Religious Studies Made Simple

  • Learn at your own pace

    Learning takes time, but time is a precious resource! That's why we make sure there's no expiry date, so you can learn at a pace to suit your needs.

  • Multimedia content

    The course includes clearly written lessons, high quality images, engaging video lectures, and links to external resources to boost your learning. No boring bits!

  • Share & collaborate

    Learning is more exciting when you get to share your journey. You'll be able to post questions and spark discussions with other students, or contact your tutor if you have any issues.

  • Get recognised

    If you complete the full course, you'll receive an official OCRS certificate of completion, perfect for demonstrating your achievement!

Spiritual concepts from around the world

Religious impulses have created some of the most enduring and powerful traditions in human history, how can we investigate these beliefs, practices, and communities without belonging to them ourselves? How can we be respectful while still maintaining a critical distance?

These are just some of the questions you'll be exploring in this online course, which offers an introduction to contemporary religious studies from an academic perspective.

Delivered over four modules, we'll go right from the basics of what a religion is (and why we use the word 'religion'), to how we can approach our studies with self-awareness and an appropriate attitude, and some of the methods and tools available to us.

You'll be introduced to religious ideas from a variety of backgrounds, including Sikhi (Sikhism), Islam, and Buddhism, as well as New Religious Movements such as Caodaism and Rizalism.

The course is suitable for beginners and those looking to deepen their knowledge, or anyone who wants to learn more about the contemporary study of religion.

Course curriculum

  • 2
    Module 1: Definitions
  • 3
    Module 2: Perspectives
    • Literary bias, and marginalised voices
    • Case study: the Ramayana
    • Alternative perspectives
    • Religion: a Western phenomenon?
    • Sects, cults, and New Religious Movements
    • Case study: Caodaism
    • Internal diversity and the world religions paradigm
    • Religion or religions?
    • Case study: Mahayana and Theravada
    • Similarity and difference
  • 4
    Module 3: Interpretations
    • Who creates religion?
    • Case study: Sharia Law in the UK
    • No universal agreement
    • Bias, context, epoche
    • Reductionists vs Religionists
    • Flexible frameworks
    • Cataloguing the types
    • Ninian Smart
    • Ritual Dimension
    • Experiential Dimension
    • Mythological Dimension
    • Doctrinal Dimension
    • Ethical Dimension
    • Institutional Dimension
    • Material Dimension
    • Interdimensional travel
  • 5
    Module 4: Methods
    • How can we study religion?
    • Sociological approaches to the study of religion
    • Scientific approaches to the study of religion
    • Psychological approaches to the study of religion
    • Phenomenological approaches to the study of religion
    • Religious studies as a multidisciplinary field
    • Looking at lived religion