Where Can I Find Free Online Religious Studies Courses?

You can find free online religious studies courses through several accredited colleges and universities, including the University of California - Irvine and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Keep reading to find out what materials you might need to complete online religious studies courses. Schools offering Christian Studies degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

You don't have to be religious to study religion as a historically powerful and pervasive social force. People in fields such as sociology, psychology, history, politics and counseling might benefit from religious studies. Numerous postsecondary schools offer online, noncredit courses in religious studies free of charge. To access the materials for these courses, you might need PowerPoint and a PDF reader, and you might opt to purchase one or more textbooks to get the most from each course.

University of California - Irvine

Students can find two free classes on religious studies, made available through the school's UCI Open system: Religion and Social Order and Religion, and Law in Ancient Greece. These classes are adapted from courses taught to students on campus. You can access course materials on a non-credit basis for free and study at your convenience.

Religion and Social Order

Taught by Professor Sheila O'Rourke through the university's Anthropology Department, this class lets you access links to course materials that you can download. You would need to have special software like Microsoft PowerPoint and Word to view certain documents.

What Will I Learn?

You will study anthropological concepts of religion and explore religious practices and beliefs in various cultures throughout history. The course also covers religion's impact on social change, globalization, transnationalism and power.

What Materials Are Provided?

The course includes PowerPoint presentations that include lecture notes, pictures and artwork. Word documents are also available for download. You also have the option to download the entire course as a ZIP or Imscc file.

Religion and Law in Ancient Greece

This course is based on a class that Assistant Professor Andromache Karanika taught to undergraduate students on campus. You can access the course for free without receiving credit.

What Will I Learn?

You will study the religion and laws of ancient Greece by examining its rituals, festivals and social traditions, as well as the religious significance of certain archaeological sites. The course also covers religion as it is presented in Greek literature.

What Materials Are Provided?

The course provides lecture notes in PowerPoint format on topics, such as the Delphic Oracle, Apollo and ancient Greek magic. Materials include photos of Greek artifacts, gods, and architecture as well as links to websites related to course topics. You may also access a timetable of Greek history and reading assignments from the course's two textbooks and other publications.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

MIT's OpenCourseWare (OCW) class in Politics and Religion was originally taught to graduate students on campus. You can access course content for free, but you will not receive credit for the course.

What Will I Learn?

The course uses social science paradigms to examine the influence of religious institutions, groups and concepts on politics. You will review and analyze research on religion and politics.

What Assignments Will I Complete?

You could complete five short papers that analyze issues from the course readings. Instructors will not review your work.

What Materials Are Provided?

You can access PDF files of student response papers as well as a bibliography of books, articles and essays about church-state relations and secularization. You may purchase textbooks through links on the course webpage.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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