Undergraduate Program

In Studies in Religion we train you to analyse the concepts that people and communities privilege in their lives to explain their existence. This analysis includes religions, philosophies, life-justifications, and popular mythologies. To do this we introduce you to a range of methodologies including sociology, anthropology, cultural studies, philosophy, textual studies and history. Together we study the essence of what it means to be human. We will examine how dramatic narratives and powerful inner experiences propel both the individual and social construction of reality.

The Studies in Religion Minor allows you to investigate the ways in which humans have ascribed value to their lives, societies, and other important ideals from family to nation, individuality and community, right conduct in this life and conceptions of the afterlife. You will examine how these values and aspirations have been formalised into communal structures and powerful institutions throughout all of human history. You will be equipped with the necessary skills in critical thinking to understand and interrogate the central functions of religion - overtly and covertly - in broader socio-cultural practices. You will also develop a critical awareness of the skills used in the academy to assess the narrative, ethical, legal, institutional, material and everyday lived aspects of religion we use to keep our societies functioning and that are termed sacred.

Students thus enter a vibrant scholarly community in Studies in Religion at the University of Sydney, based on the intense scholarly discussion of religion both inside and outside the lecture room. Through a wide variety of research-based projects, community-engaged investigations, online tasks, tutorial presentations and discussions, and social opportunities, students are encouraged to delve profoundly and creatively into both the academic meaning of religion, and the encounter with religion in practical and real-life contexts, in ways that develop the student’s confidence and competence in this field.

The chief outcome of this Major is the ability of students to use their acquired knowledge and skills in a variety of academic and non-academic situations. These include the understanding of important methodological thematics behind the teaching of the discipline at primary and high school level, contributing to public policy, and generally being aware of the role religion plays in other fields of study, and in the diversity of religions and ultimate goals that add to both the diverse nature and the cohesion of the modern multi-ethnic, multi-faith state.

Structuring Your Study

Under the new degree requirements, which apply to students enrolling in 2018 (and to students who enrolled in 2017, if they wish to switch to the new curriculum) a Major in Studies in Religion comprises two 1000-level Studies in Religion units, two 2000-level Studies in Religion units, and four 3000-level Studies in Religion units. One of the 3000-level units must be an Interdisciplinary Project unit. A Minor in Studies in Religion comprises two 1000-level Studies in Religion units, two 2000-level Studies in Religion units, and two 3000-level Studies in Religion units. (An Interdisciplinary Project unit is not required for a Minor.)

Under the previous degree requirements, which apply to students enrolling in 2017 or earlier (except for students who enrolled in 2017 and who wish to switch to the new curriculum), a Major in Studies in Religion requires at least six senior (i.e. 2000-level or 3000-level) Studies in Religion units. At least one of these units must be at 3000-level.

Please see below for more detailed information relevant to you, depending on which of the three categories you fall under:

 I am continuing in my current degree I would like to move to the new curriculum


Honours is a stimulating and prestigious way to cap off your undergraduate studies, and involves a methodology seminar, an Honours seminar and the writing of a thesis in which you personally devise and research a project under the supervision of an academic staff member.

Entry to Honours requires the completion of the Studies in Religion major with an average of 70 percent or above including RLST3601 Rethinking Religion.

Honours in Studies in Religion will be offered until 2020. From 2021 there will be no Honours year in Studies in Religion. Admission pathways for advanced study, such as the Master of Arts (Research) will be available to students wishing to gain a higher-level qualification in Studies in Religion or to enter a Doctor of Philosophy degree.

Eligibility and application details are available here.

For further information, please contact the Honours Coordinator.