Religious studies is an interdisciplinary major that draws on courses from multiple departments to give students a broad understanding of the historical, cultural and philosophical principles of the world's religions, including Buddhism, Christianity, Classical Greek and Roman religions, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, African and Native-American religions. These diverse belief systems are studied not just for their influence over past generations but also to better understand their role in modern issues.
Religious Studies is not just for students planning to go on to become a priest, rabbi or minister. The program provides excellent preparation for all careers that require critical thinking, logic, analysis and writing skills. Because of the breadth of the subject matter, students graduate with a global perspective, an appreciation for different viewpoints and substantive knowledge about ethics and core belief systems of the past and present.
UWM students in Religious Studies take courses in history, anthropology, philosophy, political science, classics, art history, literature, and more. Many students also complement their major with studies in the foreign language since many religions have traditions and foundations in another language.
Students will also find a very active student organization - the Religious Studies Student Organization. The group brings in speakers and engages with the local community on scholarly topics of interest.
It often is possible to complete a double major in Religious Studies and another subject. This is the case particularly when a student already has undertaken the major in the other field but has credits in religion courses as well. The student often can take courses that count for both Religious Studies and the other major. Interested students should consult with the Program Director.
Course of Study – Bachelor of Arts Degree
Complete 120 credits including 90 credits in the College of Letters & Science and with 36 of the 90 credits in L&S upper-level (numbered above 300) courses. The College requires that students must complete in residence at UWM at least 15 credits in upper-division (numbered 300 or above) courses in their major. Students are also required to complete University-wide General Education Requirements and the specific L&S requirements listed below.
To complete a major, students must satisfy all the requirements of the major as stated in this catalog. Students who declare their majors within five years of entering the UW System as a degree candidate may satisfy the requirements outlined in any catalog issued since the time they entered. Credits used to satisfy the major also may be used to satisfy other degree requirements.
University General Education Requirements (GER)
|Oral and Written Communication|
|Achieve a grade of C or better in the following course:|
|ENGLISH 102||College Writing and Research (or equivalent)|
|Course designated as OWC-B; may be completed through a major-specific course requirement|
|Earn at least 3 credits with a grade of C or higher in one of the following courses or an equivalent course, or achieve a placement code of at least 30 on the mathematics placement test (or other appropriate test, as determined by the Mathematical Sciences Department)|
|Mathematical Literacy for College Students II|
|Contemporary Applications of Mathematics|
|Introduction to College Algebra|
|Algebraic Literacy II|
|Introduction to Logic - Critical Reasoning 1|
or PHILOS 111
|Introduction to Logic - Critical Reasoning|
Or equivalent course
|Course designated as QL-B; may be completed through a major-specific course requirement|
|Select 3 credits||3|
|Select 6 credits||6|
|Select 6 credits||6|
|Select 6 credits (at least two courses including one lab)||6|
|UWM Foreign Language Requirement|
|Complete Foreign Language Requirement through:|
Two years (high school) of a single foreign language
Two semesters (college) of a single foreign language
|UWM Cultural Diversity Requirement|
|One course from the Arts, Humanities, or Social Sciences must also satisfy UWM's Cultural Diversity requirement|
Math 111 and Philosophy 111 are jointly offered and count as repeats of one another. Students cannot receive credit for both courses.
College of Letters & Science Requirements
I. English Composition Requirement
Students must satisfy the English Composition Requirement with one of the following options:
1) Completing ENGLISH 102 with a grade of C or higher; or
2) by placing beyond ENGLISH 102 on the English Placement Test (EPT) (or other assessment as determined by the English Department); or
3) transferring a course of at least 2.5 equivalent credits from another institution that is equivalent to English 102, or a UWM higher-level expository writing course, with a grade of C or higher.
Note: This requirement is the same as the University General Education Requirement for Oral and Written Communication Part A. The College of Letters & Science does not have a specific requirement for a writing course beyond English 102, but students must complete the university-wide requirement for Oral and Written Communication Part B listed above.
II. Mathematics and Formal Reasoning
To satisfy the Mathematics and Formal Reasoning Requirement, students must satisfy the following two requirements:
1. Achieve a placement code of at least 30 on the mathematics placement test (or other appropriate test, as determined by the Mathematical Sciences Department) or earn at least 3 credits with a grade of C or higher in one of the following courses or an equivalent course:
|MATH 102||Mathematical Literacy for College Students II||3|
|MATH 103||Contemporary Applications of Mathematics||3|
|MATH 105||Introduction to College Algebra||3|
|MATH 108||Algebraic Literacy II||3|
|MATH 111||Introduction to Logic - Critical Reasoning 1||3|
|or PHILOS 111||Introduction to Logic - Critical Reasoning|
|MATH 116||College Algebra||3|
|MATH 175||Mathematical Explorations for Elementary Teachers I||3|
Math 111 and Philosophy 111 are jointly offered and count as repeats of one another. Students cannot receive credit for both courses.
Note: This requirement is the same as the University General Education Requirement for Quantitative Literacy Part A, listed above.
2. Complete one course (at least 3 credits) at the 200 level or above chosen from courses in Mathematics, PHILOS 211, or Letters and Science statistics courses:
|Complete one of the following:|
3 or more credits in any 200-level or above Math course
|Introduction to Statistics in African and African Diaspora Studies|
|Introduction to Anthropological Statistics|
|Quantitative Analysis in Geography|
|The Quantitative Analysis of Historical Data|
|Elementary Statistical Analysis|
|Political Data Analysis|
|Introduction to Statistical Thinking in Sociology|
Note: This requirement is NOT the same as the University General Education Requirement for Quantitative Literacy Part B. To complete the BA, students must take one of the L&S approved courses. Not all of the courses listed here will satisfy the QL-B requirement.
III. Foreign Language Requirement
Placement testing may be used to satisfy all or part of this requirement. Language courses (including American Sign Language) other than English taken in high school may be used to satisfy all or part of this requirement. One year of high school language equates to one semester of college work.
Completion of the L&S Language Requirement also satisfies the university-wide Foreign Language GER, but not vice versa.
|Completed in one of the following ways:||0-18|
Successful completion of the 4th semester of college work or equivalent in one language other than English (including American Sign Language)
Successful completion of the 3rd semester of college work or equivalent in one language other than English (including American Sign Language) PLUS the 2nd semester of college work or equivalent in another language other than English (including American Sign Language)
IV. International Requirement
See Approved Courses for the L&S International Requirement for course options.
|Completed in one of the following ways:||9|
Complete 3 courses (min. 9 cr) in a single foreign language (not including literature-in-translation or American Sign Language) at the 3rd semester level and above
Complete 3 non-language courses (min. 9 credits) with an international content chosen from at least 2 curricular areas.
Complete 9 credits in combination of the two options above.
V. Breadth Requirement
Along with completing the University General Education Requirements of 3 credits in the Arts (A); 6 credits in the Humanities (HU), Social Sciences (SS), and Natural Sciences (NS/NS+); and a course with the Cultural Diversity (CD/+) designation, L&S students must complete the Breadth requirement.
|Select 3 credits||3|
|Complete 12 credits of L&S courses with Humanities Breadth designation; no more than 6 credits from a single subject area. *||12|
|Complete 12 credits of L&S Courses with Social Science Breadth designation; no more than 6 credits from a single curricular area. *||12|
|Complete 12 credits of L&S Courses with Natural Sciences Breadth designation, including at least one laboratory or field course; no more than 6 credits from a single curricular area. *||12|
|Complete 3 credits in a course with Cultural Diversity (CD) designation. **||3|
Students should check their course selections carefully with the list of approved L&S Breadth Courses. Students are advised to select at least 6 credits worth of courses in each of the Humanities, Social Science, and Natural Sciences areas that can satisfy both the campus-wide General Education Requirements and the L&S Breadth requirement.
Students are advised to select a course that satisfies the Cultural Diversity requirement as well as a Humanities or Social Science breadth/GER requirement.
VI. The Major
The College of Letters and Science requires that students attain at least a 2.0 GPA in all credits in the major attempted at UWM. In addition, students must attain a 2.0 GPA on all major credits attempted, including any transfer work. Individual departments or programs may require higher GPAs for graduation. Some departmental majors require courses from other departments. Contact your major department for information on whether those credits will count as part of the major GPA. The College requires that students must complete in residence at UWM at least 15 credits in upper-division (numbered 300 or above) courses in their major.
Within their majors, students must complete a research experience approved by the L&S faculty. A list of courses satisfying the research requirement in each major can be found here.
VII. The Minor
The College of Letters and Science requires that students attain at least a 2.0 GPA in all credits in the minor attempted at UWM. In addition, students must attain a 2.0 GPA on all minor credits attempted, including any transfer work.
Religious Studies Major Requirements
The religious studies major requires completion of at least 33 credits, including at least 18 in upper-division courses (numbered 300 and above) of which at least 15 must be taken in residence at UWM. In satisfying these requirements, students must select courses from at least three different curricular areas. The College requires that students attain at least a 2.0 GPA on all major credits attempted at UWM. In addition, students must attain a 2.0 GPA on all major credits attempted, including any transfer work. The required 33 credits must be distributed as follows:
|The following is recommended:|
|Introduction to World Religions|
|Select one of the following:||3|
|Seminar in the Study of Religion: Theories of Religion (or equivalent)|
|Methods and Theory in the Historical Study of Religion: (or equivalent)|
|Required Capstone Experience 1|
|Select one of the following research options:||3|
|Seminar in History: (with research conducted on a religion-related topic)|
For students with additional major(s), upper-level research seminar in the additional major that focuses on a religion-related topic
A 3-credit independent study on a religion-related topic
Senior thesis in another program/department on a religion-related topic
Research paper focused on a religion-related topic as approved by the director
|Select 27 credits (see below)||27|
In all cases, the religious studies director must approve the topic to satisfy the research requirement. Majors are required to file the appropriate research/capstone approval form prior to completion of their research/capstone course.
All majors are required to complete at least 27 additional credits beyond the core courses. Nine elective credits must be distributed among three different religious traditions. A religious tradition course must focus primarily (more than 50%) on one specific religion. Twelve of these 27 credits must be numbered 300 or above.
|AFRIC 311||African Religious Thought and Social Organizations (Indigenous religions)||3|
|AFRIC 312||The Church in African-American Life (Christianity)||3|
|AIS 106||Anishinaabe Ethnobotany: Plants in Anishinaabe Philosophy||3|
|ANTHRO 203||Indigenous Religions (Indigenous religions)||3|
|ANTHRO 305||The Celtic World||3|
|ANTHRO 314||American Indian Societies and Cultures (Indigenous religions)||3|
|ANTHRO 326||Peoples and Cultures of South Asia||3|
|ANTHRO 351||Anthropological Theories of Religion||3|
|ANTHRO 543||Cross-Cultural Study of Religion||3|
|ANTHRO 544||Religious Giving in Anthropological Perspective||3|
|ARABIC 111||Cultures and Civilizations of the Muslim Middle East (Islam)||3|
|ARABIC 390||Islam: Religion and Culture (Islam)||3|
|ARTHIST 101||Ancient and Medieval Art and Architecture||3|
|ARTHIST 102||Renaissance to Modern Art and Architecture||3|
|ARTHIST 104||African, New World and Oceanic Art and Architecture||3|
|ARTHIST 105||Asian Art and Architecture||3|
|ARTHIST 237||Northern Renaissance Art||3|
|ARTHIST 241||Introduction to Baroque Art||3|
|ARTHIST 251||Introduction to the Art and Architecture of Latin America||3|
|ARTHIST 255||Survey of Italian Renaissance Painting and Sculpture||3|
|ARTHIST 270||Pre-Columbian Art, Myth, and Legacy (Indigenous religions)||3|
|ARTHIST 281||Modern and Contemporary Chinese Art||3|
|ARTHIST 312||Minoan and Mycenaean Art and Archaeology||3|
|ARTHIST 314||Art and Archaeology of the Ancient Near East||3|
|ARTHIST 315||Art and Archaeology of Ancient Egypt (Indigenous religions)||3|
|ARTHIST 316||Roman Art and Archaeology (Indigenous religions)||3|
|ARTHIST 324||Early Christian and Byzantine Art and Architecture (Christianity)||3|
|ARTHIST 325||Early Medieval Art in the West||3|
|ARTHIST 327||Caliphs, Emirs, & Kings: Art & Architecture of Medieval Spain (Islam)||3|
|ARTHIST 333||High Renaissance Art in Italy||3|
|ARTHIST 371||African Art (Indigenous religions)||3|
|ARTHIST 372||Art of the Inca and their Ancestors (Indigenous religions)||3|
|ARTHIST 373||Art of Ancient Mexico and Central America (Indigenous religions)||3|
|ARTHIST 375||Art of the Aztec Empire (Indigenous religions)||3|
|ARTHIST 382||Chinese Art and Architecture||3|
|ARTHIST 383||Japanese Art and Architecture||3|
|ARTHIST 386||Art, Ritual, and Ethnicity of China||3|
|ARTHIST 387||Buddhist Art and Architecture (Buddhism)||3|
|ARTHIST 412||Cities and Sanctuaries of Ancient Greece (Indigenous religions)||3|
|ARTHIST 425||The Age of Pilgrimage and Crusade: Romanesque Art and Architecture||3|
|ARTHIST 426||The Age of the Great Cathedrals: Gothic Art and Architecture||3|
|ARTHIST 431||Renaissance Architecture in Italy||3|
|ARTHIST 474||Maya Art (Indigenous religions)||3|
|ARTHIST 480||Chinese Painting||3|
|CELTIC 133||Celtic Crossings: Overview of the History and Cultures of the Celtic World||3|
|CLASSIC 170||Classical Mythology (Indigenous religions)||3|
|CLASSIC 201||Introduction to Greek Life and Literature||3|
|CLASSIC 202||Introduction to Roman Life and Literature||3|
|CLASSIC 274||Ancient Egyptian Civilization (Indigenous religions)||3|
|CLASSIC 301||The Life and Literature of Classical Athens: Herodotus and Dramatists||3|
|CLASSIC 302||War and Politics in Ancient Greece||3|
|CLASSIC 303||The Life and Literature of the Roman Empire||3|
|CLASSIC 351||Ancient Greek Religion (Indigenous religions)||3|
|CLASSIC 370||Hittite Myth and History (Indigenous religions)||3|
|CLASSIC 390||Egyptian Mythology (Indigenous religions)||3|
|COMPLIT 231||Literature and Religion:||3|
|ENGLISH 454||Milton (Christianity)||3|
|FLL 240||Vampires: From Slavic Village to Hollywood (Indigenous religions)||3|
|GEOG 231||Muslim Geographies: Identities and Politics (Islam)||3|
|GLOBAL 371||Rethinking Global Security||3|
|HEBREW 201||Third-Semester Hebrew (Judaism)||4|
|HEBREW 202||Fourth-Semester Hebrew (Judaism)||4|
|HEBREW 301||Modern Hebrew Literature I in Hebrew (Judaism)||3|
|HEBREW 302||Modern Hebrew Literature II in Hebrew (Judaism)||3|
|HIST 131||World History to 1500||3|
|HIST 175||East Asian Civilization to 1600||3|
|HIST 201||The Ancient World: The Near East and Greece (Buddhism)||3|
|HIST 202||The Ancient World: The Roman Republic and Empire||3|
|HIST 274||Ancient Egyptian Civilization (Indigenous religions)||3|
|HIST 280||Islamic Civilization: The Formative Period, ca. 500-1258 (Islam)||3|
|HIST 282||The Modern Middle East in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries||3|
|HIST 284||Buddhism Across Asia (Buddhism)||3|
|HIST 303||A History of Greek Civilization: The Greek City-State||3|
|HIST 304||A History of Greek Civilization: The Age of Alexander the Great (Indigenous religions)||3|
|HIST 307||A History of Rome: The Republic (Indigenous religions)||3|
|HIST 308||A History of Rome: The Empire (Indigenous religions)||3|
|HIST 318||Medieval Civilization: The High Middle Ages||3|
|HIST 319||The Era of the Crusades (Christianity)||3|
|HIST 329||The Roman Catholic Church, 1500 to the Present (Christianity)||3|
|HIST 330||The Papacy in History (Christianity)||3|
|HIST 358||The Jews of Modern Europe: History and Culture||3|
|HIST 364||The Holocaust: Anti-Semitism & the Fate of Jewish People in Europe, 1933-45||3|
|HIST 370||Topics in the History of Religious Thought:||3|
|HIST 379||Introduction to Jewish History||3|
|HIST 380||Buddhism: A Cultural History (Buddhism)||3|
|HIST 386||Africans in World History: Communities, Cultures, and Ideas||3|
|HIST 393||History of Mexico||3|
|HIST 452||History of Religion in American Life to 1870||3|
|HIST 453||History of Religion in American Life Since 1870||3|
|HIST 454||God at the Movies: American Religion in Fiction and Film||3|
|HIST 594||Methods and Theory in the Historical Study of Religion:||3|
|ITALIAN 333||Dante's Divine Comedy in Translation (Christianity)||3|
|JEWISH 100||Introduction to Judaism (Judaism)||3|
|JEWISH 101||Jewish Culture in America: History, Literature, Film (Judaism)||3|
|JEWISH 131||Introduction to Biblical Studies (Judaism)||3|
|JEWISH 230||Bible Stories (Judaism)||3|
|JEWISH 231||Introduction to the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible (Judaism)||3|
|JEWISH 232||Survey of the Literature of the Post-Biblical Period (Judaism)||3|
|JEWISH 234||Survey of Modern Hebrew and Jewish Literature in Translation (Judaism)||3|
|JEWISH 235||The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible (Judaism)||3|
|JEWISH 261||Representing the Holocaust in Words and Images (Judaism)||3|
|JEWISH 282||Jewish Identity in Contemporary America (Judaism)||3|
|JEWISH 331||Topics in Biblical Literature:||3|
|JEWISH 332||Women in the Bible (Judaism)||3|
|JEWISH 358||The Jews of Modern Europe: History and Culture (Judaism)||3|
|JEWISH 368||Jewish and Christian Responses to the Holocaust (Judaism)||3|
|JEWISH 379||Introduction to Jewish History (Judaism)||3|
|JEWISH 411||Old Testament Texts:||3|
|JEWISH 449||Modern Jewish Thought (Judaism)||3|
|LATIN 306||Readings in Latin Literature:||3|
|PHILOS 204||Introduction to Asian Religions||3|
|PHILOS 207||Religion and Science||3|
|PHILOS 250||God, Faith and Reason||3|
|PHILOS 350||Introduction to the Comparative Study of Religion||3|
|PHILOS 431||History of Medieval Philosophy (Christianity)||3|
|PHILOS 461||Islamic Philosophy and Mysticism (Islam)||3|
|PHILOS 474||Contemporary Religious Thought:||3|
|PHILOS 475||Special Topics in Indian Religious Thought:||3|
|POL SCI 215||Ethnicity, Religion and Race in American Politics||3|
|RUSSIAN 361||Russian and Slavic Folklore||3|
|WGS 300||Gender and Spirituality:||3|
Relevant language courses above the second semester will be counted as electives toward the Religious Studies major with approval of the coordinator. Students can take up to 10 credit hours of foreign language beyond the second semester if the language chosen is related to their future goals or research interests. Again, the use of such language courses as electives requires approval of the coordinator.
Religious Studies majors have the option of focusing their programs of studies on one or more religious traditions. To discuss this option, please contact Program Director David Divalerio at email@example.com
Letters & Science Advising
During your time at UWM, you may have multiple members of your success team, including advisors, peer mentors, and success coaches. Letters and Science students typically work with at least two different types of advisors as they pursue their degrees: professional College Advisors and Faculty Advisors. Departmental Faculty Advisors focus on the major while L&S College Advisors advise across your entire degree program.
College Advisors are located in Holton Hall and serve as your primary advisor. They are your point person for your questions about navigating college and completing your degree. College Advisors will:
- assist you in defining your academic and life goals;
- help you create an educational plan that is consistent with those goals;
- assist you in understanding curriculum, major and degree requirements for graduation, as well as university policies and procedures;
- provide you with information about campus and community resources and refer you to those resources as appropriate; and
- monitor your progress toward graduation and completion of requirements.
Faculty Advisors mentor students in the major and assist them in maximizing their development in the program. You will begin working with a Faculty Advisor when you declare your major. Faculty Advisors are an important partner and will:
- help you understand major requirements and course offerings in the department;
- explain opportunities for internships and undergraduate research and guide you in obtaining those experiences; and
- serve as an excellent resource as you consider potential graduate programs and career paths in your field.
Students are encouraged to meet with both their College Advisor and Faculty Advisor at least once each semester. Appointments are available in-person, by phone or by video.
Currently enrolled students should use the Navigate website to make an appointment with your assigned advisor or call (414) 229-4654 if you do not currently have an assigned Letters & Science advisor. Prospective students who haven't enrolled in classes yet should call (414) 229-7711 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
College of Letters and Science Dean's Honor List
GPA of 3.750 or above, earned on a full-time student's GPA on 12 or more graded credits in a given semester.
Honors College Degree and Honors College Degree with Distinction
Granted to graduating seniors who complete Honors College requirements, as listed in the Honors College section of this site.
Students with a cumulative GPA of 3.500 or above, based on a minimum of 40 graded UWM credits earned prior to the final semester, will receive all-university commencement honors and be awarded the traditional gold cord at the December or May Honors Convocation. Please note that for honors calculation, the GPA is not rounded and is truncated at the third decimal (e.g., 3.499).
Earned on a minimum of 60 graded UWM credits: Cum Laude - 3.500 or above; Magna Cum Laude - 3.650 or above; Summa Cum Laude - 3.800 or above.