University of Dubuque

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Religion - Curriculum

The Department of Philosophy and Religion, in cooperation with the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, offers students a variety of courses to broaden their understanding of Christianity and other religions through academic, scholarly study. Religion courses also help students learn to think critically and carefully about religious beliefs and practices; to think reflectively about their own beliefs, and to develop skills in research and writing. UD undergraduates have the unique opportunity to take some religion courses from Seminary faculty. Although religion courses are an option for any undergraduate, those planning to pursue graduate work in theology will particularly benefit from the courses the program offers.

The Religion Major and Minor.

Students who wish to focus a part of their academic study on religion may earn either a major or a minor in religion. The religion major is designed to enable the student to gain 1) a general knowledge of church history; 2) a basic understanding of the central beliefs of the Christian faith; 3) familiarity with the Bible; 4) an awareness of basic principles of Christian ethics; 5) an exposure to the great religions of the world; 6) skills for academic study, research and writing in the field of religion.

A major in religion consists of 30 hours in religion, philosophy, theology and other related courses, including the following:

Six hours in the history of Christianity. Possible courses include:
REL 116 The Christian Movement; HT400 Early and Medieval Church; HT402 Reformation and Modern Church.

Three hours in Christian theology.
REL 115 Christian Beliefs.

Six credits in Biblical studies. Possible courses include:
REL 220 Introduction to the Old Testament; REL 221 Introduction to the New Testament; BI400 Hebrew I; BI402 Greek I; BI 406 Content of the Bible; BI411 Old Testament Introduction (Seminary Level); BI450 New Testament Introduction (Seminary Level).

Three hours in Christian ethics. Possible courses include:
REL 118 Jesus and Current Issues; PHL 214 Ethics and Contemporary Issues.

Six hours in comparative and philosophical study of religion. Possible courses include:
REL 214 Environmental Perspectives; REL 231 Religions of the World; REL 321 Philosophy of Religion; REL 367 Topics in Cross-Cultural Thought.

REL 495 Senior Seminar.

In addition to the specific courses listed in each of the above categories, other courses offered in either the School of Liberal Arts or the Seminary may be approved by the Department of Philosophy and Religion to fulfill these requirements.

A student may earn a minor in religion by taking a total of 21 hours in religion, theology and philosophy with at least three credits in each of the categories listed in 1) to 5) above. A student may also work with a faculty advisor to design a special 21 credit minor in religion through which the student explores the relationship between religion and some other academic field (such as science, education, business, or the environment), culminating in a senior project which integrates the student's major and the study of religion. Special minors must be approved at least one year before graduation by the Department of Philosophy and Religion and the student's faculty advisor.

Preparation for Advanced Study in Theology (Pre-Theology). Students who plan to pursue graduate study in theology in preparation for church leadership or teaching positions may choose from a variety of options. The Association of Theological Schools (ATS) recommends that pre-theology students take a broad range of courses, including, "for instance, studies in world history, philosophy, languages and literature, the natural sciences, music and other fine arts, and religion." Pre-theology students should also seek to develop skills in critical thinking, communication, and research. Knowledge of basic Christian doctrine, of the content of the Bible, and of biblical language is helpful for graduate work in theology. But the ATS, and graduate faculty in theology, suggest that the best preparation for seminary or other graduate work in theology will include a wide range of courses, rather than a heavy concentration in Bible or religion. Together with the basic skills and general education requirements for the bachelors degree, either a major or a minor in religion can provide the broad background for advanced study in theology and ministry. Pre-theology students may also opt to major in another field and select specific courses in religion as electives according to their particular interests and needs.




REL 115 Christian Beliefs (3)
An introduction to the basic doctrines and practices of Christianity. This includes an investigation of the central beliefs held by all Christians, and a brief introduction to the historical roots, practices and emphases of various Christian denominations and groups.


REL 116 History of Christianity (3)
An overview of the history of the Christian church from its beginning to the present.


REL 118 Jesus and Current Issues (3)
An introduction to Christian ethics focusing on the teachings of Jesus and their application to current issues in social and personal ethics.


REL 214 Environmental Perspectives (3)
An investigation of the ways in which the natural world has been understood from various historical, religious and philosophical perspectives, and of the implications for how humans should interact with the environment. The course emphasizes helping each student formulate a value perspective from which to evaluate human actions and policies concerning the environment. (Cross-listed as PHL 214)


REL 220 Introduction to the Old Testament (3)
A survey of the Old Testament with attention to the history of the people of Israel, the development of Israelite faith, the composition of the Old Testament writings, and the relevance of the Old Testament for today. The intent is to gain a good, working knowledge of the Old Testament.


REL 221 Introduction to the New Testament (3)
A survey of the New Testament giving attention to the development of the Christian faith, the historical development of its writings, and the relevance of the New Testament for today. The intent is to gain a good, working knowledge of the New Testament.


REL 251 Religions of the World (3)
An introduction to the histories, basic beliefs and practices of the major religions of the world, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.


REL 321 Philosophy of Religion (3)
A critical examination of the philosophy of religion through classical and contemporary readings that discuss such topics as arguments for and against God's existence, the rationality of belief in God, religious language, the immortality of the soul, and religious pluralism. (Prerequisite: Previous course in Philosophy or Religion, Cross-listed as PHL 321)


REL 353 Life and Teachings of Jesus (3)
A study of the gospels in an attempt to gain a better understanding of the life and teachings of Jesus. Special attention is given to various attempts to identify the historical Jesus. (Prerequisite: REL 221 Introduction to the New Testament)


REL 354 Paul and His Theology (3)
An examination of the life of the Apostle Paul as outlined in the Book of Acts and his letters, and his theology and ethics as recorded in his letters. Emphasis will be upon an in-depth study of the letter to the Romans. (Prerequisite: REL 221 Introduction to the New Testament)


REL 357,358,359 Topics in Religion (3)
An in-depth look at one or more topics, thinkers or movements in religion. Offered at the discretion of the department.


REL 391,392,393 491,492,493 Independent Research and Writing (3)
Primarily for religion majors. Junior or senior standing required. Involves substantial research, reading and writing in the area of religion. (Prerequisite: Three previous Religion courses.)


REL 495 Senior Seminar (3)
An emphasis on research, writing, and oral presentation in religion and theology. Students write and present original research papers. In addition to student research projects, the course involves discussion of a philosophical work selected by the instructor and a capstone assignment in which students express their ethical perspectives. REL 495 is required of all religion majors. This course may also provide the framework for senior writing projects for students with a special minor in religion.


REL 497 Advanced Research (3)
An opportunity for students to develop research, analysis, writing, and oral presentation skills through an independent research and writing project. The student will write an original philosophical paper and present it to a group of students and faculty. In some circumstances, REL 497 may be substituted for PHL 497 in major requirements. (Prerequisite: and three additional philosophy courses)


Advanced Courses
In addition to the above courses, selected seminary courses are available to upper level undergraduates with permission from the instructor and the chair of the department of philosophy and religion, including the following:


BI 400 Hebrew I (Seminary Course) (4)
An introduction to the grammar, syntax and vocabulary of biblical Hebrew. It seeks to facilitate interpretation of the Old Testament. Prerequisites: 1) At least 60 credits of undergraduate work and admission to the three-three program or consent of both the instructor and 2) the chair of Philosophy and Religion.


BI 402 Introduction to New Testament Greek I (Seminary Course) (4)
An introduction to the grammar, syntax and vocabulary of biblical Greek. It seeks to facilitate reading and interpretation of the New Testament. Prerequisites: 1) At least 60 credits of undergraduate work and admission to the three-three program or consent of both the instructor and 2) the chair of Philosophy and Religion.


BI 404 Introduction to New Testament Greek II (Seminary Course) (4)
This course will allow students to complete their NT Greek grammar and continue reading in the NT itself. Emphasis will be placed upon building vocabulary, identifying verb forms, and becoming more familiar with the more nuanced meanings and functions of participles, all in the service of acquiring the skills of exegesis of the Greek New Testament. Prerequisites: 1) At least 60 credits of undergraduate work and admission to the three-three program or consent of both the instructor and the chair of Philosophy and Religion; 2)BI 402.


BI 411 Old Testament Introduction (Seminary Course) (3)
An introduction to the content, historical background, canon, theological motifs and major critical problems of the Old Testament. Prerequisites: 1) At least 60 credits of undergraduate work and admission to the three-three program or consent of both the instructor and 2) the chair of Philosophy and Religion.


BI 450 New Testament Introduction (Seminary Course) (3)
An introduction to the content, historical background, canon, theological motifs, and major critical problems of the New Testament. Prerequisites: 1) At least 60 credits of undergraduate work and admission to the three-three program or consent of both the instructor and 2) the chair of Philosophy and Religion.


HT 400 Early and Medieval Church History (Seminary Course) (3)
This course introduces students to the history of Christianity from Pentecost to the high middle ages. Prerequisites: 1) At least 60 credits of undergraduate work and admission to the three-three program or consent of both the instructor and 2) the chair of Philosophy and Religion.


HT 402 Reformation and Modern Church History (Seminary Course) (3)
This course introduces students to the history of Christianity from the Protestant Reformation to the present. Prerequisites: 1) At least 60 credits of undergraduate work and admission to the three-three program or consent of both the instructor and 2) the chair of Philosophy and Religion.


HT 488 Christian Social Ethics(Seminary Course) (3)
This course will introduce students to major themes, approaches, and issues in Christian ethics, with an emphasis on relating biblical Christian faith to contemporary social issues. Students taking this course will gain practical experience in ethical reason and analysis as well as exposure to a number of different approaches to ethical issues. Prerequisites: 1) At least 60 credits of undergraduate work and 2) admission to the three-three program or consent of both the instructor and the chair of Philosophy and Religion.


MN 401 Foundations of Christian Worship (Seminary Course) (3)
This course serves as an introduction to the biblical and theological root of worship, to the history of worship in the Christian church, and to the character and shape of corporate worship in particular congregations and traditions. Prerequisites: 1) At least 60 credits of undergraduate work and admission to the three-three program or consent of both the instructor and 2) the chair of Philosophy and Religion.


MN 430 Discipleship and Teaching (Seminary Course) (3)
This course introduces students to the teaching and discipling ministry of the church. It provides a biblical, theological, and practical foundation for the various educational and formational tasks of the local congregation. Prerequisites: 1) At least 60 credits of undergraduate work and admission to the three-three program or consent of both the instructor and 2) the chair of Philosophy and Religion.


Typical Four Year Paradigm
First-Year: Fall
REL111 Judeo-Christian Journeys
REL115 Christian Beliefs
ENG101 Composition and Rhetoric
CIS101 Introduction to Computers
First-Year: Spring
REL116 The Christian Movement
ENG112 Introduction to Literature
COM101 Basic Speech Communiaction
Social Science General Education Course
Natural Science General Education Course

 
Sophomore Year: Fall
REL220 Old Testament Survey
REL251 Religions of the World
Natural Science General Education Course
Humanities General Education Course
Social Science General Education Course
Sophomore Year: Spring
REL118 Jesus and Current Issues
REL221 New Testament Survey
REL201 Writing and Research in Religion
Natural Science General Education Course
Social Science General Education Course

 
Junior Year: Fall
Religion Elective
Social Science General Education Elective
Junior Year: Spring
REL321 Philosophy of Religion
Humanities General Education Elective

 
Senior Year: Fall
Religion or Theology Elective
Electives, or Courses for minor or second major
Senior Year: Spring
Religion or Theology Elective
REL495 Advanced Seminar
Electives, or Courses for minor or second major