GOALS AND OBJECTIVES for the RELIGIOUS STUDIES MAJOR

These Goals and Objectives were part of the successful proposal for a Major in Religious Studies at the University of Wyoming.

 

Goals for a Religious Studies Major

 

A student who majors in Religious Studies at the University of Wyoming will be able to…

 

1) Describe several world religions and compare their key features.

 

2) Delineate how scholars have variously defined Religion and its key components, evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of those definitions, and discuss the methodologies arising from the definitions.

 

3) Analyze how a religion’s components interact with the culture to which it belongs, explaining how it shapes and is shaped by the surrounding society.

 

4) Use standard, neutral, scholarly terminology in describing and analyzing religions. This includes being able to speak and write about religions neutrally, without prescription or prejudice, without advocacy or polemics.

 

Assessable Objectives for a Religious Studies Major

 

A student who majors in Religious Studies at the University of Wyoming will be able to…

 

1) Describe several world religions and compare their key features.

A. Delineate the key features of a religion and discuss how they interact.

B. Describe and compare the key features of five world religions.

C. Explain in detail how the key features compare in two world religions.

 

2) Delineate how scholars have variously defined Religion and its key components, evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of those definitions, and discuss the methodologies arising from the definitions.

A. Articulate how different scholars have defined “religion,” and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of those definitions.

B. Explain how the definitions relate to the characteristics of the world’s actual religions.

C. Demonstrate understanding of different theories of what constitutes a religion and how those theories relate to actual religions.

D. Articulate how different definitions and/or theories provide different insights into real-world religions.

 

3) Analyze how a religion’s components interact with the culture to which it belongs, explaining how it shapes and is shaped by the surrounding society.

A. Articulate how religions shape aspects of people’s everyday lives. Discuss aspects such as: family organization and relationships, social structure, food choices, clothing choices, ethical behavior, or gender roles.

B. Describe how religions interact with popular culture (as evidenced by literature, visual arts, film, music, TV, the Internet, etc.) and how that interaction functions to influence public opinion and belief.

C. Explain how religions are shaped by non-religious aspects of everyday practice, popular culture, and public debates.

 

4) Use standard, neutral, scholarly terminology in describing and analyzing religions. This includes being able to speak and write about religions neutrally, without prescription or prejudice, advocacy or polemics.

A. Know and use the academic and analytical terminology developed by the field of Religious Studies.

B. Use neutral, descriptive terminology in papers, speeches and class discussions.

C. Communicate about religions without using language indicating preferences or dislikes, pro or con.

D. Articulate how the academic study of religions focuses on the way religions impact societies, cultures, and individuals, rather than on truth claims.