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Religious Studies

Paul A. Dietrich (Professor of Liberal Studies), Director 

Religion has been taught as an academic discipline at The University of Montana since 1924.  Located within the Liberal Studies Program in the College of Arts and Sciences, the study of religion is pursued at the University in an interdisciplinary setting that offers opportunities for exploration and discovery in many areas of the humanities, arts, and sciences. Our Religious Studies courses emphasize the scholarly analysis and interpretation of the history, literature, beliefs, myths, symbols, rituals, ethical and legal codes, and communities and institutions of the world´s religious traditions. We investigate how the world´s religions address enduring human questions and influence responses to daily problems, and we explore how religious traditions shape lives and societies, from the emergence of the earliest civilizations to twenty-first century global conflicts. Our students engage ideas about the good life and death, suffering and happiness, war and peace, revelation and salvation, God, mysticism, and religious experience. Our curriculum is designed to provide students with a broad and deep understanding of religion as a field of human activity and inquiry. Our students acquire the skills necessary to investigate specific religious traditions in historical depth and to understand the forms, expressions, and roles of religions in the world today.

More information is available at the Liberal Studies Program office in LA 101, (406) 243-2949 or online at For advising assistance contact the Humanities advisor in LA 145 or call (406) 243-6082.

Degree Requirements 

Lower-Division Requirements

Foreign Language (Two years of a single foreign language) 18-20 cr.
WRIT 101, Composition (previously ENEX 101) or equivalent 3 cr.
Liberal Studies 151L, Introduction to Humanities Bible (autumn or sum. semester only) 4 cr.
Liberal Studies 152L, Introduction to Humanities Medieval (spring or sum. semester only) 4 cr.
Liberal Studies 161H, Introduction to Asian Humanities 3 cr.

Two 200-level Religion courses:  At least one course in religions of Near Eastern/Mediterranean origin and one in Religions of South Asian or East Asian origin  6 cr.

Near Eastern/Mediterranean (Pick at least one course)     

RLST 204H (RELS 210H) Introduction to the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament)
RLST 205 (RELS 211) Introduction to the New Testament
RLST 221 (RELS 220), Judaism
RLST 225 (RELS 225), Christianity

South or East Asian (Pick at least one course) 

RLST 232H (RELS 232H), Buddhism
RLST 234 (RELS 234), Hinduism
RLST 236 (RELS 236), Chinese Religions
RLST 238 (RELS 238), Japanese Religions

 Upper-Division Requirements

i)     RLST 300 (RELS 300), Theory & Method in the Study of Religion 3cr.

ii)    Five courses (15 cr.) selected from among the following:

NASX 304E (NAS 301E), Native American Beliefs and Philosophy
RLST 310 (RELS 310), Topics in Biblical Studies (R-6)
RLST 320 (RELS 320), Ancient Judaism/Early Christianity (R-6) 
RLST 335 (RELS 335), Western Religious Thought I
RLST 336 (RELS 336), Western Religious Thought II
RLST 353 (RELS 353), Topics in South Asian Religions (R-6)
RLST 354 (RELS 354), Topics in East Asian Religions (R-6)
RLST 360 (RELS 360), Classics of Buddhist Literature (R-6)
RLST 366 (RELS 366), Tibetan Civilization
RLST 367 (RELS 367), Approaches to the Study of Zen Buddhism
RLST 368 (RELS 368), Contemporary Buddhism in South and Southeast Asia
RLST 369 (RELS 369), Contemplative Traditions of Asia
RLST 370 (RELS 370), Mysticism (R-6)
AAS 374, African-American Religious Experience
RLST 376 (RELS 376), Contemporary Religious Thought (R-6)
RLST 281E (RLST 381E), Comparative Ethics
AAS 417, Prayer and Civil Rights

iii)  Two Liberal Studies courses with Religious Studies content (for example, Liberal Studies 342, Topics in Comparative Literature and Religion) 6 cr.


R- before the course description indicates the course may be repeated for credit to the maximum indicated after the R. Credits beyond this maximum do not count toward a degree.

Religious Studies (RLST) - Course Descriptions

191, 198, 204H, 205, 221, 225, 232H, 233, 234X, 236, 238, 281E, 291, 300, 310, 320, 335, 336, 353, 354, 360, 366, 367, 368, 369, 370, 376, 391, 392, 491, 491



Bradley Clough, Ph.D., Columbia University, 1998
Paul A. Dietrich, Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1981 (Director)
Nathaniel Levtow, Ph.D., Brown University, 2006

Mark Hanson, Ph.D., University of Virginia, 1993

Adjunct Faculty

Thomas R. Lee, Ph.D., University of California, 1979

Registrar's Office

Lommasson Center 201

Phone: (406) 243-2995

Fax: (406) 243-4807