WELCOME FROM RELIGIOUS STUDIES PROGRAM DIRECTOR, PROFESSOR CHARLES KIMBALL


Religion is a major force around the world and one of the few universals of human culture. The importance of understanding its historical, social, political, intellectual, and artistic influence is self-evident. The Religious Studies Program at OU provides undergraduate students with a broad curriculum of study on the diverse expressions of religion. Students learn both about major religious traditions and the different approaches to understanding religion. The program, which draws courses from approximately thirty-five faculty members in departments and Colleges all across OU, is interdisciplinary, comparative, and global in scope. In this website we provide information about degree requirements, course offerings, faculty, scholarships, special events, and student functions.

OUR CURRICULUM

The study of religion at OU is not intended to promote or critique any particular religious faith. Nor does it seek to encourage or discourage religious practice or expression. More broadly, by providing a greater understanding of religion in its pluralistic expressions the Program will promote a more informed citizenry. The relationship of religion to other societal, cultural, and political activity means that the study of religion informs the understanding of all human activity. The Religious Studies Program works closely with the university's International Programs office and the College of Arts & Sciences to identify and/or coordinate study abroad experiences for our students.

The curriculum involves a two-pronged academic exploration of 1) different religious traditions (e.g., Native American, African, and other indigenous traditions, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Baha'i, etc.); and 2) different approaches to the study of religion (historical, social, political, intellectual, philosophical, scientific, literary). This will prepare future journalists, teachers, lawyers, doctors, and business leaders to operate in the complex religious milieu of the coming decades. Within the program, students complete two introductory courses, choose three religious traditions from three distinct cultures, and choose elective courses in religion and literature/the arts, religion, and social organization/politics, religion and history, and religion and philosophy. Travel abroad is also available to meet the requirements of the elective category. Students use their electives to craft a concentration or specialization in preparation for graduate or professional schools. Students complete Capstone their senior year, to bring together the methodologies, theories, and approaches the students have acquired through the student's course of study.

RELIGIOUS STUDIES PROGRAM MISSION STATEMENT

Religious Studies is an interdisciplinary field devoted to the academic study of religion. The mission of OU's Religious Studies Program is educational, to equip students with the knowledge to function in the diverse and complex global environment of the 21st Century. The Program observes and examines religion in its many expressions. The centerpiece of the program is a curriculum that enables undergraduate students to major or minor in Religious Studies but also to combine the RELS curriculum with other OU programs for the best possible preparation for a career, professional, or graduate school in a range of fields.