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.
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|
|ENGLISH 102||College Writing and Research (or equivalent)|
|Course designated as OWC-B; may be completed through a major-specific course requirement|
|Select one of the following:|
|Contemporary Applications of Mathematics|
|Introduction to College Algebra|
|Algebraic Literacy II|
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|
College of Letters & Science Requirements
I. English Writing Requirement
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 Math Placement score of at least 30 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 175||Mathematical Explorations for Elementary Teachers I||3|
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|
|Statistical Methods in Atmospheric Sciences|
|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. 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: 1||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: 1||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 2.5 GPA in all credits in the major attempted at UWM. In addition, students must attain a 2.5 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.
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 2.500 GPA on all major credits attempted at UWM. In addition, students must attain a 2.500 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 region. Twelve of these 27 credits must be numbered 300 or above. The list of approved electives is posted on the program’s website.
Relevant language courses above the second semester will be counted as electives toward the Religious Studies major. Relevant languages depend on the student’s primary concentrations in religious studies but potentially include Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Greek, Latin, Hebrew, German, Spanish, French, Italian, or other languages with approval of the director. Majors must file the appropriate forms with the director to receive approval for language courses.
Religious Studies majors have the option of focusing their programs of studies on one or more religious traditions. To discuss this option, please contact the Program Director.
Letters & Science Advising
The College of Letters and Science provides general academic advising for all students with a major in the College, particularly as it relates to campus' general education requirements and the College's degree requirements. We also provide specialized advising for pre-professional students (pre-med, pre-dental, pre-pharmacy, etc.) regardless if their major is in Letters and Science or not. Prospective students, including high school students and students seeking to transfer to a program in Letters and Science may also receive advising from our admissions counselors.
Upon admission, students are assigned an advisor in the College advising office. Academic advising is available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. by appointment. Appointments outside of these times may be available and phone appointments are available for online students. The advising office is located on the first floor of Holton Hall. Current students should call (414) 229-4654 to schedule an appointment or use the Student Success Collaborative website to make an appointment with your assigned advisor; online scheduling is only available if you already have a Letters & Science advisor assigned to you. Prospective students should call (414) 229-7711 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
When students declare a major, they will receive an additional faculty advisor located within the major department who will assist with requirements for that major. Students should read the "Declaration of Major" information on the website of the major that they are interested in. In some cases, the student will need to choose a faculty advisor as part of the declaration process.
All students are cautioned to consult their Letters & Science academic advisor AND their major advisor prior to each registration period to ensure they understand all requirements. Do not rely on pre-printed sample plans, as they are intended to be samples only and may not be right for your particular situation.
Honors in the 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 Degree and Honors Degree with Thesis
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. In schools and colleges in which fewer than 15% of the traditional students have a 3.500 GPA, all-university honors will be awarded to approximately the top 15% of graduating students. A criterion GPA (not lower than 3.200) for this 15% will be calculated based on statistics from the previous comparable semester. 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.