Program Information


A minor in Religious Studies is an excellent way to broaden your education at Mount Royal University. Religion permeates all dimensions of life from politics to pop culture, from literature to law, from management to medicine.

A Minor in Religious Studies connects in various ways with every major area of study at the university.

The Religious Studies Minor is extremely flexible. Because of this, you are bound to find a Religious Studies course that will fit with your own academic schedule.

A total of eight courses are required for a Minor in Religious Studies. Of these eight courses:

You may take a maximum of three Religious Studies courses at the 1000 level.
You must take a minimum of two Religious Studies courses at the 3000 level or higher.
There are also several non-Religious Studies courses that can count toward the Minor: ANTH 2233, HIST 3383, HUMN 2297, and SLGY 2277.
For more information on the Minor in Religious Studies, contact Michael Hawley (, the Religious Studies Coordinator, or Rachel Doe (, the Arts advisor.
Curriculum & courses

Religious Studies is not theology. Theologians study the doctrines of their own religions, in a manner consistent with traditions within those religions. Religious Studies describes, analyzes, and interprets the world's religions and spiritualities. These include Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Chinese religions, contemplative systems (e.g. mysticism or meditation), indigenous religious traditions, as well as many others. The academic study of religion seeks to understand beliefs and practices, art and architecture, literature, organizational forms, music and media, ethics and laws, material artifacts and popular culture, and all the other dimensions of human life and society that are connected with religions. Religious Studies is a multidisciplinary field. We and our students approach our study of religions from a variety of disciplines, among them history, sociology, anthropology, literary criticism, music and art history, gender studies, economics, philosophy, political science, public policy, etc. Religious Studies utilizes established theories, but also proposes and assesses new theories about what religions are, how they originated, how they are distinctive, how they work, and how understanding them might help us in turn to better understand ourselves and others and the world we inhabit. arts_rels_BeautyPlus
More than a century ago, the philosopher Frederick Nietzsche proclaimed the death of religion. More recently, pessimism about the value of religions has been voiced by people as diverse as evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins and comedian Bill Maher. But all you have to do is look at the world's political events to see that religion is alive and well. It is often said that religion is a private affair and that we live in a religiously neutral, secular society, yet religions make themselves felt in virtually every aspect of public life. Whether you are strolling the streets of Chinatown or Little Punjab, enjoying Reggae- or Brazil-fest, celebrating Canada Day, or just browsing the web, you are in the presence of religions whether you recognize it or not. Canadians debate the place of religion in public schools, and many communities have established faith-based schools, supported by public funds. Legal decisions sanction or limit religious practices. Religion is central to how we think about such things as multiculturalism, citizenship, immigration, and democracy. Literature, film, and the arts are full of both direct appeals and allusions to religious ideas, people, and stories. More and more often, religious voices are included in discussions about the environment, economics, and globalization. The academic study of religion makes clear that the teachings of the world's religions and spiritualities have something positive to contribute to contemporary global challenges. Without an understanding of religions, we are not fully attuned to the society we live in and the world around us. Without an understanding of religions, our perspective is narrowed and our fact set incomplete. Whether as co-workers, clients, patients, friends, or in any other capacity, most of us will find ourselves engaged with people from religious and cultural backgrounds different from our own. Having some background in Religious Studies can make these daily interactions richer, lessen misunderstanding, and help to foster greater empathy. Knowledge of religions helps to make us more informed citizens and more fully aware human beings. The diversity of religions, their ability to motivate both the depth and heights of human actions, the sheer pervasiveness of religion in our daily lives, and the possible contributions of religions to contemporary global issues all make the study of religions an interesting and rewarding challenge.
Courses in Religious Studies are of two main kinds: tradition-based courses (single- and multi-tradition courses) and theme-based courses. Tradition-based courses introduce students to the histories Single-Tradition, practices, and teachings of the world's major religions. Theme-based courses examine a number of the social, cultural, philosophical, political, and psychological issues related to or arising from the study of religion.
Tradition-based courses
Single-Tradition Multi-Tradition
RELS 2215: World Christianity
RELS 2251: Sikhism
RELS 2252: Hinduism
RELS 2253: Christianity
RELS 2254: Islam
RELS 2255: Judaism
RELS 2279: Buddhism
RELS 3352: Topics in Hinduism
RELS 3353: Topics in Sikhism

RELS 3360: Topics in Christianity
RELS 1101: World Religions: Western
RELS 1103: World Religions: Eastern
RELS 2212: Religious Traditions of China
RELS 3305: Esotericism, Magic, and the Occult
RELS 3312: Religion in Contemporary East Asia
RELS 3322: Religion in the Americas
RELS 4403: Asian Religions in North America


Thematic courses
RELS 1104: Religion and Violence
RELS 1105: The Nature of Religion
RELS 2208: Religion and Popular Culture
RELS 2209: Religious Experience
RELS 2243: Good and Evil
RELS 2281: Women and Religion
RELS 3302: Selected Topics in Religion
RELS 3333: Death and the Afterlife
RELS 3378: Yoga and Meditation
RELS 4410: Religion and Public Life

Field Schools/Travel Courses Directed Reading Courses
New Courses in Development
RELS 2260: Sikh Studies Field School RELS 3199
RELS 4199
RELS 22xx: Religion and the Environment
RELS 22xx: Religion and Film
RELS 22xx: Religion and the Body