Program

The religious studies major introduces students to world religions and gives them the methods for studying religion, drawing on disciplines such as history, anthropology, sociology, psychology, and gender studies.

The study of religion is a vital component in understanding the various cultures of the world throughout history up to the present. The major introduces students to world religions including Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and religions of Africa, as well as courses on sacred texts, religion and society, and theories of religion. Our courses are both systematic and historical, addressing the historical development of religions, including their texts, beliefs, and practices, and topics such as religious ethics, religion and society (e.g. politics, the environment, medicine), and religion and literature. Courses also introduce students to a range of methods for studying religion, drawing on disciplines such as history, anthropology, sociology, psychology, and gender studies.

Requirements for the Major

Nine courses are required including: Religious Studies 101; one course in Texts; one course in Society or American Religious Experience; two courses in Traditions, Religious Studies 240; one 300-level elective; and Religious Studies 490 (Senior Capstone). Students may choose to count toward the major one related course from another department (subject to departmental approval) and/or one Independent Study (390).

Students wishing to take honors should inform their advisers early in the second semester of the junior year. They must enroll in Religious Studies 496, as a tenth course, after successfully completing Religious Studies 490/495.

Requirements for the Minor

Five courses from the department’s offerings are required, including 101 and at least three courses above the 100-level.