Greetings from the Dean’s Office of Religious Education!
On behalf of the faculty and administration in Religious Education at BYU we are excited to congratulate your child on their admission as a member of the incoming 2017 freshman class. Brigham Young University is a place where students are able to pursue the acquisition of secular and sacred knowledge in a setting that celebrates both. What an awesome phase of life this should be for your son or daughter!
Your student is entering the university at an exciting time in Religious Education as we have recently enhanced our required course offerings to include four "cornerstones courses," including Foundations of the Restoration, Christ and the Everlasting Gospel, Doctrine and Teachings of the Book of Mormon and The Eternal Family. We think students will enjoy each of them. In addition, students may choose from a variety of elective courses (six credits in total) to bring to your child to a required total of fourteen credits. We know that students enroll at BYU not only to strengthen themselves intellectually but also to expand their spiritual understanding and deepen their testimony. Religious Education courses are key to this goal. Students are taught by well-prepared faculty who love the gospel and love students!
Some Helpful Tips!
There are some things your student may find helpful to know about religion classes as he or she starts their career at BYU. Religion classes at BYU offer students an opportunity to pursue a more intensive study of the scriptures, doctrines and other gospel subjects, including Church history, than previous Church experiences they might have had to this point in their life. Like other classes on campus, religion classes are graded and that means students should expect quizzes, papers and exams as a part of the experience. The good news is that these classes are also enjoyable and provide an opportunity to ask questions, to think more thoroughly about doctrine, and to expand gospel horizons.
We want to assure you and your child that it is not the intent of religion professors to grade students' testimonies, although classes will offer experiences that will challenge them to expand spiritual knowledge and wisdom. It is our belief that just as in other academic subjects, students need to stretch a little to earn what they learn in matters of eternal significance. Because we want students to have regular exposure to these opportunities, we have a two course (4 credit) ceiling each semester for credits students may earn. Also, while religion credits may be transferred from other Church Education System entities, please be aware that students are required to fulfill residency requirements with classes taken at BYU-Provo or through Independent Study.
One last invitation is to encourage you to have your son or daughter watch for announcements during the school year about such activities as special conferences or guest lectures that target important themes in religious education. We also sponsor a Student Symposium each February in which we invite students to present to their peers on any of many subjects. They may choose to research, write and submit a paper. If their work is accepted, students may be the recipient of a cash award and even have their presentation included in a published volume.
Again, welcome to BYU. We hope your son or daughter loves their religious education experience!
Robert Freeman is an associate dean in Religious Education.