Courses

What do the Religious Studies courses cover? 
Below is a list of the courses followed by the short descriptions of each course.

Courses in Religious Studies

160 Intro to Religion in Culture 
201 Religion and Popular Culture
206 Sex and the Bible
210 Religion, Morality, and Public Debate
250 Intro Biblical Interpretation
280 Topics in Religions in America
290 Topics in Asian Religions
375 Adv Study of Biblical Traditions
380 Religion and Ethics
390 Adv Study of Asian Religions
403 Reading and Special Study
420 Themes in Religion
450 Crit Issues in the Study of Rel
470 Perspectives on Religion

Note: most religious studies courses at the 200-level and above are "variable content" courses, which means that they may be offered by different faculty members, each of whom is teaching different subject matters under the same course title. Students may enroll in a variable content course twice (6 hours), if the course as taught as a different topic.

Short Course Descriptions of New Religious Studies Courses

160 Introduction to Religion and Culture. (3) UCC Tier-1

An introduction to the academic study of religion, including the dynamic interaction between religious ideas, practices, and broader cultural contexts. Specific traditions and cultural contexts addressed in the course will vary according to instructor, but all students will gain an understanding of diverse components of, and methods for studying, religion.

201 Religion and Popular Culture (3) UCC Tier-2

Academic study of multiple relationships between religion and popular culture in a range of media across historical, political, and cultural contexts, especially in their contemporary settings. Examples drawn from sources such as film, music, TV, Internet, video games, sports, comic books, animation, and social media.

206 Sex and the Bible (3) UCC Tier-2

Academic study of biblical literature and the sexual practices contained, described, or interpreted to be within ancient religious materials. Situates the norms and practices for understanding the sexual and biblical materials in a range of historical, literary, political, cultural, and even ethical contexts and effects, especially in their ancient settings and their more recent, continuing uses.

210 Religion, Morality, and Public Debate (3) UCC Tier-2

Examination of approaches to moral reasoning, the role of religious traditions in forming ethical judgments, and the relationship between moral argument and public debate. Also addresses a range of moral issues that citizens and scholars debate in religious and secular terms.

250 Introduction to Biblical Interpretation. (3) UCC Tier-2
Academic study of biblical literature and of the wide variety of processes for interpreting and understanding this literature given a range of historical, literary, political and cultural contexts and effects, in their ancient settings and in their historical and continuing interpretations.

280 Topics in Religions in America. (3) UCC Tier-2

Study of a specific religion and/or religions in their American context, or examination of a theme or a set of social issues in relation to religions in America. This is a variable content course that may be repeated for up to 6 hours of credit.

290 Topics in Asian Religions. (3) UCC Tier-2
Study of a specific religion and/or religions that began on the continent of Asia, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Shinto, and contemporary Japanese and Chinese religions. This is a variable content course that may be repeated for up to 6 hours of credit.  Counts toward minor in Asian Studies. 

Counts toward minor in Asian Studies.

375 Advanced Study of Biblical Traditions. (3)

Advanced study of texts and traditions that developed about Jesus among early Christians; of text and traditions related to the early church; or of historical developments in Christianity in relation to culture. This is a variable content course that may be repeated for up to 6 hours of credit.

380 Religion and Ethics. (3)

Critical examination of traditions of religious thought and ethics, with focus on a select topic, such as philanthropy and justice, human rights, war and nonviolence, or the environment. This is a variable content course that may be repeated for up to 6 hours of credit.

390 Advanced Study of Asian Religions. (3)

Critical examination of one or more Asian religions. Topics include sacred texts, historical developments, prominent figures, and relevance to contemporary cultural formations. This is a variable content course that may be repeated for up to 6 hours of credit. Counts for minor in Asian Studies.

403 Reading and Special Study. (1-3)

Allows opportunity for guided investigation of aspects of religion not covered in available courses. Prerequisites: senior standing, religious studies major, 3.0 grade-point average (overall and major), and permission of chosen faculty mentor. A total of 6 hours of credit may be earned.

420 Themes in Religion (3)

A thematically-organized examination of an issue in the study of religion. Some examples: myth, ritual, pilgrimage, religious autobiography, gods and goddesses, asceticism, "texts" in contexts, or religion and cultural studies. This is a variable content course that may be repeated for up to 6 hours of credit.

450 Critical Issues in the Study of Religion (3)

Advanced study of a select issue of importance in the study of religion and culture, e.g. women and religion, religion and politics, religion and ethics. This is a variable content course that may be repeated for up to 6 hours of credit.

470 Perspectives on Religion. (3)

A critical analysis of aspects of one or more religious traditions through one or more distinctive methodological perspectives, such as anthropological, sociological, psychological, historical, or philosophical. This is a variable content course that may be repeated for up to 6 hours of credit

Recommended Course Sequencing

There are no official prerequisites for religious studies courses. A student will, however, be best prepared and have the greatest chance of optimal learning if s/he observes the following guidelines: 

  • Take RELST 160 early in your program. The introductory course provides general background to the academic study of religion and offers a general foundation for upper-level religious studies courses. 
  • Take 200-level courses before 300-level courses, and 300-level courses before 400-level courses. 
  • Take electives at a stage commensurate with the degree of difficulty in a given course. For example 300- and 400-level electives are most appropriate for juniors and seniors. You should check to find out if there are formal or informal prerequisites for courses in other departments.

At Ball State you may choose a departmental major or minor in philosophy or religious studies. There are no admission requirements for these programs, but to remain enrolled you must maintain the minimum grade-point average established by the university. The major and minor programs are part of a four-year undergraduate education leading to a bachelor or arts or bachelor or science degree.

Philosophy and Religious Studies
North Quad 204
Ball State University
Muncie, IN 47306

Hours: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday (Summer Hours: 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays)
Phone: 765-285-1244
Fax: 765-285-1245
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