Department of Religious & Cultural Studies

Department of Religious & Cultural Studies

Name of Ag. Head Of Department: Dr. N. N. Iheanacho
Contact E-mail:   
Contact Phone Number(s): 08134474272

 

HISTORY OF THE DEPARTMENT AND PROGRAMMES

 

The Department of Religious Studies was established as an autonomous Department of the Faculty of Humanities, University of Port Harcourt, in 1982 (see Senate Minutes of the 42nd (Adjourned Special) meeting of 14th July, 1982 Sen. 1557/3a). Following the University’s decision that the then School of Humanities should not exceed a total of six departments, Religious Studies (which had operated as a separate department) had to be merged with the department of Philosophy to form the double-barrel Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies. The merger was clearly a temporary measure, and the two components (Philosophy and Religious Studies) maintained their separate academic programmes, academic staff and budget. While the merger lasted, the two units graduated students for two separate degrees; BA. Philosophy and BA. Religious Studies. With the phasing-in of the University-wide course, GES 102 (Introduction to Philosophy and Logic) coupled with the felt need to develop post-graduate programmes, the continued union of the component units (Philosophy and Religious Studies) was found to be very unwieldy and counterproductive. The Department successfully argued the case for the de-merger of Philosophy and Religious Studies during the First National Universities Commission (NUC) Visitation exercise of 1991/92 academic year. The University Senate finally approved and effected the de-merger on 27th September, 2001.

 

1.         The current Department of Religious and Cultural Studies came into being following the de-merger and a formal application for a new name and adjustment of programme (BA. Degree in Religious and Cultural Studies) on 27th March, 2002. (See Minutes of the 262nd Meeting (Extraordinary) of Senate held on Monday, 29th April 2002, pp. 3074-3075.)

 

2.         In November 2005, the NUC sent a high-powered Accreditation Panel to accredit our Departmental Programme, but due to a communication gap, the panel could accredit only the Religious Studies component and not the Cultural Studies component of our programme. While the panel appreciated the high level of our preparedness as a University, Faculty and Department, it felt unable to accredit the Cultural Studies components because they were not given the mandate to go beyond the Religious Studies component for which we were given full accreditation (see the Panel Report and Certificate of Full Accreditation in the appendix). They had accordingly advised that we make a request for the present exercise, specifically to accredit the Cultural Studies component with a view to giving a complete and full accreditation status. In the 2016 accreditation exercise the approval of the cultural studies component by NUC in 2008 was acknowledge as part of the accreditation. The result of the accreditation is that the Department has full accreditation status. The Department also offers Postgraduate programme for Diploma, Masters and Ph.D. in Religious and Cultural Studies with specialization in Biblical Studies, Church History, Islamic Studies, African Indigenous Religion, Ethics, Philosophy of Religion and Sociology of Religion.

 

2.         Philosophical Foundation and Vision

Philosophy, Aims and Objectives of the Programme

1.         The programme is designed to cater for the interest of students offering a full four-year BA. Degree in Religious and Cultural Studies as well as that of the Faculty of Education students who have Religion as their teaching subject. The programme is, however, concerned with the critical study of the African religious and cultural life in all its diversity. Nevertheless, emphasis is placed on those religious traditions which have the greatest importance in the history of Africa – the various Indigenous religious traditions, Christianity and Islam with their ethical values and demands.

 

3.         Our Mission: Aims and Objectives

1.         To develop in the students the ability to understand, analyse and critically interpret the nature of religious reality as well as the mutual interplay of religious features with other elements in the broader social and cultural context.

 

2.         To enhance the employment prospects of Religious Studies graduate in the new millennium, it is necessary that the Department’s multi-disciplinary heritage should be promoted even further as our graduates will be better equipped for greater opportunity in the labour market.

 

 

GENERAL ADMINISTRATION OF PROGRAMME/ SUB-DISCIPLINE/ DISCIPLINE

 

Personnel Administration

(a)        The Department is administered by an Acting Head of Department. (if not a professor) and assisted by the Non- Teaching Staff of the Department.

 

(b)       There is a regular Departmental Board involving all Lecturers of the Department where decisions relating to the Department are taken. There are also Departmental Appointment and Promotion Committee and Graduate Committee. The former takes charge of appointments and promotion of academic staff while the latter is responsible for all graduate matters relating to the Department.

 

The Department has a good staff development policy encouraging lecturers who are yet to obtain their Ph.D to do. So within the Department About five lecturers have benefited from this exercise.

 

3.         B.A RELIGIOUS AND CULTURAL STUDIES

(Admission Criteria)

The Departmental requirements include Five (5) Ordinary Level credits, including English Language, Mathematics and any three (3) subjects in not more than two sittings at the WASC/SSCE/GCE/NECO or their equivalents, (one other science subject will be accepted in counting the five (5) O/L credits). The UME Requirements include English Language and three subjects in the Arts or Social Sciences. Candidates must pass the UTME at an acceptable cut-off score.

 

Alternatively, those students who succeed in the Certificate/Pre-degree programme of the Department may be considered for admission into the BA. Degree Programme in Religious and Cultural Studies provided they pass with a minimum of 60% in addition to Five (5) Ordinary Level credits, including English Language, Mathematics and any three (3) subjects in not more than two sittings at the WASC/SSCE/GCE/NECO or their equivalents, and must have written UTME in the year of admission with at least a score of 180.

 

Candidates for the Certificate Programme who want to terminate at the Certificate Level must possess three (3) O/L credits and at least a pass in English Language at the WASC/GCE/NECO or equivalent at not more than two sittings.

 

5.         Graduation Requirements

To obtain a degree in the University of Port Harcourt a student must complete the approved programme of study in his/her Department. Every student is urged to familiarize him/herself with the specific requirements for a Bachelor’s degree in his/her Department.

 

However, below are general University requirements, which among other things, every student must meet to graduate in the University of Port Harcourt.

 

 

University Requirement Courses

A score not below 40 percent must be attained in the prescribed courses for each Faculty.

 

Foundation Course

Various Foundation Courses including the General Studies (GES) courses for the first two years of study are prescribed by each Faculty. All students must consult their Academic Advisers for advice on the requirements for their respective Faculties.

 

 

GRADUATE PROGRAMME ADMISSION POLICIES AND

GUIDELINES FOR GRADUATE COURSES IN POST GRADUATE DIPLOMA, MASTERS AND DOCTORATE PROGRAMMES

(PGD, M.A, Ph.D)

 

A)        POST GRADUATE DIPLOMA (PGD) IN RELIGIOUS

AND CULTURAL STUDIES

 

Objectives

In view of the dynamic nature of academics, the Department of Religious and Cultural Studies has passed various changes and modifications in her curriculum aimed at meeting the changing needs of the society. With the growing population of candidates seeking for admission into the Graduate Programme of this Department from other disciplines, it becomes imperative to incorporate Diploma Progrmme to allow more students to attempt our existing graduate programmes.

 

Aims and Objectives

In recent years, there have been a growing number of. non-Religious Studies Graduate applying for our graduate programmes both at the M.A. and Ph.D levels. Most of them have been denied admission due to their non-religious studies background. This programme (PGD) in Religious and Cultural Studies is therefore designed to provide non-graduates of Religious and Cultural Studies with the basic essentials of Religious and Cultural Studies within 12 calendar months. It is also designed for graduates of Religious and Cultural Studies (RCS) who had less than 3 points CGPA in their bachelor degree, which will prepare them for a Masters programme. The aim is not only to prepare them for a Masters of Arts degree in Religious and Cultural Studies, but also to equip them for careers in which a working knowledge of religious and culture is essential, especially now that a Religious Ministry and problems are marketable fields in Nigeria. Moreover, the graduates in Humanities, Education, Social Sciences, Law, Management Sciences and Tourism will find the programme as a beneficial blend. Among the additional targeted professionals to benefit from this programme are all forms of protocol and public relation officers in the public service, staff of Public Affairs and Community Relations, Departments in multinational companies, Ministry of Culture and International Affairs, Tourism Development, Inter-Cultural and Religious Affairs and development in Religious Ministries.

 

Duration of Programme

Students for the PGD programme will be required to spend a minimum of twelve calendar months. This comprises of two academic semesters plus a period of long vacation in which they will write their projects.

 

Course Requirements

For the PGD in Religious and Cultural Studies, candidates will:

(1)        Take ten courses, five in each semester, including two general courses and eight in the specialty areas. All these courses will be taught courses at 3 credit units each.

(2)        Submit a project (long essay of 6 credit units) of not less than 10,000 words on A4 sheet, excluding notes, bibliography and appendices

(3)        Candidates will have at least a “C” grade (Merit 100- 3.49) to pass in the programme in accordance with the University regulations.

 

(B)       MASTER OF ARTS (M.A) PROGRAMMES IN RELIGIOUS AND CULTURAL STUDIES

Objectives

(i)        To deepen the candidate’s critical and analytical understanding of Religious and Cultural Traditions of mankind with special reference to the African context.

(ii)       To encourage an in-depth study of specific areas within the subject with a view to specialized research

(iii)       To produce graduates familiar with the methodological and theoretical developments in the relevant fields of Religious and Cultural Studies who will be able to apply their knowledge to their environment and also make their own contribution to universal scholarship.

(iv)       To help students develop independent thought and critical judgment and tolerance in the field of Religious and Cultural Studies with a view to greater understanding and harmonious living in society.

 

ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS

Admission to the M.A. programme will be open to candidates with B.A. degree in Religious Studies, Islamic Studies, Theology or other related disciplines such as History, Sociology and Anthropology, from the University of Port Harcourt or other institutions recognized by the Senate. Subject to the general admission regulations of the School of Graduate Studies, the class of the B.A. degree must not be lower than Second Class Honours. The method of application will be as specified in the Graduate School’s Guidelines. Candidates will be admitted for both the Fulltime and Part-Time studies.

 

Programme Requirements

(a)       Duration

Students for the M.A. degree will be required to spend a minimum of twelve calendar months for the programme. Students will spend two academic semesters plus a period of long vacation for full-time studies. Candidates for the part-time programme must provide evidence that they will be available for attendance at course and for regular consultation with their academic supervisors. They will be required to spend twenty- four calendar months for the M.A. degree.

 

(b)       Course Requirements

For the MA. degree, candidates will;

(i)        Take six courses, including 2 courses in specialty areas, 3 courses in general area of Religious and Cultural Studies and 1 special methodology. The six courses will be taught courses.

(ii)       Present work as well as participate actively in Graduate Seminar

(iii)      Submit a dissertation of not less than 20,000 words or 60 A4 pages, excluding notes, bibliography and appendices; (with at least a C grade in each course), defend a dissertation in a viva voce before a panel of examiners to be set up in accordance with University regulations.

 

COURSES

The programme offers the students the opportunity to specialize in any of the major areas of Religious and Cultural Studies of relevance to the Nigerian context; namely African Indigenous Religion, Church History, Biblical Studies, Islam in Africa etc.

The list of courses is as follows:

 

M.A. (MASTER OF ARTS PROGRAMME)

Area of Specialization

a.         African Traditional Religion

b.         Biblical Studies: Old and New Testament

c.         Church History

d.         Islamic Studies

e.         Religious Ethics

f.          Sociology of Religion

g.         Philosophy of Religion

 

Compulsory Courses

1.         RCS 801.1 Trends in Methodology of Religious Studies

2.         RCS 802.1 Themes in Comparative Religion

3.         RCS 803.1 New Religious Movements in Africa

 

Specialization Courses

4.         RCS 804.1       ATR – Perspectives and Issues in African

5.         RCS 804.1       Traditional Religion

6.         RCS 804.1       OT – Old Testament Covenant & Monarchy in

7.         RCS 804.1       Israel

8.         RCS 804.1       NT – The Miracles & Parables of Jesus in the

9.         RCS 804.1       Gospels

10.       RCS 804.1       Church Hist. The Origin and Growth of

11.       RCS 804.1       Western Christianity in Africa

                Islam – Islam in Africa

                Ethics – Foundation of Religious Ethics

                Soc – Social Theories of Religion & Human Relations

                PHL – The Early Scholastic Philosophers

12.       SGS 801.1       Research Methodology & ICT

 

(C)       DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY (Ph.D) PROGRAMME

Area of Specialization

(a)        African Traditional Religion

(b)        Biblical Studies: Old and New Testament

(c)        Church History

(d)       Islamic Studies

(e)        Religious Ethics

(f)        Sociology of Religion

(g)        Philosophy of Religion

 

Ph.D Admission Requirements

Subject to the provision of the University Wide regulations governing the admission of candidates into the Ph.D programme candidates seeking admission into the Ph.D degree programme of the Department of Religious and Cultural Studies will be required to meet the following conditions:

(1)         Admission to the Ph.D programme will be open to candidates with the M. A degree in Religious and Cultural Studies, Islamic Studies, Theology or other related disciplines such as Philosophy, History, Sociology and Anthropology on a CGPA of 3.5 points on a 5-point scale, from the University of Port Harcourt or any other institution recognized by the Senate of the University of Port Harcourt.

(2)        Candidates with the M.A. degree in related disciplines such as Philosophy, History, Sociology and Anthropology will be required to take all M.A. taught courses in Religious and Cultural Studies and score at least a C grade to advance, to the Ph.D.

(3)        Candidates (from other universities) whose admission qualifications shows deficiencies in the courses offered as shown in their transcript will be required to take some remedial courses from the courses available in the M.A. programme of the Department and score at least a C grade to advance to the Ph.D.

(4)       In addition to the above, candidates will be required to satisfy the Graduate Studies Panel of the Department at an oral interview before final admission can be offered.

 

The method of application will be as specified in the School of Graduate Studies Guidelines. Candidates will be admitted for both the full-time and part-time studies.

 

Duration of Programme

Students for the Ph.D degree will be required to spend a minimum of three years for full-time studies and a maximum of five years. Candidates for the part-time programme must provide evidence that they will be available for attendance at courses and for regular consultation with their academic supervisors. They will be required to spend a minimum of five years and a maximum of seven years for the PhD degree.

 

COURSE REQUIREMENTS

(1)        Register for two (2) compulsory courses in General Religious Studies and fur (4) courses in the Specialized Area (3 credit units each) and pass same with at least a C.

(2)        Register and present two (2) Departmental Seminars (3 credit units each) detailing research orientations in the discipline, and pass same with at least a C grade as well as a Faculty Graduate Seminar.

(3)        Pass with at least a C grade, a written comprehensive examination in two (2) papers: one in the major field, the other in a related minor field.

(4)       Present the mandatory seminar to the School of Graduate of Studies.

           (5)        Present a well-researched dissertation (6 credit units).

(6)        Defend the dissertation at an oral examination before a Panel of Examiners as stipulated by the School of Graduate Studies.

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