Mr. M.O Otasowie (Ag. HOD Religions)

1. Significance of the Department of Religions

The Department of Religions provides an interdisciplinary study in Religion, Human Cultures and Values in the University of Benin, Edo State, Nigeria. The programme is concerned with the objective and analytical study of religious and cultural phenomena as are manifested in religious beliefs of the faith-people in this part of Nigeria, their practices, experiences, institutions and expressions with interest on how religion shapes human culture, societies and the lives of individuals. In this sense, religion is approached as a socio-cultural phenomenon and not as a faith or creed. It adopts inter alia, the investigative method to study the values embedded in human cultures among which religion is paramount.  

Although the definitions of religion may vary, it cannot be denied that in the Nigerian context religion is concerned with both the sacred and the profane; hence it permeates most socio-cultural systems and as such emphasizes the pragmatic and the functional approach in the study of African Traditional Religion, Christianity, Islam as well as other world religions to expound their values. It takes interest in the socio-cultural analysis of religious phenomena in the Nigerian society and beyond.

Therefore, the Religions programme emphasizes the academic content on producing minds/graduates for broad-spectrum education conducive to respecting the human sanctity in a pluralistic society as Nigeria where religion is playing serious dysfunctional roles today.

2. Philosophy of the Department

In a nation where the religious landscape is so filled with much vibrant and vociferous religious propaganda through tele-evangelism that have engendered novel ethos and experiences, certainly there is need to critically study the emerging contemporary culture which is affecting the lives and values of the people. In that regard, it is hoped that Religions will provide the panacea. Besides, a higher level of competence and theological skills are expected from graduate of Religion in contemporary Nigeria. These factors explain the rationale for the need to devote much energy to the provision of improved and advanced knowledge in Religious Education. The programme is designed to create a teaching and learning community , to impart the appropriate skills, breed wider knowledge, behaviour, values and attitudes; to promote the pursuit and advancement of truth; to expand the frontiers of knowledge that are relevant to national and global development; to engender a sense of selfless service in the public and religious sectors of the Nigerian society and to produce thorough-bred and disciplined students with excellent education and the expertise to enable them demonstrate competence in the search for human values in any area of endeavour they may choose to go into after graduation

3. Aims and Objectives of the  Programme

The aims and objective of the Degree Programme in Religions at the University of Benin are to:

Expose the students to understand the general features of religions and human values as proceeds of social phenomena and stimuli;

Acquaint students with the major contents of the popular religious traditions in Nigeria;

Enable students to acquire critical skills to address the implications of religion, culture and human values in the wider Nigerian society; especially on how religious values affect relationships across sub-ethnic cultures, ethnic values and communities of faith-people all over Nigeria;

Appraise the historical, theological and ethical dimensions of religions and human cultures in the contemporary world;

Prepare competent teachers, sincere and honest pastors and social workers in ecclesial communities, government establishments and parastatals;

Equip the graduates with the moral and ethical know-how for launching themselves into other disciplines and professions such as Law and Morality, Political Analysis, Critique of Religious Movements, Public Administration, Anti-Corruption and Graft, Social Work and Inter-Ethnic Dialogues and Human Relations in Nigeria.

4.  Degree in View: B.A. (Honours) in Religions

5.  Learning Outcomes

(a) Regime of Subject Knowledge

The study of Religions involves the application of the theoretical, heuristic and investigative approaches. It is followed up with the comprehensive, anthropological, socio-cultural and analytical approaches that result into cutting edge research in the religions of mankind. Effort will be made to infuse into the Programme some home grown theories being propounded in recent times by Afro-centric scholars

(b) Demonstrable Competence and Skills

Students of Religions will acquire competence in the hermeneutics and analysis of religious behaviours through knowledge attained in the various learning processes. This will no doubt be reflected in their daily lives and in the values they exude. The external and social roles of the students of Religions will be a reflection of the acquires wealth of knowledge and influence of the course. He/she will be perceptive, godly, polite, moral and upright in his/her interaction and dealings with other human beings who may come his/her way.

6.  Career Prospects

Graduates with a degree in Religions from the University of Benin are prepared to function in a wide variety of fields which includes: teaching, civil service, social work, the media, Nollywood and diplomacy. In fact, a career that demands sensitivity to and appreciation of human values, would wish to hire persons trained in the academic study of religion, cultures and human values. Although most of the products of Religions may lend themselves to the teaching career, the programme is revamped to attract employers from the Public administration and Social work. The degree can also be used as a stepping stone for meeting the development needs of human resources management in Nigeria. It also provides students entry into the Legal education (Law), chaplaincies, other disciplines as well as entry into the ministerial leadership in religious communities or as an additional training for those already in the pastoral and ministerial services of religious establishments.

7. Admission and Graduation Requirements

(a) Four – Year Programme

(i) 5- Credit Level passes in the SSCE/NECO/GCE (O/L) including English Language, CRS/IRS/BK/Government or its equivalent /any Nigerian Language.

(b) Three – Year Degree Programme

(i) 5 Credits in the General Certificate of Education, Ordinary Level, WASSCE or NECO, and two Advanced Level passes in Christian Religious Studies/Islamic Religious Studies

(ii) A pass in two principal subjects at the NCE Level/A/L, plus three subjects at Credit level in the GCE, SSCE and NECO including English Language General Paper, admits candidates into a Three-Year Degree Programme.

(iii) A Diploma in 16Theology recognized by the University of Benin plus five credits at the GCE ‘O’ Level including English Language admits candidates into a Three-Year Degree Programme. A list of such recognized institutions of Theology should be provided by the Department to the University.

(iv) A minimum of 2 GCE (A/L) passes, one of which must be any of those specified in (i) above or a Diploma in Religious Studies/Theology of any recognized College of Theology or Seminary; a Diploma in Social Management Sciences at Merit Level.

The Degree Programme in Religions is based on the prescribes courses outlined below for the FOUR/Three-Year periods. To graduate the student is required to earn a maximum of 140 Credits.