Skip to main content
Unit of study_

RLST4113: Methodology in the Study of Religion

In this unit you will examine methodological and theoretical approaches to the academic study of religion. Most theorists covered are from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The approaches discussed include philosophy, sociology, anthropology, politics, and cultural studies. Students select methods and theories to apply to religions.


Academic unit Studies in Religion
Unit code RLST4113
Unit name Methodology in the Study of Religion
Session, year
Semester 1, 2022
Attendance mode Normal day
Location Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Credit points 6

Enrolment rules

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff and contact details

Coordinator Jay Johnston,
Lecturer(s) Iain Gardner ,
Jay Johnston,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Essay A
50% Week 07
Due date: 04 Apr 2022 at 23:59
3000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Assignment Essay B
50% Week 13
Due date: 23 May 2022 at 23:59
3000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a High distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a Distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

 Exceptional standard.


75 - 84

 Very high standard


65 - 74

 Good standard


50 - 64

 Acceptable standard


0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Special consideration

If you experience short-term circumstances beyond your control, such as illness, injury or misadventure or if you have essential commitments which impact your preparation or performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction: Why Methods and Theory Matter Seminar (2 hr)  
Week 02 Religion: In the Ancient World Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO3
Week 03 Church History and Biblical Studies Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4
Week 04 Archaeology and Papyrology Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4
Week 05 The Myth and Ritual School Seminar (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 06 Phenomenology Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4
Week 07 Sociology and Religion Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO4
Week 08 Anthropology of Religion Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4
Week 09 Magic and Religion Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO4 LO5
Week 10 Religious Experience Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4 LO5
Week 11 Philosophy of Religion & Gender and Religion Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO4 LO5
Week 12 Is Religious Studies Theology? Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO4 LO5

Attendance and class requirements

  • Attendance: According to Faculty Board Resolutions, students in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences are expected to attend 90% of their classes. If you attend less than 50% of classes, regardless of the reasons, you may be referred to the Examiner’s Board. The Examiner’s Board will decide whether you should pass or fail the unit of study if your attendance falls below this threshold.
  • Lecture recording: Most lectures (in recording-equipped venues) will be recorded and may be made available to students on the LMS. However, you should not rely on lecture recording to substitute your classroom learning experience.
  • Preparation: Students should commit to spend approximately three hours’ preparation time (reading, studying, homework, essays, etc.) for every hour of scheduled instruction.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

All readings for this unit can be accessed through the Library eReserve, available on Canvas

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University’s graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. demonstrate significant awareness of discipline boundaries of studies in religion
  • LO2. apply extant theories to new phenomenon by way of critical application of methodologies
  • LO3. demonstrate awareness of and work within the cultural complexities of applying a word such as "religion" to global phenomenon
  • LO4. demonstrate familiarity in the way in which disciplinary boundaries can be crossed for better methodological application
  • LO5. reflect with deeper awareness on your scholarly role as an agent to change and challenge perceptions of the discipline.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities
Topics revised

More information related to this unit will be provided in class

Work, health and safety

There are no specific WHS requirements for this unit


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.