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.

Double Major

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.

Requirements

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
Part A
Achieve a grade of C or better in the following course:
ENGLISH 102College Writing and Research (or equivalent)
Part B
Course designated as OWC-B; may be completed through a major-specific course requirement
Quantitative Literacy
Part A
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
Introduction to Logic - Critical Reasoning
College Algebra
Or equivalent course
Part B
Course designated as QL-B; may be completed through a major-specific course requirement
Arts
Select 3 credits3
Humanities
Select 6 credits6
Social Sciences
Select 6 credits6
Natural Sciences
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
Or equivalent
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 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 102Mathematical Literacy for College Students II3
MATH 103Contemporary Applications of Mathematics3
MATH 105Introduction to College Algebra3
MATH 108Algebraic Literacy II3
MATH 111Introduction to Logic - Critical Reasoning 13
or PHILOS 111 Introduction to Logic - Critical Reasoning
MATH 116College Algebra3
MATH 175Mathematical Explorations for Elementary Teachers I3

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
Biostatistics
Economic Statistics
Quantitative Analysis in Geography
The Quantitative Analysis of Historical Data
Elementary Statistical Analysis
Elementary Logic
Political Data Analysis
Survey Research
Psychological Statistics
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.

Arts
Select 3 credits3
Humanities
Complete 12 credits of L&S courses with Humanities Breadth designation; no more than 6 credits from a single subject area. *12
Social Sciences
Complete 12 credits of L&S Courses with Social Science Breadth designation; no more than 6 credits from a single curricular area. *12
Natural Sciences
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
Cultural Diversity
Complete 3 credits in a course with Cultural Diversity (CD) designation. **3

 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.

Research Requirement

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:

Core
Recommended
The following is recommended:
Introduction to World Religions
Required Methods
Select one of the following:3
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
Electives
Select 27 credits (see below)27
Total Credits33

Electives

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 311African Religious Thought and Social Organizations (Indigenous religions)3
AFRIC 312The Church in African-American Life (Christianity)3
AIS 106Anishinaabe Ethnobotany: Plants in Anishinaabe Philosophy3
ANTHRO 203Indigenous Religions (Indigenous religions)3
ANTHRO 305The Celtic World3
ANTHRO 314American Indian Societies and Cultures (Indigenous religions)3
ANTHRO 326Peoples and Cultures of South Asia3
ANTHRO 351Anthropological Theories of Religion3
ANTHRO 543Cross-Cultural Study of Religion3
ANTHRO 544Religious Giving in Anthropological Perspective3
ARABIC 111Cultures and Civilizations of the Muslim Middle East (Islam)3
ARTHIST 101Ancient and Medieval Art and Architecture3
ARTHIST 102Renaissance to Modern Art and Architecture3
ARTHIST 104African, New World and Oceanic Art and Architecture3
ARTHIST 105Asian Art and Architecture3
ARTHIST 237Northern Renaissance Art3
ARTHIST 241Introduction to Baroque Art3
ARTHIST 251Introduction to the Art and Architecture of Latin America3
ARTHIST 255Survey of Italian Renaissance Painting and Sculpture3
ARTHIST 270Pre-Columbian Art, Myth, and Legacy (Indigenous religions)3
ARTHIST 281Modern and Contemporary Chinese Art3
ARTHIST 312Minoan and Mycenaean Art and Archaeology3
ARTHIST 314Art and Archaeology of the Ancient Near East3
ARTHIST 315Art and Archaeology of Ancient Egypt (Indigenous religions)3
ARTHIST 316Roman Art and Archaeology (Indigenous religions)3
ARTHIST 324Early Christian and Byzantine Art and Architecture (Christianity)3
ARTHIST 325Early Medieval Art in the West3
ARTHIST 327Caliphs, Emirs, & Kings: Art & Architecture of Medieval Spain (Islam)3
ARTHIST 333High Renaissance Art in Italy3
ARTHIST 371African Art (Indigenous religions)3
ARTHIST 372Art of the Inca and their Ancestors (Indigenous religions)3
ARTHIST 373Art of Ancient Mexico and Central America (Indigenous religions)3
ARTHIST 375Art of the Aztec Empire (Indigenous religions)3
ARTHIST 382Chinese Art and Architecture3
ARTHIST 383Japanese Art and Architecture3
ARTHIST 386Art, Ritual, and Ethnicity of China3
ARTHIST 387Buddhist Art and Architecture (Buddhism)3
ARTHIST 412Cities and Sanctuaries of Ancient Greece (Indigenous religions)3
ARTHIST 425The Age of Pilgrimage and Crusade: Romanesque Art and Architecture3
ARTHIST 426The Age of the Great Cathedrals: Gothic Art and Architecture3
ARTHIST 431Renaissance Architecture in Italy3
ARTHIST 474Maya Art (Indigenous religions)3
ARTHIST 480Chinese Painting3
CELTIC 133Celtic Crossings: Overview of the History and Cultures of the Celtic World3
CLASSIC 170Classical Mythology (Indigenous religions)3
CLASSIC 201Introduction to Greek Life and Literature3
CLASSIC 202Introduction to Roman Life and Literature3
CLASSIC 274Ancient Egyptian Civilization (Indigenous religions)3
CLASSIC 301The Life and Literature of Classical Athens: Herodotus and Dramatists3
CLASSIC 302War and Politics in Ancient Greece3
CLASSIC 303The Life and Literature of the Roman Empire3
CLASSIC 351Ancient Greek Religion (Indigenous religions)3
CLASSIC 370Hittite Myth and History (Indigenous religions)3
CLASSIC 390Egyptian Mythology (Indigenous religions)3
COMPLIT 231Literature and Religion:3
ENGLISH 454Milton (Christianity)3
FLL 240Vampires: From Slavic Village to Hollywood (Indigenous religions)3
GEOG 231Muslim Geographies: Identities and Politics (Islam)3
GLOBAL 371Rethinking Global Security3
HEBREW 201Third-Semester Hebrew (Judaism)4
HEBREW 202Fourth-Semester Hebrew (Judaism)4
HEBREW 301Modern Hebrew Literature I in Hebrew (Judaism)3
HEBREW 302Modern Hebrew Literature II in Hebrew (Judaism)3
HIST 131World History to 15003
HIST 175East Asian Civilization to 16003
HIST 201The Ancient World: The Near East and Greece (Buddhism)3
HIST 202The Ancient World: The Roman Republic and Empire3
HIST 274Ancient Egyptian Civilization (Indigenous religions)3
HIST 280Islamic Civilization: The Formative Period, ca. 500-1258 (Islam)3
HIST 282The Modern Middle East in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries3
HIST 284Buddhism Across Asia (Buddhism)3
HIST 303A History of Greek Civilization: The Greek City-State3
HIST 304A History of Greek Civilization: The Age of Alexander the Great (Indigenous religions)3
HIST 307A History of Rome: The Republic (Indigenous religions)3
HIST 308A History of Rome: The Empire (Indigenous religions)3
HIST 318Medieval Civilization: The High Middle Ages3
HIST 319The Era of the Crusades (Christianity)3
HIST 329The Roman Catholic Church, 1500 to the Present (Christianity)3
HIST 330The Papacy in History (Christianity)3
HIST 358The Jews of Modern Europe: History and Culture3
HIST 364The Holocaust: Anti-Semitism & the Fate of Jewish People in Europe, 1933-453
HIST 370Topics in the History of Religious Thought:3
HIST 379Introduction to Jewish History3
HIST 380Buddhism: A Cultural History (Buddhism)3
HIST 386Africa: The Age of Empires to 18803
HIST 393History of Mexico3
HIST 452History of Religion in American Life to 18703
HIST 453History of Religion in American Life Since 18703
HIST 594Methods and Theory in the Historical Study of Religion:3
ITALIAN 333Dante's Divine Comedy in Translation (Christianity)3
JEWISH 100Introduction to Judaism (Judaism)3
JEWISH 101Jewish Culture in America: History, Literature, Film (Judaism)3
JEWISH 131Introduction to Biblical Studies (Judaism)3
JEWISH 230Bible Stories (Judaism)3
JEWISH 231Introduction to the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible (Judaism)3
JEWISH 232Survey of the Literature of the Post-Biblical Period (Judaism)3
JEWISH 234Survey of Modern Hebrew and Jewish Literature in Translation (Judaism)3
JEWISH 235The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible (Judaism)3
JEWISH 261Representing the Holocaust in Words and Images (Judaism)3
JEWISH 282Jewish Identity in Contemporary America (Judaism)3
JEWISH 331Topics in Biblical Literature:3
JEWISH 332Women in the Bible (Judaism)3
JEWISH 358The Jews of Modern Europe: History and Culture (Judaism)3
JEWISH 368Jewish and Christian Responses to the Holocaust (Judaism)3
JEWISH 379Introduction to Jewish History (Judaism)3
JEWISH 411Old Testament Texts:3
JEWISH 449Modern Jewish Thought (Judaism)3
LATIN 306Readings in Latin Literature:3
PHILOS 204Introduction to Asian Religions3
PHILOS 207Religion and Science3
PHILOS 250God, Faith and Reason3
PHILOS 350Introduction to the Comparative Study of Religion3
PHILOS 431History of Medieval Philosophy (Christianity)3
PHILOS 461Islamic Philosophy and Mysticism (Islam)3
PHILOS 474Contemporary Religious Thought:3
PHILOS 475Special Topics in Indian Religious Thought:3
POL SCI 215Ethnicity, Religion and Race in American Politics3
RUSSIAN 361Russian and Slavic Folklore3
WGS 300Gender 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.

Optional Concentration

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 divaleri@uwm.edu

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 Navigate 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 let-sci@uwm.edu.

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 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.

Commencement Honors

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).

Final Honors

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.