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Religious Studies

Coursework in Religious Studies gives students the cultural competence to think globally and act locally. Religious Studies is a central part of a Worldwise outlook.

Students at University of Maryland have studied the history, culture, and social dynamics of religion since at least the 1980s, in departments as wide-ranging as Philosophy, History, Classics, and Geography.

The first formal undergraduate program in religious studies began in 2001, with a new “citation” in Comparative Religious Studies. The use of “comparative” in the name of the program served to emphasize the secular and historical nature of the scholarship that students would encounter. By 2004, when the College of Arts and Humanities converted the citations into minors, Religious Studies was familiar enough on campus to allow us to drop the term “comparative” (which actually refers to a particular kind of secular study of religion, only a part of what we do on campus).

2020 brought a dramatic addition to Religious Studies on campus, with the introduction of the major in Religions of the Ancient Middle East. Students who pursue the major explore classical and near eastern religions, ancient Judaism, Christianity, and the early centuries of Islam.

University of Maryland students obviously love to learn about religion. Both the minor (citation) and the major fielded graduates from the very first year each program was instated.

Major in Religions and Cultures of the Ancient Middle East

The new RAME major provides a more-focused course of religious studies, while incorporating a course-structure specifically designed to help you complete your Gen Ed requirements. This 30-credit major is perfect as a stand-alone or part of a double major or double-degree program. 

Foundation requirements: 

  • One specially-designed Religious Studies I-series course (3 cr.)
  • Three lower-level courses in 2+ relevant traditions (9 cr.)

Electives (chosen with permission of RAME advisor):

  • One lower-level elective (3 cr.)
  • Four upper-level electives (12 cr.)

Capstone:

  • One specially-designed Religious Studies capstone seminar (3 cr.)

For more information on the major, specific courses, and advising, visit the RAME page or contact rame-advise@umd.edu. We look forward to speaking with you!

Minor in Religious Studies

The classic Religious Studies minor provides an opportunity to “travel the world” through the study religious phenomena in wide-ranging historical, geographical, and conceptual contexts. While valuable to anyone with an interest in religion, the religious studies minor especially supports students in STEM, business, journalism, and other fields, where focused exposure to a course of humanities enhances and diversifies the focused educational experience.

Foundation requirements: 

  • RELS 271 “What is Religion?” (I-series, Hum, CC): This course incorporates the study of world religions with introductions to the discipline of religious studies and specialized approaches to religion. Religion in America provides relevant and topical examples for discussion.

Electives: 

  • Two lower-level electives from a pre-approved list or by approval of RELS advisor. 
  • Three courses at the 300-level or above (same). 

Breadth:

  • RELS students demonstrate exposure to the diversity of religious traditions, in cultural, geographic, and/or temporal breadth. Approved by the Religious Studies adviser.

For more information on the major, specific courses, and advising, visit the Minor in Religious Studies page

Affiliate Faculty

Sabrina Baron
Francisco Barrenechea
Janna Bianchini
Antoine Borrut
Jorge Bravo
Alejandro Caneque
Kim Coles
Bernard Cooperman
Maryl Gensheimer
Maxine Grossman
Shay Hazkani
Colleen Ho
Ahmet Karamustafa
Fatemeh Keshavarz
Piotr Kosicki
Hayim Lapin
James Maffie
Charles Manekin
Rachel Manekin
Matthew T. Miller
Tom Moser
Marsha Rozenblit
Matthew Suriano
Stefano Villani
Peter Wien
Eric Zakim

Approved Course List -- Fall 2021

Course Number Course Title Instructor RAME RELS
AASP 200 (DSHU) African Civilization Kintiba  
AMST 328R Religion in American Culture Ali  
ARTH 200 (DSHU, DVUP) Art and Society in Ancient/Medieval Europe and the Mediterranean Egan
ARTH 201 (DSHU, DVUP) Western Art, Renaissance to Present Mansbach  
ARTH 261 (DSHU, SCIS) Monuments, Monumentality, and the Art of Memorial Korobkin  
ARTH 303 (DSHU, DVUP) Roman Art and Archaeology Gensheimer
CLAS 170/RELS 170 (DSHU) Greek and Roman Mythology Doherty
CLAS 331 Roman Religion: From Jupiter to Jesus Wasdin
ENGL 262/ HEBR 298B/ JWST 262 (DSHU) Introduction to Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Suriano
ENGL 310 Medieval and Renaissance British Literature Moser  
ENGL 316 Native American Literature Infante  
ENGL 379A Comparative Black and Native American Literature Infante  
ENGL 410 Edmund Spenser Coles  
FILM 298B/PERS 298M Iranian Cinema Moosavi  
HIST 106/ JWST 141 (DSHS, DVUP) American Jewish Experience Rozenblit  
HIST 110 (DSHU) The Ancient World TBA
HIST 111 (DSHS, DVUP) The Medieval World Ho  
HIST 120/ RELS 120 (DSHU) Islamic Civilization Borrut
HIST 133/ RELS 133 (DSHS, SCIS) The Crusades in Medieval and Modern Perspectives Bianchini  
HIST 135/RELS 289E (DSHS, DVCC, SCIS) Why Cities Don’t (Often) Explode Cooperman  
HIST187 Moral Issues in Jewish Historical Experience Cooperman  
HIST 319L Islam: Learning, Piety, and Practice Karamustafa
HIST 319R Genghis Khan and the Mongols Ho  
HIST 329/JWST 319V Religious and Political Transformations in Modern Jewish History Rozenblit  
HIST 331/ RELS 341 Europe in the High Middle Ages: 1000-1500 Bianchini  
HIST 408I/409A (DSSP) Literature and Jewish Life in Eastern Europe R. Manekin  
HIST 419Q/ JWST 370 The Golden Age of European Jewry R. Manekin  
HIST 428O The English Civil Wars Baron  
HIST 429N/PHIL 428N The Aztecs: Human Sacrifice and Conquest Maffie  
JWST 171RELS 171 (DSHU, DVCC, SCIS) Is Judaism a Religion? Grossman  
JWST 187 (DSHU or DSHS, DVCC, SCIS) God, Land, Power, and People: Moral Issues in Jewish Historical Experience Cooperman  
JWST 274/RELS 274 (DSHU, DVUP, SCIS) Jerusalem in Antiquity: The History of Sacred Space in a Holy City Suriano
JWST 429B/ PHIL 428B (DSHU) Classical Arabic Philosophy by Muslims, Jews, and Christians C. Manekin  
PHIL 308W/RELS 319W World Philosophy Maffie  
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