The informal beginnings of the Religious Studies Program can be traced to the year 1919, when the University Senate and Trustees first granted limited credit for courses taught by the religious foundations, as long as they adhered to standards set by the University.1
In the fall of 1958, the Dean of Admissions recommended to the University President that religious education courses be subject to regular University College rules.2
In 1965 the Board of Trustees approved formal introduction of an interdisciplinary program in religious studies to begin September 1, 1966.3
This interdisciplinary minor was administered by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. It enabled a student to undertake "a serious and coherent program of study" consisting of 20 hours from six different departments, subject to approval of both the student's advisor and the program director.4
A committee of participating department members was empowered to nominate a permanent director.5
In 1971 an interdisciplinary major in five areas was proposed and accepted,6
followed in 1972 by a resolution to discontinue the granting of academic credit for courses offered by religious foundations.7
When it was formally established in 1973, the program offered 33 courses,8
in 1974/1976, 48 courses.9
In the 1975/1977 school years, students could select between 35 and 55 hours grouped around nine distinct concentrations: (1) World religions, (2) Philosophy of religion, (3) Indian Religious thought, (4) Biblical Studies, (5) Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East, (6) Early Christianity, (7) Classical Judaism, and (9) Modern Judaism.10Sources:
1. University Archives, RS 4/2/14, Box 2, Committee on Educational Policy File, 1958-1964, "Religious Foundation Courses for University Credit" (1960), p. 1.
3. Board of Trustees Transactions, 53rd Report, December 15, 1965, p. 970.
4. Board of Trustees Transactions, 55th Report, July 23, 1969, p. 556.
5. Board of Trustees Transactions, 55th Report, July 23, 1969, p. 556.
6. Board of Trustees Transactions, 56th Report, September 15, 1971, p. 381.
7. Board of Trustees Transactions, 56th Report, May 17, 1972, pp. 623-24.
8. Courses Catalog, 1972/1974, pp. 357-59.
9. Courses Catalog, 1974/1976, pp. 353-56.
10. Undergraduate Programs Catalog, 1975/1977, pp. 322-24.