Interdisciplinary Studies

Undergraduate

The Interdisciplinary Program in Religious Studies offers an Honors, Combined Honors and Major and Minor in Religious Studies.

See the University of Alberta Calendar for information on the requirements for the Honors in Religious Studies, Combined Honors or Major or Minor in Religious Studies.

FAQ Advice for Undergraduate Students

Here are answers to some of the questions you may have about the Religious Studies Program. Feel free to contact our Program Advisor for more information.


Why is Religious Studies an Interdisciplinary Program?

Religious Studies is an academic discipline. Like other disciplines, it has its own history, areas of study, and specialists. As a discipline, it is traditionally grouped with the “Humanities,” which include disciplines such as Philosophy, Classics and Cultural Studies, among others. Our program offers a wide range of RELIGION courses covering western and eastern religious traditions, special topics, and approaches to the discipline, all taught by specialists in Religious Studies. At the same time, Religious Studies has an exceptional affinity with other disciplines, making it a natural site for combining the ideas and perspectives of many disciplines, including those in the Fine Arts, such as Art History and Music, and the Social Sciences, such as Anthropology, Sociology and History. Our interdisciplinary program offers an extraordinary opportunity to explore different disciplines using the study of religion as a common focus. Consider, for example, the abundance of religious themes in painting, sculpture, architecture and music. Poets, playwrights and novelists have produced masterpieces drawing from religious sources and ideas. Many prominent historians, psychologists, anthropologists and sociologists focus on religious issues and questions. Religious Studies is uniquely positioned to enhance and support interdisciplinary work. The great advantage in our interdisciplinary program is that you can partake of all of these disciplines as you focus on the study of religion.


Do I have to take RELIG 102/103 in order to major or minor in Religious Studies?

Majors and honors students are required to take RELIG 102/103, minors students are not. RELIG 102/103 are valuable undergraduate courses, and offer an excellent introduction to world religions and their practices. They are designed to interest and inform a wide range of students at the U of A.

Which courses are required for majors, minors, and honors students?

All majors and honors students must take RELIG 102, RELIG 103, and RELIG 375. Honors students must also take RELIG 499. Besides these specific and mandatory courses, there is a range of courses to choose from to fulfill general area requirements. These choices are found in the University Calendar. Area coverage includes western religions, eastern religions and traditions, and thematic areas. Consult with our web site or our Program Advisor for possible additions and updates to the Calendar list.

What other courses can count toward my major/minor in Religious Studies? How are they approved for credit if another department or program offers them? 

There are a number of courses "cross-listed" with Religious Studies. These cross-listed courses may also be taken as credit toward the major/minor in religious studies. They are designated in this website’s section on courses and in the Calendar’s outline of requirements. However, students wishing to have a cross-listed course count toward the major/minor are reminded of their responsibility to notify the Office of Student Services. According to the Calendar:

Courses listed in more than one major/minor are known as cross-listed courses.The use of cross-listed courses is especially common in interdisciplinary programs (East Asian Studies; Film Studies; International Studies; Middle Eastern and African Studies; Native Studies; Science Technology and Society; Women's Studies), but is becoming increasingly common in other areas also (e.g. Religious Studies). Unless otherwise notified by the student, the Undergraduate Student Services Office will apply cross-listed courses to the specific subject discipline. For example, a Classics course cross-listed with Religious Studies will apply to the Classics major or minor unless the student has advised the Undergraduate Student Services Office in writing that it should apply to the Religious Studies portion of his or her program. When students request that a cross-listed course be applied to their other subject of concentration, that course may then be applied to the minimums and maximums for that other subject.


I want to take an “independent study” or “directed reading” course in an area of interest to me. How do I do that?

Please note that courses such as “RELIG 480 Directed Reading in Religious Studies” are not regular curricular offerings. Enrollment in an independent study or directed reading course requires previous consultation with a continuing, full-time faculty member in the Faculty of Arts, who has agreed to take on the additional duty of offering such highly specialized instruction. If a student should find a faculty member with expertise in the area of religious studies pertaining to the particular subject of interest, and that faculty member agrees to offer the course in addition to her or his regular teaching duties, then a Consent Form indicating approval from the instructor/program coordinator will be needed. If no prior arrangement with a permanent faculty member has been made, then this is not a course you can take.


I am/will be a transfer student. Does a course I previously took or will take at another institution count as credit toward a minor/major in religious studies at U of A?

The Undergraduate Advisor for the program in Religious Studies can make no “official” ruling on whether such courses can count. These decisions are made by the admissions team once you apply to the program and pay your application fee. If you are transferring from another institution in Alberta, you can use the Alberta Government ALIS website database to assess transfer credit from one Alberta post-secondary education institution to another.


Do I have enough credits for my major/minor in Religious Studies?

Especially when convocation time draws near, students should verify they have the required courses and have earned the credit needed to graduate with a minor or major in religious studies. Program requirements are published in the Calendar and the webpage for Religious Studies. Students can review their program online through BearTracks using the Academic Advisement tool. They can also request an in-person advisement appointment to do a program check with the Faculty of Arts Undergraduate Student Services. Students should do a program check at least once a year with the advisor in the Religious Studies program, or with the Faculty of Arts student services.


The course is full and I want to take it. What can I do?

Students are concerned when they find out their desired course has reached the enrollment limit and has been closed to further registration. Remember that before a class begins, there is much fluctuation in enrollment as students drop and add classes in the process of finalizing their schedules. Add your name to the watch list through BearTracks for the class you want, and diligently monitor your email for a notification when space opens up. If there are extenuating circumstances, and you cannot get into a class that you need for your program requirements, and you are nearing the end of your program, make an appointment with your advisor to explore your options. Be aware that different teaching departments have different enrollment requirements and permissions for the classes they offer. Your advisor can help direct you the correct person who is responsible for enrollments.


I want to appeal my grade—where should I go?

First, you should reflect calmly on the grade you have received along with the feedback on the assignment from your instructor. If, after much reflection, you still think there are legitimate grounds for an appeal, you should then make every effort to resolve the matter with the professor.

The process for registering complaints about marking or grading is outlined in the Calendar in the University Regulations > Academic Regulations > Evaluation Procedures and Grading system.