Religious Studies

Program Information

Degree Type: 
Associate in Arts

Provides both broad overviews and focused study of the world’s religious traditions. Students explore the histories, religious beliefs, philosophies, practices, mythologies, arts, and other aspects of religions using methodologies from the social sciences and humanities. The program provides a foundation for the transfer of earned credits to colleges and universities where students can continue their studies in religion or other academic disciplines. Foundations of the program include courses in Religious Traditions of the World, Introduction to the Academic Study of Religions, Eastern Religions, and Western Religions. Additional classes offer more focused explorations of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Native American Religious Traditions. Other key courses include The Bible as Literature, African American Religious Experience and Expression, and Myths and Symbols. Supporting and elective courses provide students with opportunities to study cultural anthropology, art, history, and philosophy. Special topics and directed study courses are also available—allowing a student to examine religious studies topics of personal interest, above and beyond those in the catalog.

Learning Outcomes: 
  • Distinguish between academic and theological approaches to studying Religion.
  • Compare the institutional aspects (myths, symbols, rituals, values, and practices) and the material expressions (art, music and dance, clothing, architecture, texts, and ritual objects) of the world’s major religions.
  • Compare and contrast the major characteristics of religions generally identified as “Eastern” and “Western.”
  • Describe the primary personalities, events, beliefs and practices associated with the world’s major religions.
  • Compare and contrast the histories, beliefs, and practices of major branches in the world’s major religions.
  • Describe the role of religion in the formation and maintenance of personal and community identity.
  • Describe ways in which religious thinkers have addressed important philosophical questions.
  • Analyze geo-political implications of modernization on religious activity.

Degree-Specific Requirements

All students receiving an Associate Degree are required to meet Degree-Specific Requirements AND General Education Requirements. Courses listed in the Required Core and/or Required Support Courses may also be used to fulfill Degree-Specific and General Education Requirements. Developmental courses (those numbered below 100) cannot be used to fulfill these requirements.

Attention: It is the student's responsibility to review the entire program form before making course selections for registration purposes. The College recommends that students meet with an advisor or counselor well in advance of registration deadlines and before making course selections.

General Education Requirements: 

The following courses are required in this program and satisfy HFC’s General Education Outcomes for this program. Students who change their program will need to confirm in advance that they are completing all required courses for their specific program of study, including additional General Education courses. All Associate in Arts degrees require at least 24 General Education credits total, including at least three credit hours from each of the five areas below. For this program:

  1. Civil Society & Culture: Complete:

  2. Communication: Complete:

  3. Computer Technology: Complete:

  4. Critical Thinking & Information Literacy: Complete:

  5. Quantitative Literacy: Complete one:

NOTE: For this program, General Education minimum credits: 24

Degree-Specific Requirements: 
  1. Wellness Group: Complete one:

  2. Humanities: This requirement is fulfilled within the Required Core Courses.

  3. Science and Mathematics: Complete two science courses (8 credit hours minimum) from two different disciplines, one with a lab, from among: Astronomy (ASTR), Atmospheric Science (ATMS), Biology (BIO), Geology (GEOL), Physics (PHYS) or Science (SCI).

  4. Social Science: Complete:

NOTE: Degree-Specific minimum credits: 13

Required Support Courses

Complete one of the two following academic tracks (Western or Asian and Native American Religious Traditions):
Western Religious Traditions Track
Asian and Native American Religious Traditions Track
Minimum Credit Hours: 
Minimum Number Of Credits To Graduate: 
61.0 (Including Options/Electives)

Requirements are Subject to Change

The information represented here is for the current catalog year. If you were admitted prior to this year, please check your requirements under the Program Evaluation section of WebAdvisor.

Other Information

Year Established: 
Program Code: 


Social Science, Arts, and Fitness Division: 313-845-9625,, Fine Arts Bldg, Room: F-140
Joel Geffen: 313-845-6441,, Liberal Arts Building, Room: K-104

Transfer Information

Transfer Options/Requirements: 

The College has articulation agreements and/or transfer guides to help students who want to transfer to other institutions once they have completed their studies at HFC. Articulation agreements ensure that graduates from HFC can transfer to another institution and work towards a bachelor’s degree without a loss of coursework completed at HFC. Transfer guides denote the transferability of HFC coursework toward specific degree programs at other institutions. It is important that students who intend to transfer to another institution consult the appropriate articulation agreements and/or transfer guides to ensure the transferability of the courses they take to the institution they plan to attend. Articulation agreements and transfer guides are available on the HFC Transfer Resources page. For additional resources and assistance with transferring, students are encouraged to work with HFC’s University Transfer, Advising, and Career Counseling Center (313-845-9612,, Learning Resource Center). Students enrolled in this program frequently transfer to institutions such as:

  • Central Michigan University
  • Madonna University
  • Marygrove College
  • Concordia University in Ann Arbor
  • Wayne State University
  • University of Michigan - Dearborn