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Honours in Religious Studies

Masters in Religious Studies by Coursework

Research Masters in Religiou Studies

PhD in Religious Studies 

 

Religious Studies Honours and Masters degrees [REL]

Programme Convener:

Dr L Blond

Admission requirements:

  1. Faculty requirements as set out under Rules FH3 and FM3 apply.
  2. Specialisation requirements:
  • A major in the discipline or a cognate discipline.
  • Applicants with an initial qualification in another discipline may be required to complete certain courses to achieve equivalence with the requirements for a major in Religious Studies.

Applicants with an initial qualification in the discipline other than a Bachelor’s degree may be required to register for the extended Honours programme in terms of Faculty Rule FH6. Acceptance is on the recommendation of the Head of Department.


 

BA/BSocScHons specialising in Religious Studies (126 NQF credits)

[REL01]

Prescribed curriculum:

Honours students are required to complete four taught courses at HEQSF level 8 (4000 level) and a research essay:

 

Compulsory (core) courses:

Code

Course                                                                    NQF Credits HEQSF Level

REL4010F

Critical Terms in Religious Studies 1....................................... 24                  8

REL4012S

Critical Terms in Religious Studies 2....................................... 24                  8

REL4011H

Research Essay/Project.......................................................... 30                  8

 

Elective courses: The remaining HEQSF level 8 courses may be selected from the list of electives set out below.

Code

Course                                                                    NQF Credits HEQSF Level

REL4046S

Buddhism............................................................................. 24                  8

REL4049F

Islamic Studies...................................................................... 24                  8

REL4053F

Religion and Culture in Africa (Not offered in 2021)................. 24                  8

REL4054S

Religion and Gender(Not offered in 2021)................................ 24                  8

REL4112FS

Philosophers on Religion (Not offered in 2021)........................ 24                  8

REL4113FS

Issues in Contemporary Jewish Thought.................................. 24                  8

REL4091S

Explorations in Islam ............................................................ 24                  8

REL4110F

African Religious Movement ................................................. 24                  8

 

To progress to Master’s level an overall average result of not less than 60% must be achieved.


 

MA/MSocSc specialising in Religious Studies (192 NQF credits)

[REL01]

Prescribed curriculum:

Master’s students are required to complete a minor dissertation and four taught courses of which no more than two can be at HEQSF level 8 (4000 level).

 

Compulsory (core) course:

Code

Course                                                                    NQF Credits HEQSF Level

REL5003W

Minor Dissertation................................................................. 96                  9

 

The remaining courses may be selected from the list of electives set out below. The courses are subject to the approval of the supervisor and should be in the area of specialisation.

Code

Course                                                                    NQF Credits       HEQSF Level

REL5116F

Religion and Culture in Africa (Not offered in 2021)................. 24                 8

REL5018S

Religion and Gender(Not offered in 2021)................................ 24                 9

REL5091S

Explorations in Islam............................................................. 24                 9

REL5110F

African Religious Movements................................................. 24                 9

REL5111FS

Reading Religious Texts (May not be offered in 2021).............. 24                 9

REL5112F

Philosophers on Religion (Not offered in 2021)........................ 24                 9

REL5113F

Issues in Contemporary Jewish Thought.................................. 24                 9

REL5114S

Buddhism............................................................................. 24                 9

REL5115F

Islamic Studies...................................................................... 24                 9

REL5117F

Critical Terms in Religious Studies 1 ...................................... 24                 9                                         

REL5118S

Critical Terms in Religious Studies 2 ...................................... 24                 9                                         

 

Subject to approval by the Head of Department, an elective offered by a cognate department may replace one or more of the listed electives. Please consult the supplementary elective handbook for descriptions of elective courses offered.


 

Master's by dissertation (180 NQF credits) (HEQSF level 9)

[REL01]

 

REL5000W RELIGIOUS STUDIES

 

PhD (360 NQF credits))          

[REL01]

 

REL6000W RELIGIOUS STUDIES

Course Outlines

 

REL4010F       Critical Terms in Religious Studies 1

24 NQF credits at HEQSF level 8

Convener: Professor A Tayob

Course entry requirements: Acceptance for an honours programme.

Course outline:

This course introduces students to the field and discipline of the study of religion, as it has developed in the West and imposed itself in this and other Departments of Religious Studies. The main part of this course will be a critical reading of core texts describing and analysing the making of the discipline of Religious Studies, focusing on laying bare the foundations, theoretical frameworks, disciplinary questions and central concerns of the study of religion that has dominated the academy. The course will critically interrogate some of the defining parameters, epistemological and political assumptions that have historically defined the discipline. Selected post-colonial and post-modern readings will be use to read against the dominant narratives to enable a creative rethinking of current possibilities in the field of Religious Studies.

DP requirements: Submission of all prescribed assignments by due dates. Regular attendance and participation in class.

Assessment: Response papers (50%). Final essay of 4000 words (50%).


30 NQF credits at HEQSF level 8

Convener: Dr L Blond

Course entry requirements: Acceptance for an honours programme.

Course outline:

An appropriate research paper, on a topic chosen in negotiation with the Head of Department and written under the supervision of a staff member. The paper needs to be of approximately 15,000 words in length, and it must demonstrate the student’s ability to engage with the theory and methodology of religious studies.

DP requirements: Submission of essay.

Assessment: Research essay 100%.


24 NQF credits at HEQSF level 8

Convener: Associate Professor S Shaikh

Course entry requirements: Acceptance for an honours programme.

Course outline:

The course focuses on applying the theoretical frameworks and methodologies introduced in Critical Terms 1 to the honours research project in the study of religion in terms of research proposal, selection of methodological and theoretical framework, literature review, thesis development and data analysis.

DP requirements: Submission of all prescribed assignments by due dates. Regular attendance and participation in class.

Assessment: Response papers (50%). Research project of 4000 words (50%).


24 NQF credits at HEQSF level 8

Convener: Associate Professor E Porcu

Course entry requirements: Acceptance for an honours programme.

Course outline:

This course will examine Buddhism as a living tradition in its relation to society and culture. Students will be exposed to different Buddhist traditions both in their historical and contemporary developments, their teachings and practices. We will, for example, explore issues of orientalism and hegemonic power in the construction of Buddhism, Buddhism and gender, Buddhism and popular culture, Buddhism, art and the media, and the transmission of Buddhism to the West and Africa, as well as Buddhism-based new religious movements. Particular emphasis will be placed on East Asian Buddhism

DP requirements: Submission of all prescribed assignments by due dates. Regular attendance and participation in class.

Assessment: Class presentations (10%). 4 weekly response papers (40%). Final essay of 4000 words (50%).


24 NQF credits at HEQSF level 8

Convener: Professor A Tayob

Course entry requirements: Acceptance for an honours programme.

Course outline:

This course provides postgraduate students with tools to study Islam as a religious tradition-spanning through changing historical context(s). Using the tools of the phenomenological and historical study of religion, the course enables the students to analyse the beliefs, practices and institutions of Islam in their variety, historical development and various contexts. Themes explored include the life of the Prophet Muhammad; the transmission of the foundational sacred texts of Islam (Quran and Hadith); the development of Islamic law and jurisprudence, the formation of schools of theology and philosophy; Islamic mysticism (Sufism). Each of the above themes is addressed through a combination of phenomenological and critical historical method.

DP requirements: Submission of all prescribed assignments by due dates. Regular attendance of weekly seminars.

Assessment: Weekly response papers 50% and one 4000-word essay 50%.


(Not offered in 2021)

24 NQF credits at HEQSF level 8

Convener: Professor A Ukah

Course entry requirements: Acceptance for an honours programme.

Course outline:

This course is an exploration of African religions and culture. It will provide in-depth discussions of principal and fundamental issues and themes concerning African culture and African Traditional Religions, beginning with issues revolving around the academic study of African religions. Some concepts and worldviews that are ordinarily considered to be uniquely African will be analysed. We will also examine a select set of issues and historical developments in the cultural thinking of Africans about Africa. Selected case studies of Islamic and Christian religious culture in Africa will also be explored during the course.

DP requirements: Participation in all classes and a reading assessment to be submitted at the end of each class based on readings for that section.

Assessment: Reading assessments (50%) and one 4000-word final essay (50%).

 


24 NQF credits at HEQSF level 8

Convener: Associate Professor S Shaikh

Course entry requirements: Acceptance for an honours programme.

Course outline:

This course explores mystical interpretations and practices of Islam also known as Sufism, as a central historical and contemporary expression of Muslim spirituality and religious life. The course will involve readings of historical texts on Sufism (in translation) as well as explorations of Sufi aesthetics. Topics covered in these texts include understandings of the Sufi path, cosmology, the nature of human beings and God, interpersonal relationships and ethics, rituals and meditative techniques, music and poetry, and social implications of the Sufi path.

DP requirements: Regular participation in weekly seminars; submission of all prescribed assignments by due dates.

Assessment: Attendance of and preparation for seminars; seminar papers (50%) and a final essay of 4000 words (50%).

 


24 NQF credits at HEQSF level 8

Convener: Professor A Ukah

Course entry requirements: Acceptance for an honours programme.

Course outline:

With the coming of Islam and Christianity in Africa, new religious movements blossomed in the continent. This course examines some major theories in the history and the sociology of religious movements, and provides a critical investigation of selected case-studies of major religious movements within the three major religious traditions of Africa, namely, African Indigenous religions, African Christianities and African Islams.

DP requirements: Regular attendance at all seminars and timeous completion of all assignments and essays.

Assessment: Reading/essay assessments (30%) and a final essay of 4000 words (70%).


(Not offered in 2021)

24 NQF credits at HEQSF level 8

Convener: Dr L Blond

Course entry requirements: Acceptance for an honours programme.

Course outline:

This course will explore a selection of philosophers who have placed religion at the centre of their work either in order to critique its worth or to transform religious concepts into different, often secular, forms. The philosophers selected will be major figures in Western thought who have challenged traditional forms of Jewish and Christian religious authority (for example, Spinoza and Nietzsche) or philosophers who have contributed to debates on the value of religious concepts and religious ethics (for example, Jacobi, Hegel, MacIntyre and Levinas) to demonstrate their continued relevance. The course will explore how value and meaning are contested on religious concepts and it will attempt to show that current debates extend and build on the significant contributions of earlier thinkers in the Western canon.

DP requirements: Regular attendance at all seminars and timeous completion of all assignments and essays.

Assessment: Attendance of and preparation for seminar, seminar papers (50%) and a final essay of 4000 words (50%).

 


24 NQF credits at HEQSF level 8

Convener: Dr L Blond

Course entry requirements: Acceptance for an honours programme.

Course outline:

This course raises issues that affect much of 20th century and contemporary Jewish thought as they affect religious and secular life. The Jewish experience of the twentieth century is marked by emancipation, holocaust and the re-establishment of the State of Israel. We will explore a selection of thinkers who have attempted to come to terms with the consequences of these events as they affect secular and religious life. The thinkers selected will be major figures in Jewish thought who have wrestled with the political, philosophical and religious questions raised in Jewish experience, such as Hannah Arendt, Emil Fackenheim, Richard Rubenstein, Theodor Adorno, Emmanuel Levinas, Jacque Derrida, Yeshayahu Leibowitz. We will also address themes such as post-holocaust thought, religious freedom and the law, and the relationship of Jews to the European tradition and the concept of otherness.

DP requirements: Regular attendance at all seminars and timeous completion of all assignments and essays.

Assessment: Weekly response papers (50%) + 4000-word essay (50%).

________________________________________________________________________________

REL4054S   RELIGION AND GENDER

(Not offered in 2021)

24 NQF credits at HEQSF level 8

Convener: Associate Professor S Shaikh

Course entry requirements: Acceptance into an honours programme.

Course outline:

This course addresses intersections between gender studies and cross-cultural study of religion. Various feminist theoretical perspectives will be used to analyse the significance of social, ethical and symbolic discourses relating to sexuality and gender in selected religious traditions. The course is particularly attentive to theorisations of gender and conceptions of personhood in a variety of contemporary religious practices, texts, hermeneutics, and broader religious imaginaries.

DP requirements: Regular participation to weekly seminars; submission of all prescribed assignments by due dates.

Assessment: Response papers 50%; final essay of 4000 words 50%.


96 NQF credits at HEQSF level 9

Convener: Dr L Blond

Course entry requirements: Acceptance for a master’s programme.

Course outline:

A dissertation completed under supervision which shows thorough practical and/or academic knowledge of the approved subject and methods of research, and evidence of independent critical power in the handling and interpretation of material already known or newly discovered, may embody such original work of others as may be pertinent, may include the candidate's own published material on the same subject, if the prior permission of the Senate has been obtained. The dissertation must be the candidate’s own work and any contributions to and quotations in the dissertation must be cited and referenced.

DP requirements: Regular consultation with supervisor.

Assessment: A dissertation of no more than 25,000 words in length.

________________________________________________________________________________

REL5018S   RELIGION & GENDER

(Not offered in 2021)

24 NQF credits at HEQSF level 9

Convener: Associate Professor S Shaikh

Course entry requirements: Acceptance into a master’s programme.

Course outline:

This course addresses intersections between gender studies and cross-cultural study of religion. Various feminist theoretical perspectives will be used to analyse the significance of social, ethical and symbolic discourses relating to sexuality and gender in selected religious traditions. The course is particularly attentive to theorisations of gender and conceptions of personhood in a variety of contemporary religious practices, texts, hermeneutics, and broader religious imaginaries.

DP requirements: Regular participation to weekly seminars; submission of all prescribed assignments by due dates.

Assessment: Response papers 50%; a final essay of 6000 words 50%.

 


24 NQF credits at HEQSF level 9

Convener: Associate Professor S Shaikh

Course entry requirements: Acceptance for a master’s programme.

Course outline:

This course explores mystical interpretations and practices of Islam also known as Sufism, as a central historical and contemporary expression of Muslim spirituality and religious life. The course will involve readings of historical texts on Sufism (in translation) as well as explorations of Sufi aesthetics. Topics covered in these texts include understandings of the Sufi path, cosmology, the nature of human beings and God, interpersonal relationships and ethics, rituals and meditative techniques, music and poetry, and social implications of the Sufi path.

DP requirements: Regular participation in weekly seminars; submission of all prescribed assignments by due dates.

Assessment: Attendance of and preparation for seminars; seminar papers (50%) and a final essay of 6000 words (50%).

 


24 NQF credits at HEQSF level 9

Convener: Professor A Ukah

Course entry requirements: Acceptance for a master’s programme.

Course outline:

With the coming of Islam and Christianity in Africa, new religious movements blossomed in the continent. This course examines some major theories in the history and the sociology of religious movements, and provides a critical investigation of selected case-studies of major religious movements within the three major religious traditions of Africa, namely, African Indigenous religions, African Christianities and African Islams.

DP requirements: Regular attendance at all seminars and timeous completion of all assignments and essays.

Assessment: Reading/essay assessments (30%) and a final essay of 6000 words (70%).

 


(May not be offered in 2021)

24 NQF credits at HEQSF level 9

Convener: Associate Professor E Porcu

Course entry requirements: Acceptance for a master’s programme.

Course outline:

This course is designed to give students exposure to religious texts and their commentarial literature in the religious traditions studied in the department. It will introduce hermeneutical and analytical tools for reading these texts in translation or, skills permitting, in their original languages. With these tools, students will undertake a close reading of selected texts in light of their social and religious contexts. They will also develop the skills to address relevant issues about canon, authenticity, orality and writing, intertextuality and interpretation. This course will prepare masters students for the critical contextual reading essential to undertake new research in these traditions.

DP requirements: Regular attendance at all seminars and timeous completion of all assignments and essays.

Assessment: Weekly seminar papers (50%) essay. A final essay of 6000 words (50%).

 


(Not offered in 2021)

24 NQF credits at HEQSF level 9

Convener: Dr L Blond

Course entry requirements: Acceptance for a master’s programme.

Course outline:

This course will explore a selection of philosophers who have placed religion at the centre of their work either in order to critique its worth or to transform religious concepts into different, often secular, forms. The philosophers selected will be major figures in Western thought who have challenged traditional forms of Jewish and Christian religious authority (for example, Spinoza and Nietzsche) or philosophers who have contributed to debates on the value of religious concepts and religious ethics (for example, Jacobi, Hegel, MacIntyre and Levinas) to demonstrate their continued relevance. The course will explore how value and meaning are contested on religious concepts and it will attempt to show that current debates extend and build on the significant contributions of earlier thinkers in the Western canon.

DP requirements: Regular attendance at all seminars and timeous completion of all assignments and essays.

Assessment: Attendance of and preparation for seminar, seminar papers (50%) and a final essay of 6000 words (50%).

 


24 NQF credits at HEQSF level 9

Convener: Dr L Blond

Course entry requirements: Acceptance for a master’s programme.

Course outline:

This course raises issues that affect much of 20th century and Contemporary Jewish Thought as they affect religious and secular life. The Jewish experience of the twentieth century is marked by emancipation, holocaust and the re-establishment of the State of Israel. We will explore a selection of thinkers who have attempted to come to terms with the consequences of these events as they affect secular and religious life. The thinkers selected will be major figures in Jewish thought who have wrestled with the political, philosophical and religious questions raised in Jewish experience, such as Hannah Arendt, Emil Fackenheim, Richard Rubenstein, Theodor Adorno, Emmanuel Levinas, Jacque Derrida, Yeshayahu Leibowitz. We will also address themes such as post-holocaust thought, religious freedom and the law, and the relationship of Jews to the European tradition and the concept of otherness.

DP requirements: Regular attendance at all seminars and timeous completion of all assignments and essays.

Assessment: Attendance of and preparation for seminar, seminar papers (50%) and a final essay of 6000 words (50%).

 


24 NQF credits at HEQSF level 9

Convener: Associate Professor E Porcu

Course entry requirements: Acceptance for a master’s programme.

Course outline:

This course will examine Buddhism as a living tradition in its relation to society and culture. Students will be exposed to different Buddhist traditions both in their historical and contemporary developments, their teachings and practices. We will, for example, explore issues of orientalism and hegemonic power in the construction of Buddhism, Buddhism and gender, Buddhism and popular culture, Buddhism, art and the media, and the transmission of Buddhism to the West and Africa, as well as Buddhism-based new religious movements. Particular emphasis will be placed on East Asian Buddhism

DP requirements: Submission of all prescribed assignments by due dates. Regular attendance and participation in class.

Assessment: Class presentations (10%). 4 weekly response papers (40%). A final essay of 6000 words (50%).

 


24 NQF credits at HEQSF level 9

Convener: Professor A Tayob

Course entry requirements: Acceptance for a master's programme.

Course outline:

This course provides postgraduate students with the tools to study Islam as a religious tradition spanning Using the tools of the phenomenological and historical study of religion, the course enables the students to analyse the beliefs, practices and institutions of Islam in their variety, Themes explored include the life of the Prophet Muhammad; the transmission of the foundational sacred texts of Islam (Quran and Hadith); the development of Islamic law and jurisprudence; the formation of schools of theology and philosophy; Islamic mysticism (Sufism). Each of the above themes is addressed through a combination of phenomenological and critical historical method.

DP requirements: Submission of all prescribed assignments by due dates. Regular attendance of weekly seminars.

Assessment: Fortnightly response papers of ca. 1,000 words (30%). One research essay of 6000 words (70%).

 


(Not offered in 2021)

24 NQF credits at HEQSF level 9

Convener: Professor A Ukah

Course entry requirements: Acceptance for a master’s programme.

Course outline:

This course is an exploration of African religions and culture. It will provide in-depth discussions of principal and fundamental issues and themes concerning African culture and African Traditional Religions, beginning with issues revolving around the academic study of African religions. Some concepts and worldviews that are ordinarily considered to be uniquely African will be analysed. We will also examine a select set of issues and historical developments in the cultural thinking of Africans about Africa. Selected case studies of Islamic and Christian religious culture in Africa will also be explored during the course.

DP requirements: Participation in all classes and a reading assessment to be submitted at the end of each class based on readings for that section.

Assessment: Reading assessments (50%) and one 6000-word final essay (50%).

 


24 NQF credits at HEQSF level 9

Convener: Professor A Tayob

Course entry requirements: Acceptance for a master’s programme.

Course outline:

This course introduces students to the field and discipline of the study of religion, as it has developed in the West and imposed itself in this and other Departments of Religious Studies. The main part of this course will be a critical reading of core texts describing and analysing the making of the discipline of Religious Studies, focusing on laying bare the foundations, theoretical frameworks, disciplinary questions and central concerns of the study of religion that has dominated the academy. The course will critically interrogate some of the defining parameters, epistemological and political assumptions that have historically defined the discipline. Selected post-colonial and post-modern readings will be used to read against the dominant narratives to enable a creative rethinking of current possibilities in the field of Religious Studies.

DP requirements: Submission of all prescribed assignments by due dates. Regular attendance and participation in class.

Assessment: Response papers (50%). Final essay of 6000 words (50%).

 


24 NQF credits at HEQSF level 9

Convener: Associate Professor S Shaikh

Course entry requirements: Acceptance for a master’s programme.

Course outline:

The course focuses on applying the theoretical frameworks and methodologies introduced in Critical Terms 1 in the study of religion in terms of research proposal, selection of methodological and theoretical framework, literature review, thesis development and data analysis.

DP requirements: Submission of all prescribed assignments by due dates. Regular attendance and participation in class.

Assessment: Response papers (50%). Research project of 6000 words (50%).