Global Religious Diversity


Download this resource to see full details
Global Religious Diversity is an online course for upper-division undergraduate students. It is not required but it does count toward the Sociology major and minor. My goal was to create a course that focuses on interactions between people and groups from different religions in the increasingly multicultural and interconnected global society. I approach this topic from a distinctly sociological perspective by emphasizing how sociological theories inform our understanding of interreligious contact and conflict. The course is an important addition to the sociology curriculum given the current focus on diversity and global perspectives in higher education. The online delivery makes it particularly accessible and is an integral part of the design. The syllabus and course schedule operate as a contract between the instructor and students. At the same time, I endeavored to make the syllabus welcoming and one that encourage students to want to learn about religious diversity around the world. The course provides a variety of methods of assessment, including quizzes with various types of questions (true/false, multiple choice, fill in the blank, and short essay), prepared essays, exams, learning modules from the Association of Religion Data Archives, and weekly discussions. There are several readings that are made available to the students in electronic format. These include online summaries of theories, reports from non-profit organizations such as Pew, and peer-reviewed journal articles. The majority of the readings come from two recent books. The first book (Kurtz 2016) is a summary of global religious diversity that applies sociological theories throughout. The...


Resource Type(s):
Philip Schwadel 
Date Published:
Subject Area:
Class Level:
College 300 
Class Size:

Usage Notes:

Download this resource to see full details
The weekly module structure worked well. Some of the topics were a little more contrived than others, but for the most part students seemed to respond well to the structure of the weekly module. Given that many of the readings may be tough for some students, the course may not...

Learning Goals and Assessments:

Download this resource to see full details
Goal 1:
Describe the basic tenets and beliefs of major world religions. Explain variation across religions using sociological theories.
Assessment 1:
Quizzes, exams, essays, homework assignments, and discussions questions.
Goal 2:
Describe the history and contemporary prevalence of global religious diversity, and analyze variations in religious diversity around the world using sociological theories.
Assessment 2:
Quizzes, exams, essays, homework assignments, and discussions questions.
Goal 3:
Describe problems and benefits associated with religious diversity in several locations outside of the United States, and apply relevant sociological theories to the place-specific consequences of religious diversity.
Assessment 3:
Quizzes, exams, essays, homework assignments, and discussions questions.

Files for Download:

Right-click and choose "Save As..." to save file.
Global Relig Diversity_syllabus.docx