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College of Liberal Arts & Education

Religious Studies

Religions of the World

Religious Studies at Detroit Mercy

Religion is a fundamental aspect of the human experience. By studying religion, we develop an understanding of religious and cultural pluralism--important aspects for our global world. Detroit Mercy's Religious Studies Department is rooted in the context of the Jesuit and Mercy traditions and encourages the academic study of religion in a spirit of free intellectual inquiry.

"Religious Studies” is an umbrella designation covering multiple disciplines and various traditions. In terms of religious traditions, Religious Studies generally includes the study of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hindu traditions, Jainism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism, Shinto and more. In terms of disciplines, literary, historical, philosophical, linguistic, psychological, sociological, anthropological, and theological methods are used. The common element is the study of human activities and ideas influenced by and influencing religious traditions.

Undergraduate Programs

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    Major - Religious Studies

    Degree: Bachelor of Arts
    Major: Religious Studies

    Religious Studies is a flexible major, divided into five subject areas:

    • Contemporary Issues in Religion
    • World Religions
    • Biblical Studies
    • Christian Theology and Spirituality
    • Ethics

    Because of the University's roots in the Catholic tradition, there are many courses on Christian themes and developments. Students also receive broad exposure to other traditions such as Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism.

    To obtain this undergraduate degree, you must fulfill the requirements of the University core curriculum, the requirements for the 30-credit-hour program major and have completed a minimum of 126 credit hours.

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    Minor - Religious Studies

    Enhance Your University Experience with a Minor in Religious Studies
    Religions are at the core of cultures, and the study of religions is integral to understanding society. A deeper understanding of religious phenomena is a useful complement to any course of study or career path. The minor in Religious Studies consists of 18 credits, some of which are already required as part of the Core Curriculum.

    Given the multi-disciplinary and multicultural nature of Religious Studies, students who minor in Religious Studies enjoy flexibility regarding their course selection. The minor does not consist of one specific set of required courses, and students can easily tailor the minor program to suit their individual interests and to complement their majors.

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    Minor - Islamic Studies

    Explore the passions, purposes and ultimate priorities of a living faith and cultural tradition. The Islamic Studies minor offers an approach to the focused study of Islam and Muslims that examines principal beliefs, core values, practices and cultural expressions.

    Courses provide in-depth analyses of key themes employing the five C's for foreign faith learning (communication, cultures, communities, comparisons and connections). The program surveys insider as well as outsider views of Islam, creatively engages students in communications about cross-disciplinary topics, connects Islam with the sciences, identifies commonalities and distinct viewpoints, occasionally compares Islam with other monotheistic as well as monistic traditions and participates in diverse communities that are multi-ethnic, multi-vocal, multi-linguistic and transnational. Courses will examine creative Islam, controversial Islam, classical Islam and contemporary Islam.

    Visit our Islamic Studies page for more information.

Graduate Program

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    Religious Studies

    Degree: Master of Arts
    Major: Religious Studies
    Credits: 30

    Through Detroit Mercy's Master of Arts with a major in religious studies program, you will develop personal insight, intercultural literacy, scholarly research and critical analysis in areas of religious and theological inquiry. 

    You will work with a faculty advisor to design a plan of study which best meets your interests in one of four areas: Biblical Studies, Theology and Spirituality, Comparative Religions and Religion and Culture/Ethics.

    Your academic journey will take you through religious texts, provide a historical understanding of religions, see religion shape cultural contexts and spur an individual's search for meaning.


Meet Our Faculty

James B. Tubbs, Jr., Ph.D.
Professor of Religious Studies & Department Chair

J. Todd Hibbard, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Religious Studies

Hsiao-Lan Hu, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Women's & Gender Studies

Justin J. Kelly, S.J., Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Religious Studies

Jennifer Rike, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Religious Studies


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