Religious Studies / Center for Religious Understanding

Varner Hall, Room 217
371 Varner Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4485
(location map)
(248) 370-2154

Program Requirements

 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


InterFaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detoit: On Sunday, November 12, 2017,the InterFaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit is hosting a panel discussion on Christian, Hindu, Jewish and Muslim teachings on creation and the environment.  A follow-up event will be held at the Detroit Institute of the Arts on Sunday, December 3. See attached flyer for details.

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 Detroit 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.


Starting in Fall Semester 2017, Oakland University is switching from 3-digit course numbers (like REL 100) to 4-digit course numbers (like REL 1100).  Summer term 2017 will continue to use the 3-digit course numbers.  While the new numbering scheme has an internal logic, it may not be immediately apparent to initial users.  So, the attached conversion table may prove useful as you prepare to register for classes.  You may also consult the main course registration website for conversions of all courses:

OU has also adopted a new registration system within SAIL.  It is called Banner XE, and you can find tutorials to learn how the new registration system operates by going to the main registration website:

Finally, OU will be changing its "bill due date."  Bills for Fall semester 2017 will become due 2 or 3 weeks prior to the semester.  This is explained on the Student Financial Services website:

You are advised to plan for these changes and familiarize yourself with them to minimize complications when registering for courses and when managing payment.


Controversial Islam  (REL 3900 - CRN #42932) is being offered on Tuesday and Thursday this Fall 2017 from 3:00-4:47 P.M. in Pawley Hall room 316 by Prof. Aly M. Lela.  For more information and to view the course flyer, please click here.

Introduction to Buddhist Traditions (REL 3900 - CRN #44086) is an online course being offered in Fall 2017 by Ven. Kevin Hickey, M.A.  He has created a short video highlighting course content.  Please click here to view the flyer.

Native American Religions (REL 3900 - CRN #44097) is being offered on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday this Fall 2017 from 12-1:07 PM in South Foundation Hall room 369 by Prof. Joshua Fleer.  For more information and to view the course flyer, please click here.

Sport and Religion (REL 3900 - CRN #42696) is an online course being offered in Fall 2017 by Prof. Joshua Fleer.   For more information and to view the course flyer, please click here.