Religious Studies


Religion is a major force in human experience.  Religion is powerful.  It has sparked warfare and terrorism and has been the root cause of manifold forms of violence, human degradation and environmental exploitation throughout history.  And yet religion also has been the foundation of movements for social justice and systems of ethics that inspire people to live peacefully together and with respect toward the natural environment.  Religion is persistent and prominent. It is present everywhere, in countless traditions, affecting all facets of daily life from politics and aesthetics to family structure and commerce.

Religious Studies is the academic field that explores the social and cultural phenomenon called religion.  Because religion is so powerful, persistent and prominent, Religious Studies offers students a unique window into the deepest currents of human culture.  

Religious Studies at OSU is an inter-disciplinary field that combines history, philosophy, anthropology, ethics, textual analysis, art, literature and film to examine the ways that humans have described and acted in response to that which they have called divine, both in civilizations long past and among peoples and nations around the world in the present moment.   A major in Religious Studies will expose you to some of the most profound and beautiful creations of the human imagination, give you expertise in critical reasoning and close engagement with texts and ideas, give you skills to navigate the cultural complexity of our diverse society, and prepare you to be a participatory citizen of our interconnected global environment. 

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Program of Study for the BA in Liberal Studies
(Religious Studies Focus)

Completion of the Major requires a minimum of 48 credit hours

Foundations and Concepts: 12 credits

  • PHL 160: World Religions (4)
  • PHL 202: Intro to Religious Studies (4)
  • PHL 407: Capstone Seminar: Theories of Religion (4) 

Global Literacy in Religion:  12 credits from courses below

  • PHL 208: Buddhist Traditions (4)
  • HST/PHL 210: Religion in the U.S. (4)
  • PHL 213: Intro to Hindu Traditions (4)
  • PHL 214: Intro to Islamic Traditions (4)   
  • PHL 220: World Views and Values in the Bible (4)

Studies in Religion and Culture: 24 credits.   12 of these credits must be taken from the courses listed below.  The remaining 12 maybe be taken from a combination of courses from this list and from approved electives from Religion and Culture certificate list of approved non-SHPR courses


  • HST 333: Medieval and Early Modern Spanish History (4) 
  • HST 350: Modern Latin America (4)
  • HST 352: Africans in Latin American History (4)
  • HST 387: Islamic Civilizations (4)
  • HST 388 Islamic Civilizations (4)
  • HST 425 The Holocaust in History (4)
  • HST 466: Religion and American Foreign Relations (4)
  • PAX 201. Study of Peace and the Causes of Conflict (3)
  • PHL 170: The Idea of God (4)
  • PHL 312: Asian Thought (4)
  • PHL 315 Gandhi and nonviolence (4)
  • PHL 344: Pacifism, Just War, Terrorism (4)
  • PHL 371: Philosophies of China (4)
  • PHL 411: Great Figures (4)
  • PHL 430: History of Buddhist Philosophy (4)
  • PHL 432: Yoga and Tantric Traditions (4)
  • PHL 436: Philosophy of Religion (3)
  • PHL 443: World Views & Environmental Values (3)
  • PHL 444 Biomedical Ethics (4)
  • PHL 448: Native American Philosophies (3)
  • PHL 455: Death and Dying (3)

Note: Some SHPR topics courses (HST 399, HST 415, HST 499, PHL 399, PHL 411, and PHL 499) may also be applied to the Religious Studies major, depending on course content. Check with the advisor for more details.


  • ANTH 452: Folklore and Expressive Culture (4) 
  • ANTH 472: Contemporary Indian Issues (4)
  • ENG 360: Native American Literature (4)
  • ENG 275: The Bible as Literature (4)
  • ENG 330: The Holocaust in Literature and Film (4)
  • NMC 437: New Media and Society (3)
  • PS 361: Classical Political Thought (4)
  • PS 370: Science, Religion, and Politics (4)
  • SOC 452: Sociology of Religion (4)
  • WS 223: Women: Self and Society (3)
  • WS 380: Muslim Women (3)
  • WS 420: Hate, Resistance, and Reconciliation (3)
  • WS 495: Global Feminist Theologies (3)
  • WS 496: Feminist Theologies in the United States (3)