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Philosophy & Religion

BA in Religious Studies

Please refer to the Undergraduate Student Handbook for detailed information about the program.

Admission to the Program

Admission is through a formal declaration of major. The department counsels freshmen and new transfer students. 

University Requirements

  • A total of 120 credit hours 
  • 6 credit hours of college writing 
  • 3 credit hours of college mathematics or the equivalent by examination 

General Education Requirements

  • A total of ten courses, consisting of two courses from each of the five foundational areas
  • At least one course from Area Five: The Natural and
    Mathematical Sciences must include a laboratory science
  • No more than two courses may be taken in the same

Major Requirements

  • 39 credit hours with grades of C or better, with a minimum of 24 credit hours taken in the Department of Philosophy and Religion 

Course Requirements

  • RELG-105 Religious Heritage of the West (3) 
  • RELG-185 Forms of the Sacred: Religions of the East (3) 
  • RELG-210 Non-Western Religious Traditions (3) or RELG-220 Religious Thought (3)
  • RELG-330 Approaches to Studying Religion (3) 
  • RELG-391 Internship (3) 
  • 9 credit hours in religion courses from the following:
  • RELG-470 Islam (3) 
  • RELG-471 Topics in Jewish Religion (3) 
  • RELG-472 Religion in America (3) 
  • RELG-473 Hinduism (3) 
  • RELG-475 Religion and Violence (3) 
  • RELG-486 Topics in Religious Discussion (3) 
  • 6 credit hours in philosophy courses from the following: 
  • PHIL-220 Moral Philosophy (3) 
  • PHIL-235 Theories of Democracy and Human Rights (3) 
  • PHIL-400 Ancient Philosophy (3) 
  • PHIL-418 Chinese Philosophy (3) 
  • PHIL-419 Buddhist Philosophy (3) 
  • PHIL-520 Seminar on Ethical Theory (3) 
  • PHIL-525 Seminar on Modern Moral Problems (3) 
  • 9 credit hours from the following: 
  • ANTH-330 Magic, Witchcraft, and Religion (3) 
  • ANTH-331 Taboos 
  • HIST-239 Topics in European History (3) (approved topics) 
  • HIST-245 Modern Jewish Civilization (3) 
  • HIST-344 Topics in Jewish History (3) (approved topics) 
  • JWST-320 Topics in Jewish Culture (3) 
  • PSYC-335 Psychology of Religion (3) 
  • SIS-514 Spirituality and Global Politics (3) 
  • SOCY-315 Major Social Theorists (3) 

University Honors Program

To graduate with University Honors, students must be admitted to the University Honors Program, maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.50, and receive grades of B or better in all University Honors course work. There are three levels of University Honors course requirements: Level I (100-200-level); Level II (300-level and above); and Level III (Honors Capstone Project). The department Honors coordinator advises students in the University Honors Program regarding requirements for graduating with University Honors in the major. For more information, go to the University Honors Program.

Combined Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees

American University offers students the opportunity to earn both undergraduate and graduate degrees through its accelerated bachelor’s/master’s programs. Undergraduate students may complete up to 3 credits for every 9 credits required for the graduate degree that may be applied to the requirements for both degree programs.  The department that oversees the graduate program the student enters will determine if the courses the undergraduate student completes will satisfy master’s degree requirements. 

Bachelor’s/master’s students must complete at least 18 in-residence credit hours at the graduate level after the bachelor’s degree is earned and  maintain continuous, sequential enrollment in the two programs. Students must finish the master’s degree requirements within three years from the date of first enrollment in the master’s program.