Visit majormaps.vcu.edu for the online version with links.
Sponsored by the Office of the Provost
Major map compass icon
2019-2020

Religious studies

College of Humanities and Sciences

 
Program description

The Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies provides students with knowledge of the nature, history, diversity and common themes that characterize religious traditions. The study of humanity's diverse and developing religious traditions is vital to understanding what it means to be human and how to live wisely as members of the world community. The curriculum offers students the opportunity to study Eastern and Western traditions and to explore the artistic, ethical, literary, psychological and social dimensions of religions, as well as the relationship between religious ideas, institutions, and practices and gender, sexuality, race, nationality, health, social justice, human rights and nature.

Combining classroom-focused and community-based learning through study-abroad programs, internships, and community research, the program provides students with opportunities to study lived religions and participate in the work of building a truly multi-religious democracy that supports religious understanding and collaboration to address such issues as socio-economic empowerment and environmental protection.

Career opportunities

Religious Studies emphasizes excellence in written, oral and visual interpretation and communication, critical thinking, informed dialogue, cross-cultural understanding, the ability to see the world from diverse perspectives, and global citizenship. In so doing, the program provides students with an abundance of knowledge and skills that are highly appreciated and sought by businesses, government institutions and agencies, and non-profit organizations that are comprised of and engage with diverse individuals and communities. A degree in Religious Studies strengthens students’ capacity to empathize with others and to facilitate meaningful dialogue to build stronger, more cohesive communities. Students will find opportunities for work in social justice organizational management, leadership, and advocacy; humanitarian relief; refugee assistance; research analyst for organizations and institutions that focus on barriers to and support for development, democracy, human rights, and environmental restoration, preservation, and protection; international cultural ambassadorship and cultural affairs; international journalism, reporting, communications; global business affairs; civil rights and legal aid/advocacy. We encourage students to double-major in Religious Studies and one of the other majors degrees in the School of World Studies: Anthropology, Foreign Languages or International Studies, as doing so strengthens their cumulative knowledge, experience, academic record and resume for success in whatever path they choose after graduation.


Bachelor-level job titles
  • Blogger/Vlogger
  • Community and Social Service Specialist
  • Community Health Worker
  • Director of Youth Ministry
  • Director, Religious Activities and Education
  • Funeral Director
  • Market Research Analyst or Marketing Specialist
  • Paralegal and Legal Assistant
  • Regional Planning Aide
  • Religion Teacher, Postsecondary
  • RELS Professional Organization Staff
  • Social and Human Service Assistant
Graduate and professional level job titles
  • College Professor
  • Higher Education Administrator
  • Nonprofit Director
  • Religious Leader, Clergy, or Chaplain
Degree requirements in Bulletin
Plan of study in Bulletin
Highest level of math required
  • MATH 131
Science required
  • Core only
Foreign language requirements
  • Yes
Additional tuition/fees
  • No
GPA requirements (to progress/graduate in the major)
Department name:
School of World Studies
Building/room location:
312 North Shafer Street
Campus (where 75% of courses are taken):
Monroe park
Phone:
(804) 827-1111
Email:
info-sws@vcu.edu

Major map compass icon
Major map

Explore
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor to review your CSI self-report, start goal planning, and to discuss tutoring, electives, & degree progression.
  • Take a tour to learn about library spaces, services, & how to get research help.
  • Map out a 4-year course plan in Degree Works' Student Educational Planner.
  • Attend Ready, Set, Go – Sophomore Transition Experience.  
  • Take RELS 108.
  • Take a foreign language through the 102 level.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE

Experience
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Get familiar with the research process with the VCU Libraries Research Basics Guide. Ask questions about how to use the library.
  • Schedule an appointment with your advisor and explore minors, certificates, and skills-based value added courses.  
  • Talk to your professors about research interests, picking future classes, and strategies for success in your program.
  • Take core courses: RELS 311, 312, and 340.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Consider short-term, semester and year-long Study Abroad opportunities.
  • Get to know other VCU students and meet new friends from all over the world at a monthly Global Café.
  • Join a cultural or identity-related organization.
  • Interact with diverse religious traditions in the greater Richmond community.
  • Continue taking foreign language courses to enhance marketability in global workplace.
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
  • Attend the SWS Student Research Conference and other Internationally-focused events.
  • Complete a “Gap Analysis” Strategic Plan with your academic or career advisor.
  • Gain practical experience related to career goals through internships, shadowing, part-time work, or independent skill building.
  • Create an ePortfolio to document academic/professional experiences, accomplishments, and reflections.
  • Attend Career & Internship Fairs and other professional development events. 
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Get plugged into VCULink to connect with students and alumni.
  • Conduct informational interviews or shadow someone in a field of career interest.
  • Consider who you would ask to serve as professional and academic references for future letters of recommendation.   
  • Meet with a coach at The Money Spot to set financial goals, understand student loans, and create spending plans.
  • Attend Career & Internship Fairs throughout the year to explore your interests.

Experience
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • See your academic and career advisors regularly to discuss your progress towards graduation and career planning.
  • Enhance your business, software, technology and creative skills using LinkedIn Learning.
  • Deepen your expertise at finding information in your discipline by working with your subject expert librarian & using research guides.
  • Start developing World ePass portfolio.
  • Students considering graduate school should discuss research projects with SWS faculty.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Actively develop your communication and interpersonal skills for future work on multidisciplinary and multicultural teams.
  • Apply to be a Diversity Ambassador with the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs.
  • Richmond is known for hosting a wide array of festivals! Learn about new cultures, food, and music by attending one of these events.
  • Participate in summer or semester-length internship or service-learning experience abroad.
  • Attend OMSA Social Justice Conference.
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Talk to advisors, faculty, and career services about graduate school versus a job.
  • Research graduate/professional schools at least 1 year in advance of deadlines. Study for and complete any exams the summer before senior year. 
  • Prepare for job offer negotiation by researching salaries, benefits, and other opportunities for flexibility.

Excel
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor a semester before your anticipated graduation to ensure all graduation requirements will be met. 
  • Take RELS 490 Senior Capstone.
  • Complete the experiential learning requirement (either credit-bearing or volunteer).
  • Complete World ePass by middle of final semester.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Read scholarly articles about diversity in your field.
  • Reflect on your own cultural competency, and be prepared to answer interview questions that outline how you have worked with diverse populations.
  • Develop communication and interpersonal skills for future work on diverse teams.
  • Attend Office of Multicultural Student Affairs events.
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
  • Complete the experiential learning requirement (either credit-bearing or volunteer).
  • Reflect on the experiential learning you have engaged in thus far, and discuss with current or potential mentors (peers, faculty, advisors, alumni, professionals).
  • Continue to engage in research to create more content for your ePortfolio.
  • Present your research at conference/meeting such as UROP Undergraduate Research Symposium or other conferences. 
  • Gain practical experience through internships, externships and skill building.
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Complete exams, applications, or self-marketing activities for after graduation.
  • Network, Network, Network!
  • Research prospective employers and create a job or graduate school search strategy at least 8 months before graduation.
  • Have a personal statement or cover letter reviewed and do a mock interview at VCU Career Services. 
  • Engage with the VCU Alumni Association at Grad Fair, Grad Bash, and by joining a VCULink Industry Network and alumni chapter as you prepare to graduate.
Visit majormaps.vcu.edu for the online version with links.
Sponsored by the Office of the Provost
Major map compass icon
2019-2020

Religious studies

College of Humanities and Sciences

Concentration(s):
No concentration
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE GET REAL EXPERIENCE PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
Explore Year 1
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor to review your CSI self-report, start goal planning, and to discuss tutoring, electives, & degree progression.
  • Take a tour to learn about library spaces, services, & how to get research help.
  • Map out a 4-year course plan in Degree Works' Student Educational Planner.
  • Attend Ready, Set, Go – Sophomore Transition Experience.  
  • Take RELS 108.
  • Take a foreign language through the 102 level.
Experience Year 2
  • Get familiar with the research process with the VCU Libraries Research Basics Guide. Ask questions about how to use the library.
  • Schedule an appointment with your advisor and explore minors, certificates, and skills-based value added courses.  
  • Talk to your professors about research interests, picking future classes, and strategies for success in your program.
  • Take core courses: RELS 311, 312, and 340.
  • Consider short-term, semester and year-long Study Abroad opportunities.
  • Get to know other VCU students and meet new friends from all over the world at a monthly Global Café.
  • Join a cultural or identity-related organization.
  • Interact with diverse religious traditions in the greater Richmond community.
  • Continue taking foreign language courses to enhance marketability in global workplace.
  • Attend the SWS Student Research Conference and other Internationally-focused events.
  • Complete a “Gap Analysis” Strategic Plan with your academic or career advisor.
  • Gain practical experience related to career goals through internships, shadowing, part-time work, or independent skill building.
  • Create an ePortfolio to document academic/professional experiences, accomplishments, and reflections.
  • Attend Career & Internship Fairs and other professional development events. 
  • Get plugged into VCULink to connect with students and alumni.
  • Conduct informational interviews or shadow someone in a field of career interest.
  • Consider who you would ask to serve as professional and academic references for future letters of recommendation.   
  • Meet with a coach at The Money Spot to set financial goals, understand student loans, and create spending plans.
  • Attend Career & Internship Fairs throughout the year to explore your interests.
Year 3
  • See your academic and career advisors regularly to discuss your progress towards graduation and career planning.
  • Enhance your business, software, technology and creative skills using LinkedIn Learning.
  • Deepen your expertise at finding information in your discipline by working with your subject expert librarian & using research guides.
  • Start developing World ePass portfolio.
  • Students considering graduate school should discuss research projects with SWS faculty.
  • Actively develop your communication and interpersonal skills for future work on multidisciplinary and multicultural teams.
  • Apply to be a Diversity Ambassador with the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs.
  • Richmond is known for hosting a wide array of festivals! Learn about new cultures, food, and music by attending one of these events.
  • Participate in summer or semester-length internship or service-learning experience abroad.
  • Attend OMSA Social Justice Conference.
  • Talk to advisors, faculty, and career services about graduate school versus a job.
  • Research graduate/professional schools at least 1 year in advance of deadlines. Study for and complete any exams the summer before senior year. 
  • Prepare for job offer negotiation by researching salaries, benefits, and other opportunities for flexibility.
Excel Year 4
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor a semester before your anticipated graduation to ensure all graduation requirements will be met. 
  • Take RELS 490 Senior Capstone.
  • Complete the experiential learning requirement (either credit-bearing or volunteer).
  • Complete World ePass by middle of final semester.
  • Read scholarly articles about diversity in your field.
  • Reflect on your own cultural competency, and be prepared to answer interview questions that outline how you have worked with diverse populations.
  • Develop communication and interpersonal skills for future work on diverse teams.
  • Attend Office of Multicultural Student Affairs events.
  • Complete the experiential learning requirement (either credit-bearing or volunteer).
  • Reflect on the experiential learning you have engaged in thus far, and discuss with current or potential mentors (peers, faculty, advisors, alumni, professionals).
  • Continue to engage in research to create more content for your ePortfolio.
  • Present your research at conference/meeting such as UROP Undergraduate Research Symposium or other conferences. 
  • Gain practical experience through internships, externships and skill building.
  • Complete exams, applications, or self-marketing activities for after graduation.
  • Network, Network, Network!
  • Research prospective employers and create a job or graduate school search strategy at least 8 months before graduation.
  • Have a personal statement or cover letter reviewed and do a mock interview at VCU Career Services. 
  • Engage with the VCU Alumni Association at Grad Fair, Grad Bash, and by joining a VCULink Industry Network and alumni chapter as you prepare to graduate.