Program Requirements

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Are you a person that has an interest in understanding various religions or cultures?  Do you envision yourself fostering a dialogue of mutual acceptance and understanding between faiths as well as between those who identify with a certain faith and those who do not?  Then we have a meeting for you.  United We Coexist will be hosting a meeting on Thursday, April 7, 2016 from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm in the Lake Superior Room B of the OC.  FREE FOOD AND T-SHIRTS FOR ALL!!!  If you are interested or have questions, please contact:

Religious Studies instructor Rabbi Joseph Klein's recent talk on "Superman's Secret Identity - The Jewish Origins of our Comic-Book Superheroes" has been featured in an article on page 13 of the March 16, 2016 issue of The Oakland Post.


On May 17, 2016 at 6:30 p.m., Jewish Family Service and Congregation Shaarey Zedek host Natan Sharansky to commemorate "Operation Exodus" and the role of the Jewish community of greater Detroit in resettling some 7,000 refugees from the former Soviet Union.  Reservations required as seating is limited.  You can find and download the registration form by going to:


From July 30 to August 22, 2016, Orion Township Public Library will host the Simthsonian traveling exhibition, "Exploring Human Origins."  The exhibition examines the complexities of human evolution.  See flyer for dates, times and contact information.


Secretary of State John Kerry notes the importance of religion and religious studies in diplomatic affairs today.


Oakland University Professor Randal Engle spoke with WWJ Newsradio 950AM about the Pope's visit to the United States in September.  Click here to listen to the interview.


Recap of the World Religions Showcase event held September 29, 2015.  Click here to upload the updated story.


An annual event held each April featuring presentations of scholarly and creative work by Religious Studies students.  Participants receive reviews from panels of faculty discussants and field audience questions.


An annual activity involving interested students from any major to visit multiple houses of worship in the greater metropolitan Detriot area, interact with their leaders and members and share a meal.


Religious Studies

Learn, Change, Grow

Welcome to the Religious Studies programs at Oakland University. The university currently offers a
general concentration in Religious Studies , as well as minors in  Islamic Studies Judaic Studies , and Christianity Studies .  In addition, if you wish to major in Religious Studies, you may petition the college “committee on instruction” with a specialized plan of study.  To explore this option, email the program director, Alan Epstein, at the following address .  

Religious Studies programs offer you the opportunity to examine the world’s religions from an academic standpoint: a poignant, deep and critical examination of their beliefs and histories as well as their cultural, historical and political roles in shaping today’s world. Choosing the independent major, concentration, one of the minors, or even taking several courses, enables you to tailor your electives and some of your general education and writing intensive courses to reflect personal interests. You will gain capacities that help bolster your interpersonal skills, give you a strong ethical framework for life, a stronger and more nuanced sense of self, and a better understanding of our increasingly global and interactive world. 

In addition, combining a minor, concentration, or independent major with other specific degrees can enhance your career marketability. For example, pairing a minor with a degree in International Relations can make you a great candidate for government service or multinational businesses. In short, taking Religious Studies courses or adopting either an independent major, concentration, or minor enables you to
learn, change and grow.

Further engagement with religion may be pursued through the associated Center for Religious Understanding.

**Featured Offering of Religious Studies Course**

FALL 2016 

REL 300 Controversial Islam (CRN #43860) is scheduled to meet TTH from 1:00 to 2:47 p.m. in 123 Hannah Hall.  This section is led by Imam Aly Lela. This course will define, problematize and critically analyze selected  ‘controversial’ concepts in contemporary Islamic thought. Topics will include but are not limited to ijtihād, sharī‘a law, jihād, human rights and gender relations, Islam and democracy, and the relations between Muslims non-Muslims. Students will critically examine the textual sources and contextual considerations that constructed such concepts through intellectual discussion and consulting academic research on both contemporary and historical Muslim tradition.  The course has no prerequisites and is open to all students.

REL 300 An Introduction to Hinduism (CRN #45634) is scheduled to meet on MWF from 9:20 to 10:27 a.m. in 316 Pawley Hall.  This section is led by Dr. Shalini Jayaprakash and is an introduction to Hinduism, the major religious tradition of South Asia in the last three and a half thousand years.  Students will examine the religiou-philosophical ideas, ritual practices, material culture, some of the textual sources of the main traditions of Hinduism, their social and historical contexts, and their contemporary relevance.  View section flyer.

REL 300 Introduction to Buddhist Traditions (CRN #45681) is offered as a primarily online course.  This section is led by Ven. Kevin Hickey.  Students will trace the historical development of Buddhism in India and its spread throughout Asia and beyond through exploring and examining Theravada and Mahayana traditions, philosophical premises, religious practices, social structures, and cultural expressions of the world's Buddhist traditions.  View section flyer.  To see a short video introduction by Ven. Kevin Hickey, click here.