Prepare to teach, serve others, minister in your faith tradition or pursue a variety of vocations. Prepare to teach, serve others, minister in your faith tradition or pursue a variety of vocations. Prepare to teach, serve others, minister in your faith tradition or pursue a variety of vocations. Prepare to teach, serve others, minister in your faith tradition or pursue a variety of vocations. Prepare to teach, serve others, minister in your faith tradition or pursue a variety of vocations.

College of Arts & Sciences

Department of Philosophy/Religious Studies

Religious Studies

Questions?

Wioleta Polinska

+1 630 637 5317

wdpolinska@noctrl.edu

Why pursue a religious studies degree at North Central College?

In North Central’s religious studies program you’ll examine the world’s major religions and consider their global influence. Your exploration of some of life’s most challenging questions will lead you to the fields of philosophy, history, psychology, sociology, ethics and ministry. You’ll better understand your neighbors—whether they live next door or around the world—so you’ll be better prepared to teach, serve others, minister in your faith tradition or pursue any other vocation you choose.

You may also:

  • Analyze sacred texts, teachings and practices of the world’s religions.
  • Experience different religious practices through our Contemplative Series and campus ministry offerings.
  • Conduct research projects of your own design with our faculty members.
  • Complete internships in ministry or social service organizations.
  • Become involved with The Union, a weekly event that incorporates music, art and film into spirituality.
  • Take graduate-level courses at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. Those interested in the professional fields of ministry, service and social engagement can take a variety of classes in their areas of interest. Up to 15 hours of elective credit toward your degree may be taken in online, summer-intensive or traditional format.

More Department information

Religious Studies, B.A.

For additional programs and courses in this department, see .

Major Requirements

A minimum of 32 credit hours, including:

Religion Courses

  • RELG 100 - Introduction to World Religions

    RELG 100 - Introduction to World Religions

    4.00 credit hours

    A phenomenological study of the major religions of the world. Special emphasis is given to the beliefs, rituals, sacred texts, and ethical dimensions of each religion.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Humanities, Global Understanding.
    iCon(s)
    Thinking Globally.

    Schedule Of Classes

One course from each of the following areas:
Biblical Studies
  • RELG 110 - Introduction to the Bible

    RELG 110 - Introduction to the Bible

    4.00 credit hours

    An introduction to the academic study of the Bible, including the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible and the New Testament. Students will explore these texts as complex literary and theological documents created under the influence of multiple historical and cultural contexts.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Humanities, Ethical Dimensions.
    iCon(s)
    Experiencing Place, Being Human.

    Schedule Of Classes

Theology
  • RELG 330 - Cross, Violence and Resistance

    RELG 330 - Cross, Violence and Resistance

    4.00 credit hours

    An examination of theological interpretations of the life and death of Jesus. Attention is given to how the violent death of Jesus at the core of Christian theology influences the way societies perceive and respond to violence.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Humanities, U.S. Power Structures, Community Engaged Learning.
    iCon(s)
    Engaging Civic Life.

    Schedule Of Classes

Ethics
  • RELG 390 - Topics in Religious Ethics

    RELG 390 - Topics in Religious Ethics

    4.00 credit hours

    An examination of a current topic, theme, or approach within Religious Ethics. Encompasses both theory and applications to personal and communal life.

    Prerequisite(s)

    Two courses from Philosophy or Religious Studies and CARD 101.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Ethical Dimensions, Writing Intensive.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • RELG 344 - Religion and the Political Order

    RELG 344 - Religion and the Political Order

    4.00 credit hours

    An examination of primary texts from the history of religious political philosophy with an eye to their relevance for understanding current events and challenges at the intersection of religion and politics. Emphasis is on Jewish, Christian and Muslim sources.

    Prerequisite(s)

    Two courses from Philosophy or Religous Studies.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Humanities, Ethical Dimensions.

    Schedule Of Classes

Asian Traditions
  • RELG 255 - Karma, Suffering and Rebirth

    RELG 255 - Karma, Suffering and Rebirth

    4.00 credit hours

    An exploration of spiritual liberation in the religions of India with a particular focus on overcoming the problems of karma, suffering, and rebirth in Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • RELG 260 - The Dao of Chinese Religion

    RELG 260 - The Dao of Chinese Religion

    4.00 credit hours

    A survey of the major religions of China with a particular focus on self-cultivation as the key to establishing social harmony (Confucianism), living in harmony with the forces of nature (Daoism), and harmonizing with the totality of space and time (Buddhism).

    iCon(s)
    Thinking Globally.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • RELG 265 - Religious Pluralism in Japan

    RELG 265 - Religious Pluralism in Japan

    4.00 credit hours

    An examination of the harmonious co-existence of diverse religious traditions both within and between Buddhism and Shinto from the ancient past to the contemporary period.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Humanities, Global Understanding.
    iCon(s)
    Thinking Globally.

    Schedule Of Classes

Electives

Minimum of ten credit hours of RELG electives (PHIL 360 and ANTH 345 count towards this requirement). Maximum of two credit hours towards the ten credit hours of required electives can be earned through internship or independent study (in addition to RELG 498).

Capstone

Additional Requirements for the B.A. Degree

Students must demonstrate elementary competence in a foreign language. For more information, see the B.A. Degree Requirements within the Academic Regulations section of this catalog.

Religious Studies Minor

For additional programs and courses in this department, see Philosophy and Religious Studies.

Minor Requirements

A minimum of 20 credit hours, including:

  • RELG 100 - Introduction to World Religions

    RELG 100 - Introduction to World Religions

    4.00 credit hours

    A phenomenological study of the major religions of the world. Special emphasis is given to the beliefs, rituals, sacred texts, and ethical dimensions of each religion.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Humanities, Global Understanding.
    iCon(s)
    Thinking Globally.

    Schedule Of Classes

Biblical Studies

  • RELG 110 - Introduction to the Bible

    RELG 110 - Introduction to the Bible

    4.00 credit hours

    An introduction to the academic study of the Bible, including the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible and the New Testament. Students will explore these texts as complex literary and theological documents created under the influence of multiple historical and cultural contexts.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Humanities, Ethical Dimensions.
    iCon(s)
    Experiencing Place, Being Human.

    Schedule Of Classes

Theology and Philosophy of Religion

  • RELG 330 - Cross, Violence and Resistance

    RELG 330 - Cross, Violence and Resistance

    4.00 credit hours

    An examination of theological interpretations of the life and death of Jesus. Attention is given to how the violent death of Jesus at the core of Christian theology influences the way societies perceive and respond to violence.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Humanities, U.S. Power Structures, Community Engaged Learning.
    iCon(s)
    Engaging Civic Life.

    Schedule Of Classes

Ethics

One of the following:

  • RELG 344 - Religion and the Political Order

    RELG 344 - Religion and the Political Order

    4.00 credit hours

    An examination of primary texts from the history of religious political philosophy with an eye to their relevance for understanding current events and challenges at the intersection of religion and politics. Emphasis is on Jewish, Christian and Muslim sources.

    Prerequisite(s)

    Two courses from Philosophy or Religous Studies.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Humanities, Ethical Dimensions.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • RELG 390 - Topics in Religious Ethics

    RELG 390 - Topics in Religious Ethics

    4.00 credit hours

    An examination of a current topic, theme, or approach within Religious Ethics. Encompasses both theory and applications to personal and communal life.

    Prerequisite(s)

    Two courses from Philosophy or Religious Studies and CARD 101.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Ethical Dimensions, Writing Intensive.

    Schedule Of Classes

Asian Traditions

One of the following:

  • RELG 255 - Karma, Suffering and Rebirth

    RELG 255 - Karma, Suffering and Rebirth

    4.00 credit hours

    An exploration of spiritual liberation in the religions of India with a particular focus on overcoming the problems of karma, suffering, and rebirth in Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • RELG 260 - The Dao of Chinese Religion

    RELG 260 - The Dao of Chinese Religion

    4.00 credit hours

    A survey of the major religions of China with a particular focus on self-cultivation as the key to establishing social harmony (Confucianism), living in harmony with the forces of nature (Daoism), and harmonizing with the totality of space and time (Buddhism).

    iCon(s)
    Thinking Globally.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • RELG 265 - Religious Pluralism in Japan

    RELG 265 - Religious Pluralism in Japan

    4.00 credit hours

    An examination of the harmonious co-existence of diverse religious traditions both within and between Buddhism and Shinto from the ancient past to the contemporary period.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Humanities, Global Understanding.
    iCon(s)
    Thinking Globally.

    Schedule Of Classes

Religious Studies Internships and Jobs

A North Central education integrates career preparation with rich academic study. Our faculty encourages you to refine and apply your knowledge in an interconnected world. Here you'll learn to think independently and work globally to solve problems and lead.

Internships

  • Assistant program director, Mountain Tennessee Outreach Project, Coalmont, TN
  • Intern, Junior/Senior Scholars, Naperville
  • Intern, Humanitarian Service Project, Carol Stream, IL 

Graduate School

Recent graduates in religious studies have been accepted at:

  • Princeton Theological Seminary
  • Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
  • Chicago Theological Seminary
  • Vanderbilt University
  • DePaul University
  • Illinois State University

Careers

Recent graduates in religious studies include:

  • Executive Director, Center for Faith and Human Rights
  • Professor of Law, DePaul University
  • Associate Porfessor, Garrett- Evangelical Theological Seminary
  • Senior Manager, Disney Corporation
  • CEO, Tri-State Media Ministry
  • Acute Care Social Worker, Middleton VA Medical Center
  • Chaplain, Springfield Memorial Center

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