CAS 2420 Religion and Science in the West (3 credits)
    • RELS 2490 Violence, Nonviolence and Religion (3 credits)
    • RELS 3000 Philosophy of Religion (3 credits)
    • RELS 3020 Contemporary Religious Movements (3 credits)
    • RELS 3500 Religion and Psychology (3 credits) / PYC 3500 Psychology of Religion (3 credits)
    • RELS 3590 Religion, Health and Healing (3 credits)
    • RELS 3610 Religions and Sci-Fi (3 credits)
    • RELS 4132 Religions and Global Wellbeing (3 credits)
    • RELS 4140 Gender and Religion (3 credits)
    • RELS 4141 Gender in Asian Traditions (3 credits)

    Ethics (Must Take One Course)

    • RELS 2340 Introduction to Christian Ethics (3 credits)
    • RELS 2400 / CAS 2400 Social Ethics (3 credits)
    • RELS 2450 Class, Race and Gender (3 credits)
    • RELS 3390 Ecology and Justice (3 credits)
    • RELS 3430 Ethics and Economic Theories (3 credits)
    • RELS 3470 Catholic Social Thought (3 credits) / CAS 3470 Christian Social Thought (3 credits)
    • RELS 3480 / CAS 3480 Justice: Contemporary Issues and Theories (3 credits)
    • RELS 3490 American Religious Social Thought (3 credits)
    • RELS 4132 Religions and Global Wellbeing (3 credits)
    • RELS 4340 Christian Ethics (3 credits)
    • RELS 4450 Sex, Race and Class: Feminist/Womanist Ethics (3 credits)
    • RELS 4680 Catholic Health Care Ethics (3 credits)

    Select an additional 15 credits from RELS 2000-4999, PHL 3030, PHL 3040, or any 3-credit CAS 2000-3000-level course.

    Note: at least 15 credits from the categories listed above and here must be at the 3000-4000 level.


    Religious Studies Minor (18 credits)

    Religions are at the core of cultures, and the study of religions is integral to the understanding of any human society. A deeper understanding of religious phenomena is thus a useful and enabling complement to virtually any course of study or career path. At the same time, however, due to the multi-traditional scope and multi-disciplinary nature of Religious Studies, a major in Religious Studies can seem very challenging. The minor in Religious Studies, by contrast, is comprised of only 18 credits (6 courses) and is easily attainable since students at University of Detroit Mercy are already taking one to two courses in the fulfillment of their Core Curriculum requirements.

    Given the multi-disciplinary and multicultural nature of Religious Studies, students who minor in Religious Studies will enjoy much flexibility in terms of course selection. The minor does not consist of one specific set of required courses, and students can easily tailor the minor program to suit their individual interests and to complement their majors.

    This minor requires 18 credits including one course from the following:

    Additionally, you must also have five electives in Religious Studies from at least three different areas listed below.

    Three of these five electives must be upper-division (RELS 3000-4000 level) courses:

    • Biblical Studies
    • Christian Theology and Spirituality
    • Contemporary Issues in Religion
    • Ethics
    • World Religions (other than Christianity

Program Contact Information

Department Chair: James B. Tubbs, Ph.D.

Briggs Building, Room 339
McNichols Campus

Telephone: 313-578-0355
Fax: 313-993-1166

Department Website