Religious Studies (RELS) 204

Introduction to World Religions (Revision 5)

RELS 204 Course Cover

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 6

Area of Study: Humanities

Prerequisite: None

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Religious Studies home page

RELS 204 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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RELS 204 is a junior-level course designed to acquaint students with the major religious traditions of the world, and to the academic discipline of religious studies.

The religions studied are Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism. They are examined through a study of their history, doctrinal concerns and development, literature, and ritual practices.


  • Unit 1: Introduction
  • Unit 2: Judaism
  • Unit 3: Christianity
  • Unit 4: Islam
  • Unit 5: Hinduism
  • Unit 6: Buddhism
  • Unit 7: Chinese Religions—Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism


To receive credit for RELS 204, you must achieve a course composite grade of 50% or higher. You must complete and submit all written assignments and write both exams for the course by your stipulated contract end date. You must achieve a grade of D (50 percent) or higher on both the midterm and the final examinations.

Activity Weighting
4 Exercises (5%-10% each) 30%
2 Research Papers (15% each) 30%
2 Exams (20% each) 40%
Total 100%

The midterm and final examinations for this course must be taken online with an AU-approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators who can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Ludwig, Theodore M. 2006. The Sacred Paths, 4th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall. (PDF)

Smart, Ninian, and Richard D. Hecht, eds. 1982. Sacred Texts of the World: A Universal Anthology. New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company.

Other Resources

All of the other course materials are online, including a detailed Study Guide.

Challenge for Credit Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows you to demonstrate that you have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university-level course.

Full information about Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the RELS 204 challenge registration, you must achieve a grade of at least D (50 percent) on the examinations, and an overall grade of at least D (50 percent).

Activity Weighting
Essay 50%
Exam 50%
Total 100%

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 5, March 29, 2016.

View previous syllabus