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RELS306 New Religious Movements

A study of new religious movements in the modern world.

This paper focuses on the history, membership and main features of various religious organisations, including Rastafarianism, ISKCON (the Hare Krishnas), Wicca, the Black Muslims, Marian Apparitional Movements and UFO cults.

Paper title New Religious Movements
Paper code RELS306
Subject Religious Studies
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period(s) Summer School (Distance learning)
Summer School (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $955.05
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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18 200-level RELS or RELX points
RELS 214, RELX 214, RELX 306
Schedule C
Arts and Music, Theology
(i) May not be credited together with RELS231 passed in 2007. (ii) Students who have not passed the normal prerequisite may be admitted with approval from the Head of Department.

Dr Elizabeth Guthrie-Higbee

Teaching staff
Dr Elizabeth Guthrie-Higbee
Paper Structure
  • Two 4,000-word essays 80%
  • Five online tutorial contributions 20%
  • No final examination
Teaching Arrangements

The Distance Learning offering of this paper is taught remotely.

Campus: Weekly lectures
Distance: Online discussion

A coursebook has been developed for this paper.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Interdisciplinary perspective, Scholarship, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Information literacy, Research, Communication skills.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
On completion of the paper, students should be able to
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the terminology, key theories and debates that lie behind the contemporary literature on new religious movements (NRMs)
  • Be familiar with the dominant theories of the formation on NRMs, NRMs leadership and apostasy
  • Explore, through critical analysis, the ethical issues and controversies provoked by NRMs
  • Develop creative and critical approaches when carrying out independent study on a NRM using primary and secondary sources, as well as audio-visual resources

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Summer School

Teaching method
This paper is taught through Distance Learning
Learning management system

Summer School

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 12:00-12:50 2-5, 7
Tuesday 12:00-12:50 2-7
Wednesday 12:00-12:50 2-7
Thursday 12:00-12:50 2-7