Religious Studies / Center for Religious Understanding
Varner Hall, Room 521
371 Varner Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4485
(248) 370-2154

Program Requirements

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The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) issued a statement opposing President Trump's January 2017 immigration moratorium.  Click here to view the statement.

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


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 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.