The Department of Religious Studies Announces Changes in the Requirements for its Major and Minor
The requirements for Religious Studies majors and minors who enter SMU in the Fall 2011 and subsequent semesters will be slightly different from the requirements familiar to students already enrolled at SMU.
How do the changes affect students who enrolled at SMU before Fall 2011?
For many of those students, not at all. Students already at SMU in 2010-2011 can opt to remain under the old curriculum and complete their programs of study according to its requirements. They do, however, have the option to adopt the new curriculum if they desire. Doing so is particularly advantageous for minors, since the new minor has no specific required courses (see below).
How is the new major different from the previous version?
As with the previous curriculum, the new major will require 30 credit hours, 24 of them numbered 3000 or above. The specific courses required in the new curriculum are slightly different than those in the old.
In the OLD curriculum, majors were required to take:
1) either RELI 3306: Introduction to Hinduism or RELI 3307: Introduction to Buddhism;
2) either RELI 3319: Introduction to the Hebrew Bible or RELI 3326: Introduction to the New Testament.
In the NEW curriculum, majors will be required to take:
1) either RELI 3319: Introduction to the Hebrew Bible or RELI 3326: Introduction to the New Testament;
2) either RELI 3306: Introduction to Hinduism, RELI 3307: Introduction to Buddhism, or RELI 3378: Religions of China;
3) an additional course in non-western or comparative religions, drawn from the following:
- RELI 3306: Introduction to Hinduism
- RELI 3307: Introduction to Buddhism
- RELI 3352: Love and Death in Ancient Mythology
- RELI 3365: Understanding the Self: East and West
- RELI 3368: Wholeness and Holiness: Religion and Healing across Cultures
- RELI 3375: Wives, Mothers, Lovers, Queens: Expressions of the Feminine Divine in World Religions and Cultures
- RELI 3377: Cultural History of Tibet
- RELI 3378: Religions of China
- RELI 3382: Mysticism: East and West
- RELI 3384: Hinduism and Colonial Encounters
- RELI 3386: Myths, Epics, and Tales from Ancient India
What is the purpose of the revised major?
The revised major thus retains the department's longstanding Bible requirement (1), a reflection of that text's cultural significance in Western contexts. It broadens the options available to students to meet the requirement of an upper-level survey of an Asian religious tradition or cluster of traditions (2) by adding Religions of China. It creates a new requirement (3) that helps ensure that each student's plan of study will be well-rounded in terms of the traditions and geographical regions studied. Requirements 1 and 3 require distinct courses; students may not count a single course toward both requirements.
How is the new minor different from the old?
The new curriculum, like the previous one, requires 15 hours, 9 of them numbered 3000 or above. Unlike the earlier curriculum, which required students to take either RELI 3306: Introduction to Hinduism, RELI 3307: Introduction to Buddhism, RELI 3319: Introduction to the Hebrew Bible or RELI 3326: Introduction to the New Testament, the new minor has no specific required courses. This will give minors an even greater ability to tailor their plans of study to individual needs and interests.