Religious Studies (RELS) 211

Death and Dying in World Religions (Revision 1)

RELS 211

Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Humanities

Prerequisite: None

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

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RELS 211: Death and Dying in World Religions is a general survey course about the conceptions of the afterlife in Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism, and the various rituals and experiences associated with death in each of these traditions. This course does not require any prior experience in the academic study of religion, nor does it require you to have a prior knowledge of any of the religions covered in this course. The Study Guide, assigned readings, and videos will provide you with all the information necessary to help you to successfully complete the course.


  • Unit 1: Course Overview
  • Unit 2: An Overview of Judaism and Jewish Views of Death and the Afterlife
  • Unit 3: An Overview of Christianity and Christian Views of Death and the Afterlife
  • Unit 4: An Overview of Islam and Muslim Views of Death and the Afterlife
  • Unit 5: An Overview of Hinduism and Hindu Views of Death and the Afterlife
  • Unit 6: An Overview of Buddhism and Buddhist Views of Death and the Afterlife
  • Unit 7: Near-Death Experiences
  • Unit 8: Death and Funerary Rituals
  • Unit 9: Grieving, Mourning, and Remembrance
  • Unit 10: Dying the Good Death


To successfully pass RELS 211, Students must complete all their quizzes and  hand in all their assignments by the end of the stipulated contract date and complete the exam with a passing grade of 50 Percent or higher.

In order to pass the course, students must hand in their assignments complete the quizzes, pass the exam with a grade of 50 percent or higher, and achieve a composite grade of 50 percent or higher between the exam and the assignments.

Activity Weighting
Quiz 1 10%
Quiz 2 10%
Quiz 3 10%
Research Essay 35%
Final Examination 35%
Total 100%

The final examination 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


Moreman, Christopher. Beyond the Threshold: Afterlife Beliefs and Experiences in World Religions. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2008.


Katzir, Yael. Shivah for my Mother: Seven Days of Mourning. Directed by Yael Katzir. 2003. Los Angeles: New Love Films, 2005.

Nakazawa, Shinichi and Douglas Penick. The Tibetan Book of the Dead: A Way of Life / The Great Liberation. Directed by Hiroaki Mori, Yukari Hayashi, and Barrie Mclean. 1994. New York: Kino Lorber, 2009. DVD.

Other Materials

All other materials, including additional required readings, are available online.

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 1, October 19, 2015.