missing image


Quick Links

Course Objectives
Course Materials


New and traditional media, and the popular culture they shape, are creating fundamental changes in the way people participate in religion, define and interact with religious texts, even how they worship. Media and popular culture are not only “affecting” religion but are in some ways becoming “religion” for some. Because of these changes, fascinating questions begin to emerge: How are religions that have been more regional in nature becoming more global? How do media shape the way we view world religions and vice verse? Do new media devices change the way we interact with religious texts? I invite you to join me as we objectively but passionately discuss and research issues and theory associated with media, popular culture, and religion.

The BYU School of Communications is accredited by ACEJMC, the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. As a member of this body, the School is committed to student learning that achieves core professional values and competencies such as freedom of speech, ethics, diversity, writing, research, critical thinking, and the application of tools and technologies of the field. More information is available at http://www.acejmc.org/accreditation-reviews/accredited-programs/accreditedreaccredited/.

Course Objectives

  1. Issues in Contemporary Media and Religion: Students will critically discuss and write about contemporary media and religion issues.
  2. Communication Practice and Theory: Students will know and apply relevant theory to communication practice and phenomena.
  3. Diverse Issues in Media and Religion: Students will examine and appreciate diverse media and religion issues outside their own traditions.

(Back to top)

Course Materials

  1. God in the Details: American Religion in Popular Culture. Eric Mazur and Kate McCarthy (Eds.). 2011.
  2. Religion and Popular Culture in America. Bruce David Forbes and Jeffrey H. Mahan (Eds.). 2005
  3. World Religion Readings

(Back to top)


You will be expected to take a quiz and/or write a journal entry for each of the 18 lessons. These quizzes are open book/notes. For lessons requiring a journal entry, your journal write up should engage the ideas in the article in some direct or insightful way.

(Back to top)


There will be a final exam at the end of the course. You will be expected to synthesize and articulate what you have learned in this course and how you will apply what you learned.

(Back to top)


Grades will be based on your scores on the journal entries, quizzes and final exam.

Journal Entries 20 percent
Quizzes 30 percent
Final Exam 50 percent

Grade Scale

Your letter grade is based on these percentages:

A 94%
A– 90%
B+ 87%
B 84%
B– 80%
C+ 77%
C 74%
C– 70%
D+ 67%
D 64%
D– 60%
E 59% and below

(Back to top)


BYU students should seek to be totally honest in their dealings with others. They should complete their own work and be evaluated based upon that work. They should avoid academic dishonesty and misconduct in all its forms, including plagiarism, fabrication or falsification, cheating, and other academic misconduct. Students are responsible not only to adhere to the Honor Code requirement to be honest but also to assist other students in fulfilling their commitment to be honest. (For details, see the complete version of the Academic Honesty Policy.)

Copyright Notice

The materials used in connection with this online course are only for the use of students enrolled in this course for purposes associated with this course and may not be retained or further disseminated. Any copying or further dissemination of these materials may be subject to applicable U.S. Copyright Laws. For questions or more information, please visit the BYU Copyright Licensing Office website.

“Members of the BYU community who willfully disregard this Copyright Policy or the BYU Copyright Guidelines place themselves individually at risk of legal action and may incur personal liability for their conduct. The unauthorized use or distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject individuals to civil and criminal liabilities, including actual and statutory damages, costs and fees of litigation, fines, and imprisonment

Violations of the Copyright Policy may result in university disciplinary action including termination of university enrollment or employment.” (Emphasis added. Excerpt taken from the BYU Copyright Policy)

(Back to top)

University Policy - Title IX Statement

Preventing & Responding to Sexual Misconduct

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Brigham Young University prohibits unlawful sex discrimination against any participant in its education programs or activities. The university also prohibits sexual harassment—including sexual violence—committed by or against students, university employees, and visitors to campus. As outlined in university policy, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking are considered forms of "Sexual Misconduct" prohibited by the university.

University policy requires all university employees in a teaching, managerial, or supervisory role to report all incidents of Sexual Misconduct that come to their attention in any way, including but not limited to face-to-face conversations, a written class assignment or paper, class discussion, email, text, or social media post. Incidents of Sexual Misconduct should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator at t9coordinator@byu.edu or (801) 422-8692. Reports may also be submitted through EthicsPoint at https://titleix.byu.edu/report or 1-888-238-1062 (24-hours a day).

BYU offers confidential resources for those affected by Sexual Misconduct, including the university’s Victim Advocate, as well as a number of non-confidential resources and services that may be helpful. Additional information about Title IX, the university’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, reporting requirements, and resources can be found at http://titleix.byu.edu or by contacting the university’s Title IX Coordinator.

(Back to top)

Accessibility Notice

BYU is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere which reasonably accommodates persons with disabilities who are otherwise qualified to participate in BYU's programs and activities. In this spirit, BYU Independent Study aspires to improve web accessibility for users. While not required by law, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Levels A and AA provide a wide range of helpful recommendations to make Web content more accessible. BYU Independent Study strives to apply WCAG 2.0 recommendations where feasible, but may deviate from any recommendations that would result in an undue hardship to BYU Independent Study or alterations to program and course content and objectives. If you have questions about accessibility, or if you need to report problems with any accessibility features please see our Accessibilities and Accommodations Web Page.

(Back to top)

Course Policies

These policies are specific to this course. For additional information about general policies, please refer to Independent Study Course Policies page.


You will be expected to take a quiz and/or write a journal entry for each of the 18 lessons. These quizzes are open book/notes. For lessons requiring a journal entry, your journal write up should engage the ideas in the article in some direct or insightful way. Retakes are not allowed on assignments.


There will be one proctored, instructor graded final exam. You will be expected to synthesize and articulate what you have learned in this course and how you will apply what you learned. You must pass the final exam with at least 60 percent to pass the course. You can retake the exam once for a fee.

Retake the final exam for a fee.

Getting Help

Please use the help menu in this course to contact Independent Study or your instructor. You can find a list of free tutors available to BYU Independent Study students on the Free Tutoring Services website.

Note: The Harold B. Lee Library website provides a number of online resources and librarians are available via phone, chat, and email to answer questions about library-related issues.

Inappropriate Use of Course Content

All course materials (e.g., outlines, handouts, syllabi, exams, quizzes, media, lecture content, audio and video recordings, etc.) are proprietary. Students are prohibited from posting or selling any such course materials without the express written permission of BYU Independent Study. To do so is a violation of the Brigham Young University Honor Code.

Copyright © 2016 Brigham Young University. All rights reserved.

Published by the
Department of Independent Study
Division of Continuing Education
Brigham Young University
120 MORC
Provo, Utah 84602-1514