Overview

Degree Profile of Bachelor of Arts Honours Degree in Religious Studies
Institution:Midlands State University
Type of DegreeFour Year Honours
Credit Load:540 credits
Level:ZNQF-Level 8
Accreditation Organisation(s):Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education
Period of reference:

 

Accredited by ZIMCHE

 

 

Purpose of the Programme
The Religious Studies Programme is concerned with the development of knowledge skills and competencies relevant to various careers and occupational needs in the field of religious studies. It responds to religious, ethical, social, economic, and political changes that have affected the contemporary Zimbabwean society. A multi-disciplinary approach is used to respond to these changes and an attempt is made to offer some possible answers to the challenges associated with the changes

 

Entry Requirements

Entry Requirements
 5.1   Normal Entry

For normal entry into the BA Religious Studies programme candidate should have at least two “A” level passes in any of the following: Divinity, History, Sociology, Shona, Ndebele, Economics, Accounts, Literature in English and any other relevant subject in the Humanities.

5.2 Special entry

Refer to Section 3.2 of the General Regulations. Candidates must have acquired a Diploma in Religious Studies or Theology from a recognized theological institution acquired normally in not less than 18 months and at least 5 subjects at “O” level or its equivalent.

5.3 Mature entry

Refer to Section 3.3 of the General Regulations

5.4 Visiting School: This is a 3-year degree programme aimed at individuals already in employment. In addition to satisfying the general entry requirements, they should also either have a Diploma in the relevant field or any other tertiary qualification. Levels 2 and 3 run concurrently. 

 

Programme Characteristics 
Areas of study

 

New Testament Studies, Old Testament Studies, World Religions, African Traditional Religions, Philosophy of Religion, Christian Theology, Christian History and Thought, HIV/AIDS ministry in Zimbabwe, History of Christianity, Islam, Social Ethics, Religious Perspectives on Sexuality, Marriage & Family, Theology and Development, The Bible in an African Context, Theology and Gender Studies, Research Methods in Religious Studies and Theology, Religion and the Media, Christian Leadership, Religion and Society in Africa, New Religious Movements, Counselling and Theology, Religion, Conflict, Peace and Development

 

 

Specialist FocusEngagement of Religion in Contemporary Issues such as HIV/AIDS, Gender, Development, Ecology, Social Transformation.
Orientation

 

The programme takes a multi-cultural approach where diversity and tolerance of other religions is emphasized.

 

Distinctive Features–          Interaction with seasoned scholars (Sabbatical Fellows).

–          Grooming of versatile religious studies graduates who can relate and be problem solvers to contemporary challenges.

–          A strong and active tradition of language and textual expertise

–          Regular research seminars with visiting speakers

 

 

GENERAL PROVISIONS
  • Bachelor of Arts Honours in Religious Studies is a full-time degree programme. Normally, a student will be required to complete the programme in not less than four years from the date of first registration.
  • At the Third Level of the degree programme, Honours students go on Work-Related    Learning for 10-12 months.
  • The degree programme offers core/compulsory and elective/optional modules.
  • Students can include in their programme of study, modules offered by other departments, in line with the concept of “Flexible Packaging”.
  • Each module is worth (12) credits except the dissertation which is worth (24) credits.

·         For a student to graduate, they should have accumulated at least five hundred and forty (540) credits including university wide modules that have been allocated 12 credits each.

 

Career Opportunities and Further Education
   Employability:

 

Religious Studies graduates can find employment; in high schools offering lessons on all issues covered under the new curriculum: Family and Religious Studies (Form 1-4 & 5-6); work in religious institutions as counsellors, lecturers, administrators or pastors; in NGOs as gender activists, counsellors; those who are pastors already can be employed as Chaplains for the uniformed forces like the Prisons, Police, Army; in welfare institutions as gender activists, HIV/AIDS counsellors and advisors; in colleges and universities as lecturers and any other religious oriented fields.

 

Further StudiesMaster’s and Doctoral Studies

 

 

 

  Programme Delivery
Teaching and Learning MethodsLectures, Tutorials, Seminars, Group Work,  Work Related Learning, research project.

 

Assessment Methods
  • To be admitted for formal examinations, a student must have satisfied continuous assessment in the form of In-class Tests, Group Work Presentations and individual  written assignments

 

  • In the case of a dissertation, the Departmental Board of Examiners shall determine a mark for each student based on the presentation to a panel of the Departmental Board of Examiners and improvements done to the final version of such dissertation, submitted at a date determined by the Departmental Board.

 

  • Each formal examination shall be held during an examination period at the end of a semester in which the module is completed.

 

  • The final mark will be weighted as 25% for continuous assessment and 75% for examination.

 

 

 

 Programme Competencies
Generic:

  • Multidisciplinary: Ability to draw appropriately from multiple academic disciplines to define and solve religious related problems based on understanding of concrete phenomenon.

 

  • Qualitative and innovative approaches: To be analytic and descriptive in identifying new ways of solving religious related problems.

 

  • Communication Skills: Ability to communicate effectively at all levels using ICT and other tools and appropriate communication tools and instruments.

 

  • Ethical Commitment: Professional integrity ensuring involvement of stakeholders, transparency and accountability.

 

  • Entrepreneurial Competencies: Ability to identify and create new business and employment opportunities.

 

  • Analysis and Synthesis: Ability to analyse religious related information based on empirical evidence.

 

 

Intended Learning Outcomes
·         Ability to provide a well-guided leadership for the different religious communities

·         Ability to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of religious issues.

·         Ability to provide leadership for religious education through consultancy and support services to communities in need of collaboration with other religious institutions.

·         Ability to facilitate research and publication in African religions and methodology

·         Ability to stimulate collaboration among existing religious institutions.

·         Ability to initiate religious initiatives that addresses the many challenges of the world such as war, HIV/AIDS, famine and environmental change.

 

 

 

Programme Structure

PROGRAMME STRUCTURE

  1. The electives can be chosen from within the Department or from other departments.

 

Level 1 Semester 1

Code               Module Description                                                                           Credits

HRS     101      Introduction to the New Testament                                                  12

HRS     102      Introduction to the Old Testament                                                    12

HRS     103      Introduction to Religious Studies                                                       12

HRS     106      Philosophy of Religion                                                                       12

HRS     104      African Traditional Religions                                                            12

HCS    115      Introduction to Computers                                                                12

CS        101      Communication Skills                                                                        12

 

Level 1 Semester 2

HRS     110      History of Christianity in Africa                                                        12

HRS     109      Sociology of Religion                                                                          12

HRS     108      Themes in Christian History and Thought                                        12

HRS     113      Life and Ministry of Jesus and Palestinian Christianity                    12

HRS     107      Introduction to World Religions                                                        12

CS        102      Extended Communication Skills                                                       12

 

Electives

**HRS 105       Introduction to Christian Theology                                                   12

**DSH 222      Project Planning and Development                                                   12

** HRS 112      Introduction to Applied Ethics                                                          12

**HRS 111      Logic                                                                                                   12

 

Level 2 Semester 1

HRS     212      Religious Perspectives on Sexuality, Marriage and Family              12

HRS     218      Pastoral Counseling                                                                           12

HRS     202      Islam: Africa                                                                                       12

HRS     208      New Religious Movements                                                                12

GS       201      Introduction to Gender Studies                                                         12

ENT     205      Entrepreneurship                                                                               12

 

Electives

**HRS 213      Elementary Biblical Greek                                                                  12

**HRS 217      Administration and Finance                                                              12

**HRS 207      Old Testament Ethics                                                                         12

 

Level  2 Semester 2

HRS     204      Religion and Development                                                                12

HRS     216      Prophets and Prophetic Writings                                                      12

HRS     201      Pauline Writings                                                                                 12

HRS     205      The Bible in an African Context                                                        12

HRS     219      Religion and Gender                                                                          12

HRS     210      Research Methods in Religious Studies                                             12

 

Electives

**HRS 211      Religious Education                                                                           12

**HRS 214      Elementary Biblical Hebrew                                                              12

**HRS 218      Pastoral Counselling                                                                          12

 

Level 3 Semesters 1 & 2

HRS     301      Student Work Related Learning Report                                            45

HRS     302      Academic Supervisor’s Assessment Report                                      45

HRS     303      Employers Assessment Report                                                          30

 

Level 4 Semester 1

HRS     415      Religion and HIV/AIDS                                                                     12

HRS     401      African Christian Theology                                                               12

HRS     416      Contemporary Moral Problems                                                         12

HRS     419      Human Rights and Social Justice                                                       12

HRS     403      Religion and Media                                                                            12

 

Electives

**HRS 425      Psychology of Religion                                                                       12

**HRS 219      Clinical Pastoral Education                                                                12

**HRS 206      New Testament Ethics                                                                       12

**HRS 220      Aspects in African Philosophy                                                          12

 

Level 4 Semester 2                                                                                                     Credits

 

HRS     406      Religion, Peace and Security                                                              12

HRS     417      Religion and Entrepreneurship                                                        12

HRS     418      Ethics and Disability                                                                          12

HRS     408      Dissertation                                                                                        24

 

 

 

N.B. Not all electives will be on offer in any given year. Electives on offer will depend on availability of teaching staff.

 

MODULE SYNOPSES

HRS 101 Introduction to the New Testament                                                                     

The module will introduce students to the study of the New Testament, its social, religious and literary settings including the canonization of the New Testament. The module will focus also on critical approaches to the New Testament.

 

HRS 102 Introduction to the Old Testament       

The module will introduce students to the study of the Old Testament; its social, religious and literary settings, including the canon of the Bible. The module will focus on equipping students with tools for biblical interpretation and ability to analyze relevant texts in the light contemporary religious development in Africa.

 

HRS 103 Introduction to Religious Studies                                         

The module will examine the various theories and underlying concepts in the study of the beliefs and practices of such world religions as Religions of Africa, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Judaism and Islam. This will help the students to appreciate and understand other religions while getting to know their own religion better.

 

HRS 104 African Traditional Religions                                 

The module will discuss the understanding and development of African Traditional Religions. The module will focus on the religions of Africa, themes, rites of passage, beliefs and religious practices of selected African communities. It shall attempt to encourage an understanding of the contribution of African Traditional Religions to religious syncretism amongst African Moslems and Christians.

 

HCS 115 Introduction to Computers                                                                       

This module is provided for all those who are not familiar with computers. It is an introductory course which aims to equip students with basic computer skills. Students will be taught the basics of working with a computer as well as the use of common software packages. At the end of the course, students should be able to use the internet and process language documents using a computer.

 

HRS 105 Introduction to Christian Theology                                                      

The module will introduce students to fundamental doctrines in theology like; Revelation, Faith, Scripture, Tradition, the Triune God, Revelation, Salvation, Eschatology, and to contemporary issues in theology like inculturation, peace building, gender and development in Africa.

 

HRS 106 Philosophy of Religion                                                                              

People have died or have been killed in the name of religion. Religion it is not a matter of intellectual persuasion or conviction, religion touches the very core of a person. It demands conviction, commitment and sacrifice. In this module, we will discuss and reflect on the philosophical theories guiding the study of religious inquiry and quest for meaning

 

 

HRS 108 Themes in Christian History and Thought                                       

The module will attempt to give a brief overview of some themes in Christian history and thought from the Early Church to contemporary issues in Christian thought and practice.  The module will try to cover themes that have particular reference to ministry in Africa; Early Church, Patristic Theology, Ecumenical Councils, Scholastic Theology, Reformation, Protestantism, Missionary Movement, Evangelical Movement, Pentecostalism and Fundamentalism

 

HRS 109 Sociology of Religion

The module seeks to explore religion in its varied manifestations as a social institution, as a cultural practice, and as a pattern of beliefs and activities that are shaped by societal conditions and that, in turn, shape these conditions. Thus, the module explores the social dimension of religion through a consideration of the relationship of religion and society, that is, the ways in which religion influences and is influenced by its social context. It examines the social theories that have been propounded by social theorists and critics such as Emile Durkheim, Karl Marx, Max Weber, Peter Berger among others.

 

 

HRS 110 History of Christianity in Africa

The module surveys the History of Christianity in Africa from the Church of Alexandria to the rapid growth of African Christians in the 19th century with advent of colonialism and Independence of most African states

 

HRS 111 Logic

 

This module investigates and classifies the structure of statements and arguments, both through the study of formal systems of inference and through the study of arguments in natural language. It deals with propositions or declarative sentences, used to make an assertion that are capable of being true and false. It covers core topics such as the study of fallacies and paradoxes, as well as specialized analysis of reasoning using probability and arguments involving causality and argumentation theory. It seeks to distinguish good reasoning from bad reasoning.

 

HRS 113 Life and Ministry of Jesus and Palestinian Christianity

This module focuses on the historical, organizational and doctrinal development of the Christian community from its origin in Jesus’ ministry to the time of the Jerusalem council.

 

 

HRS 212 Religious Perspective on Sexuality, Marriage and Family          

The module will discuss and reflect on sexuality, marriage and family, drawing from examples in the Bible and theology, while reflecting on contemporary writings. The module will cover these related subjects, premarital sex, sexuality and human development, marriage preparation, homosexuality, pornography, polygamy or extramarital affairs, faithfulness, and divorce. It shall attempt to determine what the church’s response should be.

 

HRS 201 Pauline Writings

The module will examine Pauline Literature in the context of the Greco-Roman world and the Early Christian community that occasioned the letters in the light of a developing Pauline theology.

 

HRS 202 Islam: Africa                                                                                                 

The study of Religions in Africa will not be complete without an in-depth study of Islam’s, beliefs and

doctrines, as one of the major religions in Africa.  The module will discuss the historical development

of Islam and the challenges of contemporary Muslims in Africa.

 

HRS 206 Religion and Gender

The module introduces students to gender concepts, theology of feminism as well as various roles and status of women in the Bible and in our African context. Topics to be covered include the role of women in Bible, ordination of women, impact of education and urbanization, women’s struggle for emancipation and participation in Church life.

 

HRS 218 Pastoral Counseling                                                                    

The module will introduce students to pastoral counseling, while focusing on the care of the sick, marriage guidance, bereavement, grief and loss. The students will be encouraged to draw from traditional forms of counsel and guidance and their applicability to Christian pastoral care.

 

GS 201 Introduction to Gender Studies                                                                

The module empowers the students with knowledge and skills that enable them to be gender sensitive in the university, workplace and in their social interactions. Topics covered include, Understanding Gender, Theories of Gender Inequalities, Historical Development of Gender, Gender Analysis, and Gender Issues in Zimbabwe, Redressing Gender Imbalances, Empowerment and Strategies for creating a gender responsive environment.  Every student has to pass the course in order to graduate.

 

HRS 204 Religion and Development                                                                      

The module introduces students to the discipline of development studies, addressing major theories and themes that have shaped the discipline overtime. It begins with classical theories, examining their contribution to growth and development of economies. The module also addresses major themes in development discourses such as the global millennium goals, including globalization and its impact on development of poor societies of the world, gender equity; notions of democracy; good governance and human rights; health; the environment and community development in the context of Christian teaching and social theology.

 

 

 

HRS 205 The Bible in An African Context                                                           

The module will discuss the reception and influence of the Bible within an African context, and related issues on language, interpretation and translations and the impact of Bible on African institutions such as marriage, polygamy, faith healing and rites of passage and other contemporary issues.

 

HRSAE 207 Old Testament Ethics

This module is aiming at examining the ethical position of the Old Testament. It focuses on what the Old Testament teaches on particular moral issues, the proof texts we can search out to support a moral perspective and the ethical themes that run through the Old Testament literature.

 

HRSAE 206 New Testament Ethics

This option module examines the ways in which New Testament texts construct patterns of morality and ethics; to consider whether a ‘moral vision’ can be synthesized from the varied New Testament writings; to appraise the hermeneutical issues involved in using the Bible in ethics today, and to examine some models for the application of New Testament ethics to contemporary morality.

 

 

HRS 210 Research Methods in Religious Studies

This module will focus on imparting basic research methodology and techniques such as conducting field investigation, social analysis, administering questionnaire and interpreting the findings in an academic manner.

 

HRS 211 Religious Education

The module tries to equip students in acquiring and developing strategies for teaching of religious education in various settings.  The module will examine theories of religious and moral development and the underlying theological concepts of teaching religious education.

 

HRS 213 Elementary Biblical Greek

This module provides an introduction to the language known as Koine Greek, in which the New Testament was written. It will cover some of the basic grammar and vocabulary of the language. By the end of the module, students should be able to read some select passages from John’s gospel. The module will also address basic grammatical ideas and structures common to all Indo-European languages. The module will also be looking at some of the historical and linguistic background to the Koine Greek

 

HRS 214 Elementary Biblical Hebrew

This module will provide the student with a basic understanding of Ancient Hebrew language and to build a foundation for further study of the Hebrew Bible. Students will learn the basics of Hebrew grammar and syntax and be able to read and appreciate short passages of Hebrew taken directly from the Old Testament. The course will provide a firm basis for further study in the language.

 

HRS 215 Clinical Pastoral Education

This module is an interfaith professional education for ministry. It brings theological students and ministers of all faiths (pastors, priests, rabbis, imams and others) into supervised encounter with persons in crisis. Out of an intense involvement with persons in need, and the feedback from peers and teachers, students develop new awareness of themselves as persons and of the needs of those to whom they minister. From theological reflection on specific human situations, they gain a new understanding of ministry. Within the interdisciplinary team process of helping persons, they develop skills in interpersonal and inter-professional relationships.

 

HRS 218 Pastoral Counseling                                                                    

The module will introduce students to pastoral counseling, while focusing on the care of the sick, marriage guidance, bereavement, grief and loss. The students will be encouraged to draw from traditional forms of counsel and guidance and their applicability to Christian pastoral care.

 

 

DSH 222 Project Management, Monitoring and Evaluation

The module provides a solid foundation in the concepts, tools and techniques of project management, monitoring and evaluation. Other critical aspects of the project cycle will be surveyed.

 

 

HRS 401 African Christian Theology                                                                     

The module will discuss the emerging theologies of Africa in relationship to the historical and contemporary issues in African Christian Theology such as African Christologies, inculturation, black theology, and ecumenism in Africa.  The students will be invited to study and reflect on the work of some African theologians such as Bujo, Nyamiti, Magesa, Mugambi, Moyo, Muzorewa, Tutu.

 

HRS 403 Religion and the Media

This is a practical and introductory module aimed at equipping students with basic skills required in the production of print media, radio, television and the internet with particular emphasis on how religion is reported in the Media. The module will focus on media ethics, role of the media, Freedom of expression and censorship, production of media products, effective communication, and critical analysis of media products.

 

HRS 406 Religion, Peace and Security                                   

The module will look at aspects of peace building, conflict transformation, post war reconstruction, mediation, rehabilitation, reconciliation and healing and people centered participatory development. While using biblical sources of sustainable peace building and exploring the theological bases for a just war theory and pacifism and shows how effective Christian non-violence can meet the multiple challenges of African conflict situations.

 

HRS 412 New Religious Movements

The module seeks to analyze themes that arose in African initiated Churches as a response to the various brands of Christianity and the contemporary themes that have made them an attractive alternative brand to Christian churches. The students will examine their impact on the history of the Church in Africa.

 

HRS 413 Professional Responsibility

This module discusses the professional responsibility for harmful action, and the legal and moral duty of due care to avoid harming others or risking their harm. The module discusses the relations and differences between legal and moral duty to avoid causing harm, and the differences between intentional and unintentional harm. The author uses examples and cases to illustrate different types of negligence that can occur in the engineering profession, and includes commentary and discussion questions.

 

 

HRS 415 Religion and HIV/AIDS

The module examines the phenomenon of HIV/AIDS. It examines society’s response to this epidemic, focusing on the care and intervention programs, development of life skills, support networks and behavior change programmes that have been instituted to combat the problem. The module also critically analyzes the cultural and socio-politico-economic factors associated with high risk sexual behavior.

 

 

HRS 414 Psychology of Religion

The module traces the relationship between psychology and religion and explores some of the possible effects of religion on behaviour, thought and feelings. It seeks to look at how religion affects what people think and do. The module examines the psychological theories propounded by theorists and critics such as Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Carl Rodgers, Rudolph Otto among others.

 

HRS 418 Ethics and Disability

The aim of the module is to introduce the study of Disability from an ethical perspective. The module investigates through skill-building independent research, writing and presentations, how disability is interconnected with issues such as stigma, gender, social exclusion, social movements, globalisation, war and conflict.

 

HRS 417 Religion and Entrepreneurship

The module examines the ethical issues that arise with respect to the handling of information on individual employees, not in terms of practicality or efficiency but by referring to what may be regarded as right or wrong. It does not provide a universal formula for decisions on whether or not practices in handling information or in dealing with issues of confidentiality are ethically justified or defensible. It describes the cornerstone ethical principles of autonomy, beneficence, non-malfeasance and equity and their implications for these human rights issues.

 

HRS 408 Dissertation

This is a project of between 15 000 – 20 000 words based on wide research in the area of study with the assistance of a supervisor. Its weight is equivalent to that of two core modules. The dissertation should be presented to a panel of the Department Board which determines its score.